JRP: Fashion Photographer Vivienne Mok’s photographic style reminds one of the great master painters of times past. I am grateful that she consented to share her thoughts and images with James Robinson Photography Blog. Welcome Vivienne.
Vivienne Mok: My pleasure.
JRP: Vivienne where do you call home? How did you get your start in photography and is there any formal training in your background?
Vivienne Mok: I was born in NY and grew up between Paris and Hong Kong. Right now I am in Paris so I guess home is here for now. I actually studied Fashion Design at Parsons School of Design and worked as a designer for the last 3 years at the Parisian fashion house Anne Valerie Hash. On the side, about less than two years ago, I started photography, first as a hobby. I have no training as a photographer, I am completely self-taught.
JRP: When was that moment where it clicks that this is what you should be doing, and why the genre of photography you have chosen?
Vivienne Mok: I found my style very quickly and I started to shoot more and more often. I really enjoyed it. I was able to express myself freely finally and I realized that was what I wanted to do! So I quit my job last fall to pursue this path. I don’t know if I have chosen this style of photography, it happened quite naturally, I think that it’s something I have in me because it is very personal.
JRP: Name some photographers you feel have impacted your work and why?
Vivienne Mok: I only started to discover the work of photographers much later. I like Tim Walker’s images because they are just like a fairytale.
JRP: Do you have a support staff or group or are you pretty much an independent artist?
Vivienne Mok: Until now I have always worked alone. I have a clear idea of what I like when it comes to styling, and I like the natural look so I use only minimal make-up or no make-up. I often shoot in my own apartment so it’s very personal and I like it that way. It’s important to create a good connection with the model. But if I meet the right people to work with, in the future I’d like to try to collaborate with more people when the project is a bit more complicated to handle.
JRP: What equipment would I find in your camera bag or studio for a typical shoot? What lighting equipment do you favor and why?
Vivienne Mok: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 50mm 1.4lens, 35mm 1.4lens and 24mm 1.4lens. I only use natural lighting because it’s the most beautiful and simple in my opinion.
JRP: Could you describe your digital work-flow and the software you use?
Vivienne Mok: Bridge for selection & Photoshop for final touches.
JRP: Do you personally print your images?
Vivienne Mok: I have a good printer at home so I usually handle the printing when needed, unless it’s for an exhibition and if I need a bigger format then I get them printed in a lab.
JRP: In today’s economy how do you keep productive and retain your creative edge?
Vivienne Mok: At the moment, I try to do a lot of personal projects, to evolve and to translate my ideas into images. It might not bring me money but it means a lot to me, and I have so much to learn.
JRP: Are there any memorable images or shoots you could share with us? What made that image or shoot special?
Vivienne Mok: Every shooting is an experience and has its magic.
JRP: Who or what would be your “Dream” subject and why?
Vivienne Mok: I do not have a specific “Dream” subject, but I do have a weakness for red hair girls. I find them fascinating! There’s something really fragile about them, they look like mystical heroines from Pre-Raphaelite paintings.
JRP: What has been the best advice given to you by another photographer?
Vivienne Mok: I personally hardly know any photographers … But I have been told, “Take what you do seriously, do your best, and after learn to let go“. Plus “There is time and place for everything“.
JRP: What advice would you like to share with other photographers?
Vivienne Mok: Everyone needs to find their own way of working, but I would say just stay true to yourself. You can listen to advice, comments, and criticism, but at the end of the day you need to follow what your heart tells you to do. Be kind and do what you love. Nobody can do it exactly the way you do.
JRP: Thank you Vivienne for sharing your thoughts and images with us. It has been a pleasure.
Vivienne Mok: 🙂
JRP: To view more of Vivienne Mok’s photography please follow this link: