As you build your brand and meet and work with more and more fabulous creatives, it is such a wonderful fuel of inspiration. Meet Christopher Quyen, founder at Seakyu Creative, the photographer behind Hills & West latest shoot. We worked together to create some playful fun with the new Lunar Collection and give the Hills & West staples a refresh. I asked Chris about his loves, inspirations and where his journey has taken him. I also, of course, asked him what it was like to work with the Hills & West team and what he had in store for 2019.
Thanks Chris for working with us and can’t wait to work with you again.
Tell us a little about yourself?
Hi! I’m Christopher Quyen from Sydney, Australia. I would call myself a creative who loves to express myself with different mediums. Although I’m not big on labels, it helps people get a sense of what you are so I would say I’m a photographer, writer, filmmaker, musician, and creative director. I also love to do a bit of acting here and there. When I’m not creating, you can find me skating, watching movies, reading, or visiting galleries – I love visiting the White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale and MoMa in New York! I’m also super passionate about food and if you hang with me you know some good food and drinks are about to go down.
How long have you been a photographer/videographer?
I first became interested in photography around five-and-a-half years ago and it was a great hobby to capture moments with my girlfriend at the time and my family and friends, but it wasn’t until three-and-a-half years ago when I shot my first fashion week in Sydney that I started to think that I could do this professionally. After that fashion week, a few designers in New York saw my images from Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on Instagram and invited me to attend and shoot their show in New York and I decided to just go for it. Since then life has been a bit crazy from shooting a campaign in Brooklyn during a blizzard for Justin Cassin to documenting Jeremy Scott’s after-party to travelling around the world shooting fashion weeks for GQ Australia.
What inspires you?
To be honest, after travelling a lot and seeing the light in different countries, I would say that light inspires me more than anything. Light can be a really emotional thing, I’m in love with the harshness of the light in Australia, I love the soft glow of the light in Italy, I love all the shapes and shadows that the light creates on all the towns and cities I’ve visited. I’m the type of person to pause and take a moment to just take in some dappled light against a concrete wall or lie in the golden glow that leaks into my apartment in the late afternoon. I think I’ve made an effort to try to recreate natural light in my studio work as well so it’s definitely a major inspiration for me. That being said, I would say I find inspiration from light artists such as James Turrell and photographers like Ryan McGinley. I also try to not take photos in my free time so I can stay inspired from other sources of creativity such as music or fashion or art or literature. I think it’s important to take a break from visual inspiration so you can exercise your imagination. For example, I draw a lot of inspiration from the writer, Haruki Murakami and his sensitivity for quiet moments and I love to imagine all the different visuals that could accompany music that I listen to.
What are your tips to get the most out of a shoot?
Putting aside all the technical things like lighting and getting your camera settings and lenses right, human connection is more important to me than taking a good photo. Photography is a very intimate process, it’s the interplay between you and a person trying to create an image and if you don’t connect with your subject, then the photos won’t be anything more than a pretty photo. I think it’s important to always make an effort to connect with everyone that you shoot.
What was your favourite part out of the H&W shoot?
Favourite part was definitely shooting in the M.Contemporary space and working with such a good team. Everybody was so lovely and were happy to experiment with my weird ideas. One of my favourite shots is definitely Wing doing an arabesque with the H&W bags hanging off her limbs.
What are the 5 things you could not live without?
That’s a hard one! Hmm… my Contax T2, a skateboard, coconut water, iPhone, Mexican food, and my Jabra Earbuds.
Anything cool coming up?
Finishing my degree in March 2019! That is honestly the coolest thing that is coming up for me haha. I’m studying a law and journalism degree and it’s low-key killing me. But by mid-2019 it looks like I have to make a decision whether I want to move to New York or stay here and keep working. In the meantime I’m working on more stuff in film as it’s something I’m very passionate about.
From creative to creative, what’s your favourite H&W bag?
I’m actually all for the men wearing handbags trend that is happening at the moment so my favourite Hills and West bag is the Lunar Max! I’m a big fan of customisation and being able to wear a bag as a backpack or a crossbody or even mixing up the colours is a huge bonus for me.
Anything else you want to add?
The founder of H&W, Aisha, is super lovely and I can’t wait to keep working with her.
Chris, you are too cute 😉 *blush*
If you want to get in touch with this talented guy, then do reach out as he is not only talented but an absolute pleasure to work with. www.christopherquyen.com