“La vie en rose” taken to a whole new level. Trees looking like candyfloss, Paul Hoi invites us to come and play in his pink Candy-Zealand. Using an infrared camera, he enchants us with his dreamy, psychedelic images where the existence of time has vanished into a moment of infinity.
« I wanted to do a road trip somewhere in the world with diverse climates where I could spend a couple of weeks dedicating myself to a creative project. I wanted to take on the challenge of shooting frequently photographed locations with a new approach, but a place that also provides the option of remote spaces. South Island, in particular, provided beautiful options for both of these needs. I was drawn to the idea of infrared photography because I like the idea of revealing the otherworldly fringes of an otherwise familiar landscape. »
How did you develop these images talking about camera gear and post-processing?
The images were shot with a mirrorless camera converted for full spectrum infrared, and I tried to shoot most of my images midday, as it typically gave the best results. I then edited down the images to about 30 photos, and the processing and editing begin there - each image varied, but I wanted to focus on having the pink and red tones as the main visual cues that run throughout the series.
Analog or digital?
I think people should use what serves their vision the best. I think there are interesting possibilities that overlap both approaches — digitally editing analog techniques, for example, or the reverse, like Michael Wolf’s project of using a large format camera to photograph Google Street View on a computer monitor.
What was the trigger that got you into photography?
I drew nonstop growing up, and having a small point-and-shoot felt like instant drawing - it felt like fun exercises compositional design. This obviously evolved tremendously as my understanding and techniques grew.
Do you think social media is a big influence in today’s world of photography and what are the pros and cons?
Of course. I’ve found lots of photographers on IG, for instance, and it’s been convenient sharing work on platforms on social media, where images can gain traction beyond the niche of photographers on platforms like Flickr, for instance. I also think it’s great that it’s encouraging tons of people who wouldn’t have thought about taking up a camera to do so.
This is the pro. I think an effect of that - and I don’t think this is a necessarily a con - is saturation and shorter attention span on the part of the viewer, which encourage a different type of in-your-face, poppy photography that looks good on a small screen or on a grid. I say that this isn’t a bad thing because if you’re looking for a certain type of images, you will seek it out in different ways. And if this gives rise to a genre of photography that you are no interested in, then people will just have to do something different that stands out. And the fringe of people, the most interesting ones, always do.
Tell us one thing you would have liked to know when you started as a photographer?
It’s important to shoot a lot when you begin just to get the muscle memory of shooting, but once you’re beyond that point, it is okay to not shoot obsessively every day. Shoot when inspiration comes to you, and feel free to engage in other forms of art in the meantime — they’ll find ways to inform your photography when the time is right to pick up a camera again. I shoot probably four or five times a year at most. Also, pick subjects that you’re interested in to photograph - that is more important than anything, far more than the technical mastery of a camera. The most interesting photographers have other passions, and cameras are typically a mean to document those other passions along the way. For me, this is solitary travel and remote landscapes.
Which song would you accompany with this series?
I don’t really have one in particular, but Tycho - Awake has been a recurring song I play a lot during my solo trips.