“MAYBE THERE IS NO SOUL”. NEW GENERATION OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Taiwan born photographer, Mike Sung, is armed with passion, creativity and a unique perspective of photography. Mike likes to be mysterious, never imposes the interpretation of his pictures. What is his story? Having studied Industrial Design in the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, he learned that photography is his deep passion he can’t do without. As a consequence, he moved to London where he lived in the period 2014-2016.
For a long time he has been collaborating with magazines such as Pigeons & Peacocks and Model Citizen. Currently you will find him in Taipei, his native city. Up till now, he has been looking for new opportunities to work with stylists and artists. His art contains elements of nature, philosophy and plays with colors. Without a doubt, he represents a new generation of photographers in Taiwan and the world.
The editorial he presents in JL Interviews is entitled: “Maybe There is No Soul”. All in purple and blue. The strong colors symbolize modern mass production. “We can’t know exactly when we first appeared as homo sapiens, how have we evolved our senses? There was an intriguing theory that before the stage of wisdom, we were led by a voice that could be heard in our mind. Maybe there is no soul as we think there is?” – he asks.
After finishing your studies at Industrial Design in the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, you went to London to study photography. Why? What does London have that Taiwan hasn’t?
I have had been interested in photography since college, but never had really gotten the chance to put enough effort to this field. The reason why I chose London, or any where else could not have been planned before I really went there. If I am to compare the difference between London and his hometown, I would say, ‘Taiwan has everything but nothing, while London has nothing but everything.’ It is not easy to describe in many senses. It has been easy to get everything in Taiwan, especially my home Taipei, where you can have food at midnight, safe places to live, but sometimes the connection and communication between aesthetics and our daily life and culture is somewhat shattered. Meanwhile, in London, there are no a convenience stores every other block, but has much higher prices with other challenges even just to get daily errands done. But there is energy. The energy would always fill me up and up, and I would feel it and never get tired of art.
Have you traveled a lot in this period around the Europe? Which places remained forever in your heart and why?
The more I travel the more I understand my own personality. I travel in a minimal way most of the time: backpack, my camera and hostel. In this way I get to realize how little I need to keep my life going. The places I would keep in my mind are: Iceland, Croatia, UK, Switzerland, and Greece. Most of them have the greatest essence of nature and human beings, so I guess I am a natural person.
Your photography is different, very artistic, metaphoric. You capture unexpected moments of people’s lives. It look sometimes like every subject had a message behind it. What do you want to tell the world with your works?
Art is about feeling for yourself, so sometimes people would read my work this way or any other way, or they just don’t read, which is good, I believe. Multiplicity is the value, so in my work I might make a discourse and maybe not, as long as the viewers get their own sense of perspective.
What magazines, models, brand do you collaborate with? How long does your fashion adventure take?
Pigeons & Peacocks, Model Citizen, and some workers would contact me through Instagram and e-mail. I have just started actually, trying to make things happen in fashion.
You are very young, and I am sure you will go far, but now, what do you consider your biggest work? What do you think, which of your photographic sessions will pass to the history or are just important for you?
To be honest, my biggest is project from May. I am participating in a shooting for a TV series in Life Story, PTS, Taiwan. I am really excited about this opportunity and the slot has to be kept secret here, of course. In terms of what my legacy might be, I cannot say, and it is too early to think about it. I am still lingering in different places and expanding my vision. Endless path as it seems, time will bring out the answer.
Tell me more about your country. How is young generation in Taiwan? How do you see your government, society and every day life?
My generation is just starting to show what we can do, and have been doing well. On the other hand, I hope all of us on this island can really think before they make their moves. As the opinions are still being integrated about who we are, and what culture we can embrace. While there are threats from inside and outside, I tend to keep myself with the hope that things are going to improve. Time will justify the right and fade the unwanted.
The world’s biggest photographers are many, Helmut Newton, Steve Mc Curry, Elliot Erwitt, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, Annie Leibovitz, just to mention some of them. Who was/is your master of photography?
None and all.
The work you prepared for JL INTERVIEWS is entitled “Maybe There Is No Soul”. What is this editorial about? Who is the girl whose head we see on the picture? What technique did you use there?
I made this work mainly with a clean back drop in purple and blue, added with a lot of photoshop, in which the process is such a representation of mass production nowadays. We cannot know about very long ago when we first appeared as homo sapiens, how we acquired our senses? There was an intriguing theory that before the stage of wisdom, we were led by a voice that could be heard in the mind. So, the question I am proposing here is such in our age, our period, and maybe there is no soul as we think here is?
9.2018 WONDER PHOTO DAY, organized in Taipei, in Taiwan, was your lucky day. Tell more about it.
Attending the show for the second time was more like a reunion to me: seeing friends and the people who share the same interest as I do. The booth I presented to the people is the chilling stand with grass and beer, like a picnic in the field where you can walk around, and I did not really go for the contest itself. I just enjoyed my days and learned from other talents.
Lately you have been very busy. You had shootings, shows, film preparation. What is your next goal?
Does going back to Europe count? As I mentioned above, I has a big still photoshoot ahead for a TV series and I have just finished a project in Japan and a prewedding for a lifetime friend. I cannot tell you the goals because I am more like a greedy and complex photographer. I enjoy all kinds of creation as it is a way to present my ideas.
Interview by Joanna Longawa
Lookbook Credits: Model/ Jia Lin, MUA/ Yiyi Tien, Style/ Joyce Ting, Yi Ma, Yen Ning Wu