Charley Zheng is a “self-taught photographer with a painter’s spirit.” Perpetually curious and an avid traveller, she is unceasingly prime to set the scene.
Many photographers aspire to paint with light and Charley succeeds, planting the subject in a fantastic landscape made all her own. The world has many beautiful places, but it is feat to transform such sights to allow the viewer entry. Charley’s work takes us outdoors and inspires us to ascertain our own tools to express and explore.
I took up photography because of an old love for fashion editorials. I lived my life in middle and high school with countless subscriptions to fashion magazines. I was fatefully drawn to the editorial aesthetic, which spoke for me deeply of hidden narratives and imaginary lives—things that got my head playing little films in my head. It was then that I decided I wanted to create my own little “head films” and started down a path of photography.
I shoot mostly outdoors scenes now, though my roots are still in fashion. But my guiding principles are the same: I really love capturing the cinematic spirit of things. Dreaminess, nostalgia, and rich colors are what I strive for. In many ways, I’m hugely inspired by the Hudson River school of painting, which evoked the vastness of nature. The Hudson painters made you feel like you were in the painting—which is something I also strive towards in my work, to the best of my ability.
All photographs (C) Charley Zheng 2014