Mandy Wu's cinematic world of photography is many things. When you look at her photographs, it is not only beautifully composed but also nostalgic, dreamy and magnificently sublime. Wu is a photographer and visual artist born in Taiwan but currently based in Melbourne, Australia. Her first camera was a point and shoot camera gifted from her father and would later on follow her through her travels. She is a photographer who shoots first with feelings. Identity as an artist and photographer is very important to her and you could almost feel Wu's personality and feelings emanating out of these very photographs. Most of her photography projects are personal, intimate snaps from her private life, inspired both by her love for music and film and her observation of life.
One of her photography project titled, "Dreams" is an ongoing series shot in various locations since 2015. "There's a fine line between dream and reality. I'm constantly walking in between. Oftentimes, I find myself lost in reality. The real world we live in doesn't feel real. I'm always surrounded by people, memories and things and chaos. Some come and goes, while some stay still. While I look back, I wonder if those moments are real or rather some characters and scenarios conjured up in my head like dreams. These photographs are my own definition of dreams. They break the limit of time and take me to a better place. They make me relive those moments, the dreams created in reality." This project was also her first solo exhibition.
(Above) A short film about her photography project, "Dreams" by the photographer herself.
How has your photography evolved over the years and what have you learnt from it?
From the beginning, it was mainly snaps of my life. Little pieces of my trips and my time with my family. I didn’t really think much when I took the pictures but over the years, I’ve started to give more thoughts before taking pictures. My perspective on photography has changed a lot since the time I studied my master in Milan. My school focuses more on thinking than technics, therefore, I would do lots of research on the shoots, such as stories, themes, colors, what I want to tell people, etc. Rather than focusing on the beauty, photography to me is about myself and how I can express myself, my perspectives through it. I use it as a medium like writing or drawings. I’m not good at those two and I’m happy that at least photography enables me to do that. What I have learnt so far personally is photography is an intimate thing. It tells people a lot about who I am and it’s important for anyone that is creating to find themselves in their art or vice versa.
Feelings are important to you when photographing, does this what you hope translates to anyone viewing your work too?
Yes! I hope my work can bring something to the viewers, while everyone’s perspective is different and each person may feel differently.
If there’s one film you could live in, which would it be and why?
Haha If I really could choose which movie I want to live in, it’d be Youth by Paolo Sorrentino. The location where they shot the film is absolutely beautiful and I’d just be happy to be someone that works in the hotel and observe how the old people live in a place like that, and to learn from them and to appreciate the young version of myself better.
What are you up to these days, any upcoming projects?
Currently I’m working on my personal projects. One is a portrait project featuring people and their favorite fruits and veggies. I started it because I wanted to challenge myself and also make people pay more attention to the fruits and veggies as I’m a vegetarian. So far I’ve taken portraits of 20 people with their favorite fruits and veggies. It’s really fun and I’m planning to make a book once I’ve reached 100 people.
Another one is a project intended to explore the word soulmate. I want to know what others think about the word and what the word means to them. Do they think soulmate exists or it’s just more like an idea. Through others’ perspectives and the dialogues, I get to explore my own and be more open-minded to new ideas.