Did you go into your trip intending to create a zine?
It's inevitable that one will take photos when traveling. Since photography is one of my first loves, I knew that there would be many foreign things I would want to document when I set out on my journey to Japan and China. A week into the trip I remember saying out loud to myself, "I should make a zine!" Since I've always been captivated by the novelty and tangibility of zines, I set my mind on making one that would be really special to me someday.
What were some of your favorite spots that you visited?
I absolutely fell for Tokyo. It's such a dreamland, just like all the movies make it seem. Everything is so clean and curated. It's an artistic paradise! And the food and people are just so lovely. I stayed in Shibuya, walking distance from Harajuku. The contrast between modern and traditional Japanese fashion and art converge here. And the shopping is incredible, too.
Were there any cultural differences that you found affected your photos?
I found myself having the urge to snap a picture whenever I saw something or someone that was unknown to me. I remember I was at a Buddhist temple in Neijiang (near Chengdu, China), taking photos. I was in such awe, I couldn't help myself. But I was told it was disrespectful to do so. I had truly never seen something as stunning.
What inspires you to photograph something when you see it?
To be completely honest, I just feel it in my heart and mind. I can't describe what makes me like or dislike certain things. There's an unknown force inside of me that motivates me to capture the images that I do. I simply let this force take over when I have my camera in my hands.
What are some of your other favorite zines?
The first zine I ever read was BOUND!. I saw it about three years ago, and it resonated with me because it was such a genuine compilation of poems, drawings, and essays. They were so relatable! There was a love poem in it that I cut out and have kept on my wall for inspiration.
Do you have any advice for other young creatives?
Don't stop. Do your art every day—or as often as you can—especially when you feel the urge to create. Do it for yourself and no one else. If your art is meant to be popular, it will happen naturally. People gravitate towards passion.
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