Having picked up a camera while in high school in the eastern, coastal city of Wenzhou, Lnshiy’s (short for Lin Shiyang) photographic style developed from an interest in contemplating the concept of beauty. This, combined with her free-spirited, spontaneous personality and her curiosity about nature and the human condition — especially struggles faced by women in the 21st century — have allowed Lin to not just explore beauty, but define it on her own terms.
RADII: Can you tell us a little about the philosophy behind your photography?
Lnshiy: Photography to me is a medium of self-expression. It’s a kind of natural response, an impulse, to deal with the world. Through the viewfinder, I use photography to think, observe and record. It is my habit and preference [to view the world].
How would you describe your style? What themes do you focus on and what do you want to communicate to the audience?
Maybe [my style is] girl-centric, emotional, or focused on nature. But my worldview is fluid — always looking for new possibilities. I tend to look for beauty in the ordinary and define it for myself. Currently, I like to take pictures of women and nature, which is an eternal source of inspiration for me. Discovering beautiful details in everyday life is a happy thing.
When I was at school, I was asked what beauty is. This question left me tongue-tied. Gradually, I began to try to use the lens to show that beauty doesn’t have a single definition. That beauty can run through everything in life. But I also encountered some obstacles when shooting this theme. Almost all the women I photographed lacked confidence and were dissatisfied with themselves. I wish I could convey my feelings of tender empathy to all women who lack confidence and feel isolated from the world.
When I was at school, I was asked what beauty is. This question left me tongue-tied.
In this sensitive and fragile age group [today’s youth], helplessness and confusion are normal. But these feelings are rarely alleviated. In fact, this hurt is often, intentionally or unintentionally, exacerbated. I want to tell every girl that they are their own bright, shining light. That they don’t have to be compared with what society deems “beautiful.” Where exactly does the so-called “beauty” standard come from?
What would you say is your biggest motivation when it comes to photography?
I initially chose photography because I was interested in it. I liked the feeling of excitedly taking pictures of anything and everything. Later, it gradually turned into a portal for my own self-expression. In addition, when my photos started to gain attention from people, the feeling of accomplishment was also a source of motivation.
Who or what is your biggest influence?
There are so many people and things that have influenced me. Petra Collins is probably one of my favorite photographers these days. When I first saw her Coming of Age in a bookstore, the force I felt was like physically being hit with something.
All photos courtesy Lnshiy. Follow her on Instagram or Weibo.
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