Kwannam Chu Builds His Dream House

The Chinese-born, New York-based photographer on the romance of America.

Kwannam Chu’s fashion portraits of the young and beautiful evoke a sense of Romanticism and nostalgia. His sensitive eye connects with the personality of each subject and brings a story to each image. Here, he tells us of his love affair with New York City, and the American dream.

Dazed Digital: How old are you?
Kwannam Chu: Thirty two.
DD: What is your nationality?
KC: Chinese.
DD: How long have you been taking photos?
KC: For fashion photography, around 4 years.
DD: How would you describe your photographic style?
KC: A Neverending Story full of Peter Pans, running wild and shirtless in my Neverland Ranch.
DD: What is inspiring you at the moment?
KC: New York City. Antique ambrotype pictures. Jack Pierson installations. Hollow cut silhouettes. Young, hot fashion interns. Haikus by Jack Kerouac. Mark Beard paintings.
DD: Were you interested in photography when you were growing up?
KC: When I was reading Vogue growing up (don't laugh), I saw those fancy mansions where they hang many beautifully framed pictures in the pages, and I was like, "One day, when I am finally living on my own in my apartment, I am gonna have that many pictures too!" And now, I am taking those pictures myself, yay! I took a class or two when I was in college so that I could spend time in the darkroom instead of a classroom. That's when I started snapping pictures.
DD: What is your dream job?
KC: Pretty much what I am doing now, except I would be artistically, creatively and technically better.
DD: Who are your favorite photographers and why?
KC: Bruce Weber and Tim Walker. They, and their works, inspired me to believe in fantasies and dreams, let me know it is okay to be who you are and be different.
DD: Who/what would you most like the opportunity to photograph and why?
KC: James Dean. He is my all time crush [giggles].
DD: What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in ten years' time?
KC: To be better at what I am doing and be less cynical. Spend more time in New York! I would fall in love again in ten years' time.