We remember first meeting Justin Wu in Europe. He was running around the city of Milan with a 5D in hand, making videos that would soon launch him into the fashion world spotlight where he rightfully belonged. Since those humble days, he has garnered contracts with some of the biggest brands in the business, working for the likes of Loreal, Elle and V magazine. What we admire most about this young creative is his ability to manage his commercial success, while still staying true to his art. He recently premiered his new film “Le Devoir” at Cannes, where his own reaction was “Pinch me, I think I’m still dreaming.” It is this humble attitude, along with his success and integrity to his craft, that inspires us to keep rocking out throughWHOSE. We hope he can inspire you too. We have been feeding Justin disposables for a few months now.
What’s your (full) name?
Where do you live? Or base your work out of?
Paris & New York
What is your work?
Film Director, Fashion Photographer & Brand Consultant
How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
7, maybe 6. But I’m 27.
Whats your favorite home cooked meal?
Steamed salmon with garlic, ginger & haricot verts
If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move? why?
New Zealand. Easily the most magical place I’ve ever been to and where I want to RIP.
What is your most essential appliance?
Boiler (for tea)
If you could time travel – past or future? Where would you go and why?
Future. Having already known what has gone to pass and not being able to predict where technology will take us 5 years from now, I’m curious to see where humanity will venture.
If you could learn any language fluently what would it be?
Do you have a favorite photographer?
Edward Burtynsky. Check out his Manufactured Landscapes series!
What was your favorite part of contributing to the ThroughWHOSE project?
Being able to capture little moments to us not knowing what the result would be and seeing what others around the world come up with.
We see that you paid close attention to the hit list. And you nailed it! As a professional photographer what did you think about having specific things to shoot? If you could add something to the “Hit List” what would it be?
I think it’s fun to be asked to capture specific things that are just present around us. Compared to my job, rather than shoot specific subjects with a goal in mind, I find this process quite liberating. The hit list are all elements we encounter on a daily basis and often don’t give a second thought to. As cliche as it may be, I’d add “Hope” to the hit list. Given that it’s so broad, but positive implication, every ThroughWHOSE contributor will get a chance to interpret that their own way in a personal or global perspective. It will be interesting to see from a community perspective what that word means to them.
Your photos took us on a journey, during we got to see some cool sets. Looks like you have been shooting a lot of Fashion. What do you find the most intriguing thing about fashion photography?
Fashion photography, unlike pure art photography, is an extremely collaborative approach. I find it a celebration of ideas and beauty. It may not be true or ‘high art’ as it has a commercial purpose in the end, but does pool in a collective of different disciplines from design, style and production design. It’s in that group think approach to photography that I find most rewarding.
Along that journey we noticed some distinct cities, Paris and NY. You split your time between the two. what is one thing you wish you could take from Paris and bring to NY and vice versa?
I’d take the heritage, culture and work-life balance from Paris and bring that to New York and conversely, I’d take the energy & multiculturalism from New York and bring that to Paris.
We love this disposable portraiture! So cool and so intimate! Did you notice a difference with your subjects when the camera was a disposable? If you could shoot the portrait of one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Absolutely! The fact that you can’t review what you shoot ironically opens up the subject and allows me to capture the unexpected. If I could shoot one person, I would shoot my grandfather who passed away a few years ago. Unfortunately I never had the chance to know him and only have a few remaining photos from the family album. I believe in the right setting, the camera opens up the subjects soul to the lens and give us a glimpse of who he/she was.
We love this interesting series of people in front of places. Was this something that you where conscious of? Can you explain some of these places that you have been to? Was this all shot in Texas?
Not necessarily. The beauty of the project is the spur of the moment nature compared to my normal job of over composition. …Though perhaps unconsciously I was framing them in what I thought was interesting at the time. These were split between Paris, France & Austin, Texas.
You have made some great friends with some of the industries leading men (and women). In your earlier work this close relationship is reflected via FW videos. The Male Model comes with a lot of stereotypes. If you could disassociate one which one would it be? Or are they all true?
I don’t believe in stereotypes particularly those associated with the term ‘model’. However, the one that I would most disassociate, if I had to choose, is that ‘Male Models are dumb.’ They are not any dumber or more intellectual than any other visual based categorization, like blondes, brunettes, obese or skinny, those with or without glasses. I have not personally met any “dumb” male models and ironically have met many who came from extremely well educated backgrounds like chemical engineering, medicine, economics, and law.
Can you provide a dialogue between shadows in this photo? (refer to photo titled “Nicole (GaryPepperGirl), Vasco & me)
This was just during one of the best afternoons I’ve had with 2 of my great friends, Nicole & Vasco. I think the shadows speak for themselves and how we were that day 🙂