Qian Zhao is a 25 year-old Chinese photographer born in the small city of Wu Ning, currently based in San Francisco. His series Offcut premieres today for the first time in a photography magazine, as part of our FotoFirst section. (Do you want your new work to premiere on FotoRoom, too? Step one is submitting!).
Hello Zhao, thank you for this interview. What are your main interests as a photographer?
My intent is to freeze a moment in time as realistically as possible. I am the one who takes a photograph, but I am not the only one who creates that photograph. I feel responsible for both the artistic and the documentary value of my work, and hope that the viewer can find their own meanings in my images.
What is Offcut about, in particular?
Offcut explores the periphery of vision. In this work I collect fragments of daily life, I give charge to quotidian details imagining for these possibilities that go beyond their ordinary function.
Did you take the Offcut pictures specifically for this series, or did you put together images you already had when you noticed a relation among them?
I took the pictures specifically for Offcut.
Does your background in graphic design influence your photography?
My experiences with graphic design actually guide me in my photography. Graphic design helps me see and think in an abstract way, I observe the world around me in colors, patterns and shapes. We must acknowledge the importance of how things look, how they appear, because we first experience them through our eyes. The content can never be separated from the form.
How does one keep their eyes open to ordinary details like those depicted in Offcut?
For me, it is kind of an instinct, it’s something that comes natural. I just use photography to organize it.
Who are some of your favorite contemporary photographers?
Wolfgang Tillmans, Thomas Demand, Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs, Jason Fulford, William Eggleston, Lucas Blalock. Their works are all special.
Choose your #threewordsforphotography.
Fragment. Surface. Offcut.