SINJUN STROM

Age: 21

Tell us about yourself:

I’m a fashion photographer finishing up my BFA in photography at the School of Visual Arts (SVA).

What do you like to shoot?

I shoot a lot of fashion photography, but it’s not just about taking the photo for me. I like to have a hand in every part of it. This means that I operate as a stylist, a set designer, a makeup artist, and a photographer all at once. This mind set also translates over into the random shit I shoot on the street or of my friends. I have to process the film (if I’m able to), scan the images, and they usually end up living in a book that I make from scratch.

What camera do you use?

Right now I’m really hyped on my Rolleiflex, but I also shoot with a Pentax K1000 or whatever point and shoot someone will let my poor ass borrow for a while haha.

What would you say the main narrative behind your images is?

I wouldn’t really say there’s a full narrative to any of my work. If it’s fashion, I have an idea of a character to set me and my subject off. If I keep things a little ambiguous it gives us room to play and opens up the door to collaboration. Nothing is more inspiring than when your subject really gets in the zone with you! For everything else that I shoot, I think i’m trying to preserve memories. That sounds really basic to say, but I think this need to preserve things stems from when I was younger. I always used to bike to antique stores by myself and dig in those large bins of photographs for hours. I enjoyed finding family photographs that went together and connecting the dots. If something about a family peaked my interest, I felt I had to take them home because I was sad to find rich family history forgotten in a bin for a 14 year old to pick through. Not only did I want to preserve these histories, but I also wanted to preserve the photographic styles that each family photographer produced. Some of the collections I have are really fucking good.

What drives you as a photographer?

That is the hardest question. I feel like people ask artists in general that question a lot. For me photography has always been a way to keep my mental health in a good place. It helped me release a lot of tension and escape things I was experiencing when I was young. I would say I have a need to make things to be able to feel happy. And this constant need is what drives me. Without photography, I’m not so sure where I would be.

Who do you look up to in the photographic world?

Weirdly enough, I don’t really pay attention to photographers. When I was really young I found myself absorbing too much information about photography and I accidentally started copying others because so many things were resting in my subconscious. So I stopped looking at photographers and gave myself time to figure out who I was and what I wanted to make. For inspiration I actually find myself watching films more than anything. I love getting invested in the characters and the lighting in older films. I especially enjoy ‘Suspiria’ by Dario Argento and the films of Busby Berkeley.

sinjunstrom_05

Which photo in your gallery is your favourite, and why is that? 

I think the photo of my sister and her best friend Harrison on the bus in Minnesota where I’m from. When I took this photo I hadn’t seen my sister in a long time and during our time apart she had transitioned into adulthood. When I finally scanned the photo it was the first time I had seen my sister in a photograph as a grown woman. It was kind of intense to see her so comfortable in her body and owning the space. We were also riding the 6 bus which was a throwback to my life back home. Just that lighting on the bus and those tacky patterned seats that have literally been the same design since forever. This photo makes me miss home and it has also made me realize that I am missing the evolving lives of everyone who still lives there.

After following your work for some time now, I have noticed how much you like to work with props and crazy backdrops, how do these go from ideas to reality?

Ohhh brother. Honestly, those decisions are usually run by how much money I have at that moment. During my junior year, I built a ton of sets just out of seamless paper simply because SVA has a ton of it and I literally. had. no. money. If I had it my way, I would paint all of my sets by hand !!

Do you like to style all your own shoots?

Hell freakin’ yeah. I have way too much fun with that stuff. I’ve thought about hiring a stylist to help relieve some of the stress during shoots, but I just love it too much. My photos are always going to be apart of me, even if they are for a client. Because of this, I want to throw elements of myself in there by styling with things I’ve made or that I like.

Out of all the projects you have been apart of, personal and commission based, which has been your favourite?

My senior thesis for sure !! I’m currently working on it and keeping it on the DL so I can’t say a lot about it. But I will say that it is something that I have been thinking about for two years. It is something I have cried over, had a shit ton of problems that I had to work through, and I hope all of that love comes through in the work.

Any last words?

Been thinkin’ a lot this week about school and how weird it can be. Sometimes I wish people would block all of the voices from critique out of their head and just go and make stuff!! Art is fun. Photography is fun. I think people should let loose a little more.

Instagram:@sinjunstrom
Websitewww.sinjun-strom.com

 

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