For this Exclusive we have the honor of showing the work of Lin Zhipeng aka No.223. Based now in Beijing, he named himself “No.223” after the lovelorn cop character in Wong Kar-wai’s movie Chungking Express. No.223 snaps his circle of friends and himself, portraying his view of youth culture and lifestyles in contemporary China.
Aside from contributing to numerous creative magazines as well as fashion magazines, No.223 has produced numerous photoshoots for a variety of magazines like Vice, S magazine, VISION, iLOOK, City Pictorial and more. The impressive list of brands that No.223 can call his clients, show that his work and visual language is widely and highly anticipated.
DEATH BEFORE DIGITAL recently interviewed No.223
Hello 223, we are honoured to have this interview with you as we are great admirers of your work. Can you tell us a little more about what got you started taking photographs?
I started taking photographs when I was still in university. In 2004 I bought a small film-camera for myself and then began shooting daily life, which I’m still doing today.
We know you are not only working as a photographer, but you also write. Is there a close relationship between your words on paper and the photographs you take? Do they go hand in hand or do you approach them as 2 individual processes?
They are quite different to me, but both are creative.
Words are more flexible, if you want to describe something completely, you can use words to do so. Or you can of course also describe less when you want to keep something more secret.
But photography is always about the “moment”. The moment was decided by your camera shutter. When I am shooting documentary style photos, I can not control time. Everything is decided by the moment. I think it’s good and it is also the charm of photography. For the viewers, they can imagine anything before or after the “moment”. They can guess what happened before or after the moment the photo was taken.
Which photographers or artists (writers, musicians, philosophers) influenced you? And how did they influence your thinking, photographing and career path?
I think when I began taking photos, I was influenced by Wong Kar Wai, the Hong-Kong movie director. I was also living in Guangzhou before and the city was so close to Hong-Kong. Both cities have similar cultures and a similar vibe. So far I still love to make images with flowers and a strong visual aesthetic. It always kind of reflects the old Hong Kong movies.
What is it you want to say with your photographs and how do you get your photographs to do that?
My photographs are about my life, my experience and my growing. I think my life is the only theme of my photographs. When I die, this big theme will end.
What motivates you to continue taking photographs economically, politically, intellectually or emotionally?
My passion in life!
Can you show us your most beloved photograph you’ve shot and tell us the story behind it?
Actually, it is not my most beloved photograph. But I think it is one that is hard to shoot.
I shot it on a small island in Thailand when I was travelling alone, back in 2011. I love islands and the sunshine, I enjoy riding a motorbike on a strange island under the sun. That time I rode to a cave and wanted to see the bats in the totally dark cave. A director took me into the cave and we saw plenty of bats hanging upside down in the cave. I shoot several pictures when they were flying out. When I went out of the cave I noticed that my shoulder was hit with some bat-shit….haha. Regardless, I’m happy I shot a great moment of the bats flying out.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photographs?
I wish I knew my life.
Not too long ago “Hidden Track” came out, published by Edition Bessard. Which we are very happy to own a copy of. How did this collaboration come along and what is next in line in terms of new projects?
I’ve known the publisher of Edition Bessard for years. We worked together for a collection of works called “ Hidden Track” last year, which is now sold out completely. So now we are working on a new book project. Still about nudity. Can’t say too much about it at the moment. Let’s see then… 🙂
What does film-photography mean to you?
My bad habits!
This interview has come to an end and we would like to thank you for your time to answer our questions! Looking forward seeing more of your work and your projects.
You are welcome! And looking forward seeing more of Death Before Digital in the future!