KT: Being a singer in your band ‘PIMO’ and a graphic designer, how did you get into photography? When/what was your first encounter with photography?
PL: I worked as a graphic designer before I became a photographer. I was pretty frustrated with my freelance graphic designer job because I always had to do what the clients tell me to do. I watched a film called “Blow Up”. The protagonist was a photographer. I thought that was a pretty good job because nobody can tell you what to do once the photographs are already taken. So I decided to study photography and change my career.
My first encounter with photography was when I was in college. I had a digital camera and liked to play with it a lot. But I never took it seriously. I used it mainly for the visual diary.
KT: Your work is about exploring issues such as female identity, intimacy and sensitive gender roles with a female gaze and a witty sense of humour ranging from “A Collection of Penises” to “Breast Spray” to your most celebrated series “Experimental Relationships”. On what basis do you select your subjects? What are the hardships you face while working on your intimate subjects?
PL: I select my subjects based mainly on my own interest. I really got to know myself while.
In terms of creation, there’s really no hardships. Because I only make work that makes me happy. The real hardship is to find the time, money and energy to focus on my work instead of everything else in life.
KT: Your recent photobook “Experimental Relationship Vol.1 2007 – 2017”, published by Chinese publisher ‘Jiazazhi‘, is a long-term project which questions the stereotypical roles of men and women and the notion of dominance in relationships. What made you initiate this project? What do you like about photography in a photo book format?
PL: Before making this project, I used Moro more or less like a prop in photo assignments. When other people pointed out that I was not supposed to treat my boyfriend that way. I then realize this relationship seems so normal to me which actually is not so normal to other people. So I started to photograph ‘US’ to see how far it goes and how far I can push this relationship idea to other people.
This project is 12 years now. I have a lot more photos than the ones I put on the website or show in exhibitions. I think a photo book is a perfect medium for this type of long-term project. It gives people a much better understanding of the project, instead of just a few photos that are online.
KT: You wanted your photobook “Experimental Relationship Vol.1 2007 – 2017” designed in stark yellow colour which in Chinese “黄书” means pornography book. What was the intent behind it?
PL: My grandma might have seen a few of my photos. Once she casually mentioned to me that I should stop taking those pornos. I laughed. I think very much like pornography, my work also has this naughty characteristic.
KT: In one of your interviews, you quoted, “In the USA, people thought of this project in a more feminist way”. Why is your definition of feminism in the context of your own art? What are your views on male-dominance in the art world, especially in conservative societies like China, India etc. ?
PL: I support feminism. But I don’t think my work is feminist work. Because it’s not meant to be a politically correct project. I think the art world is just a miniature of our world. The art world is dominated by men because the world is dominated by men. Money and power belongs to men. As a result, it’s no surprise that our tiny art world is dominated by men as well.
In China and India, we have a much longer history of male domination in our society, and it’s written in all the beliefs we have. I do see hope though, with more and more exposure to works by female artists, we can change that.
KT: With your experimental artistic approach which is touching upon patriarchal stereotype, what do you do you want to achieve with your photography in the end?
PL: It’s really hard to say what to achieve with photography work. I hope it gets seen by more and more people. I hope it will open up talks among men and women. I hope people will be more open to other ideas.