Yuan Yao

Yuan Yao


By way of an organic and vibrant imagery, Yuan Yao shares his vision of the world - his visual approach to colours, bodies and landscapes is one of a kind - it's sometimes very poetic or has the ability to anchor you in the reality of his own world. Here, he takes us through the visual journey of the most uplifting experience on earth - motherhood. From then on, eye meets beauty.

What is your background?
My name is Yuan Yao - I’m 29 and I currently live in Tokyo. I came to Tokyo to study graphic design and it's been my first time living abroad outside mainland China.

I first started taking photographs during my final years of primary school. My mum had a Ricoh analog and I used it taking random portraits in school: I brought the camera with me when I moved to Japan but it’s not working anymore.


Where are you based right now? 
I live in Tokyo at the moment but I am moving to Shanghai in a few days.


What are your projects for this year?
For now, I plan to make a book from this photo series. I also have a few design projects to work on.


What kind of emotion are you trying to convey through your photography?
I like things that are a bit melancholic, maybe it shows in the photographs I take?


Indeed, especially in that brand new series of yours – could you tell us a bit more about this project with you’ve worked on your friend?
Here is a bit background about us - my friend is a Japanese single mother, and I am from China. We met through mutual friends and were actually not that close before we started the project. It’s funny because it now feels a lot like we form a family – sharing affection and common values, there is an attachment so strong between us that it’s beyond words. Naturally, her new-born baby later on also contributed to strengthening that bond

My friend’s hometown is Fuji which is quite close to Mount Fuji. As I currently live in Tokyo, I can go there quite often. We traveled to different places in Japan for these pictures. It was a relatively difficult time for both of us in our personal lives, all the more for her because of her pregnancy which soon became the focal point of our little journey.

At the time, we were both living in Tokyo which allowed us to have a good understanding of each other -  we were both feeling isolated and were actually trying to get out of it. But the whole process of doing this together was very joyful. The feeling of being alive was always present – there are so many fun stories about this project. Some are even magical. In some way, these memories have also made what we were doing gradually become very precious for both of us. We took a lot of pictures, like really a lot, and we are now trying to make a photo book with all of them.


Where do you see yourself in a few years?
More comfortable with my own being.


Images courtesy of YUAN YAO


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