Fashion photographer Stone Zhu’s creative career began when his college friends noticed his artistic sensibilities. “They loved to be photographed by me when we would go out traveling,” he says. “I started to realize that I may be a good photographer, and I did like to shoot—especially photographing people. So, I borrowed a Canon 40D camera from my classmate. After two weeks, I asked my dad to buy me one. He refused immediately, but I felt like I could not give up asking.” After many days of “annoying” his father, as Zhu puts it, and by taking lots of photos, he eventually proved his commitment to pursuing photography and went onto study at the Parsons School of Design in New York. There, Zhu cut his teeth by booking two shoots a week. “‘Shoot a lot’ is advice I learned from my professor Terry Towery,” he says. “Photography is a skill, and skills must be practiced a lot. By shooting frequently, I start to understand what makes sense, what doesn’t, what I like to do and what I’m not good at.” Zhu’s artistic practice represents the synthesis of his Eastern understanding of art—“black, white and empty space,” he says—with his experience in the West. “I love that Western culture is open-minded and faces reality,” he explains.
This Bern, Switzerland–based designer explores how design can open different artistic disciplines to new possibilities.