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Ann He

The teenage photographer creates imagery based on dreams, escape routes and imagination

Young aspiring fashion photographer Ann He was born in Chengdu, China, but moved to the United States with her family aged three. Now sixteen years of age and based in Dallas, Texas, He is focusing on photography more as an art form and expression of curiosity. For He, photography is a portal to the world of imagination, a way of exploring new facets of oneself or just a way to renounce reality and create an idealised alternative... 

Dazed Digital: How did you venture into photography? Can you tell us a bit about it.
Ann He: It started out as just a fascination with the possibilities of a camera and some software. It was a casual hobby, but when I became involved with model agencies and fashion photography, everything spiralled into greater proportions. Then I became interested in the work of different photographers like Roversi, Sally Mann and Ryan McGinley who have come to define the avenues that I want to steer towards with my own photography.

DD: What is the best advice you got so far?
Ann He: Don't be afraid to experiment. There are so many possible avenues in art and you have to walk down each of them to figure out what works for you. Of course, you're not always going to create something that satisfies you, or expresses an idea in the manner you desire, but the very act of exploration allows you to become more aware of your identity as an artist.

DD: What was your first passion and how does this passion manifest itself today?
Ann He: As with a lot of little girls, my mother signed me up for dance lessons and so I grew to love the way dance combined physical stamina and precision with emotion. I guess that same tendency to combine and create manifests itself today in the way I approach both academic and artistic pursuits.

DD: What does photography mean to you?
Ann He: The ability to recreate dreams, escape from reality, to remember things, a vessel to realise what has never been seen before, like some candy castles…

DD: Can you explain your creative process?
Ann He: Hm, I guess I'll first get some really vague notion of a possible shoot. I won't think about it for a while… Most of my best images are created when I'm able to observe a shoot and then adapt to the conditions. 

DD: What is your art theory?
Ann He: Since I appreciate both art for the sake of beauty and the more conceptual strain of art, the kind with political or social undertones, I'd say I'm not picky. Given that, I do feel that good art must show a mastery of technique, or at least some cognition and concept.

DD: What are you currently working on?
Ann He: Right now I'm doing a photo concentration that was inspired by what I've recently learned about neuroscience and visual perception, and integrates that idea with the variable of time.

Text by Alexandra Plesner