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Born in Manchester. Attended Leeds College of Art and now London-based. We are talking about Paul Phung. The 26-year-old photographer whose work is influenced by all forms of art already worked with big and well-known magazines like Dazed and Confused or music labels such as Domino Records. His work, which is mainly held in black and white transmits feelings, emotions and creates an impression of space and isolation. Moreover, the talented photographer has planned many things for this year, for instance collaborations with fashion designers, musicians and publishers. We wanted to get to know Paul and asked him about his work and why he chooses black and white photography.

You studied photography at Leeds College of Art and now live and and work as a photographer in London. Nowadays there are a lot of photographers out there who are self-taught. Due to your studies, would you say that you have a different view on photography? I mean, you probably have a better understanding and profound knowledge in that field of work. In which way is this an advantage or does it help you?

I think it depends on the person really, I have quite a few friends in London who are self-taught and probably have a better technical knowledge of photography than me. The great thing about being a student at Leeds was the freedom I had and it wasn’t purely just photography we were studying. I experimented a lot during my first few years and in a way I wanted to understand if I even wanted to become a photographer.

How did you get into photography?

I have no idea, I studied quite a few different art related subjects after school and dropped out of them all and seemed to just landed into a photography class.

Would you say that art has the biggest impact on you?

Absolutely, it’s hard for me to think about anything else.

I realized a lot of black and white photographs, while looking through your portfolio and social media platforms (Tumblr, Instagram). Why do you prefer black and white over colour? 

I feel sometimes colour can be very distracting in what I’m trying to communicate through my photos. I like to have a lot of space in my images and room for the viewer to breathe whilst observing and the only way I know how to do that is in black and white.

So, would you say that black and white photography is like a signature feature of your work?

For now, yes.

What inspires you? How is London influencing you and your work?

This constantly changes as I grow older as a photographer, but I feel like at times I can be inspired by anything, for example I remember a time when I was walking home and saw a tiny crack on the wall and for the rest of the journey I was just picturing it huge as a backdrop. London can be one incredibly painful city to live in but I do truly love all the museums and galleries it has to offer and all the amazing opportunities I’ve been given since living here.

To me your work is really expressive, yet a bit mysterious and kind of emotional. I really enjoy looking at them. Do you have a certain approach before or during a shooting? What do you want to transmit with your work? 

It is very personal my work and I want to keep all my work as a strong reflection on who I am as a person.

Moreover, your work has been published in many well-known magazines such as Dazed and Confused, Bullett Magazine, ... How did all this "collaborations" come about and how was it like, for example working with Dazed and Confused?

Sometimes it’s from an email I’ve sent, other times it can be from a friend recommending me or the job just lands in my inbox and I never really know how. With any well established magazine I’ve done work for, it’s always been really fun.

What kind of equipment do you use?

I’m not someone who gets attached to cameras. I’ve had so many and given so many away, but digital I have a Canon Mark II. And film, well a few point and shoots and a lot of half working 35mm SLR’s.

Beside photography what other mediums could you think of that you'd like to work with in the future? What about making films?

Possibly, but I’ve still got so much to learn in photography

Last question: Where do you see yourself in the future?

A question I always try avoid asking myself, but if I can live my life solely working as a photographer then I would be incredibly grateful.

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