Steven Xue

Portland, OR

Who are you?

I am a photographer and communication designer from New Zealand. Currently, I am working on getting my BFA degree at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon.

What do you want?

To make a living with work I love and work I am proud of.

Why photography?

I was able to pick up photography through the rise of digital photography and online resources. Then I found film photography and became really passionate about that. Now, I am learning to work in other areas such as design and printmaking.

What gear do you use?

After years of trying out different gear, I’ve settled on a Leica MP (with a 35mm and a 50mm lens) and a Plaubel Makina 67. For film, I use Kodak Portra for color and Ilford for black-and-white. I also use my iPhone a lot, obviously.

Any interests, hobbies, or passions outside of photography?

Art and design, and making different things mostly. I’m really into making small publications and various print matter at the moment.

Music, movies, books, TV, games. What are some of your favorites? Any recommendations?

I recently discovered this band called L’Impératrice, it's French indie pop, I’ve been really into it. I also just binge-watched “Wild Wild Country” last week on Netflix. It’s a documentary about this Indian guru who decided to set up his headquarters in rural Oregon.

How did you first get into photography?

I started with the iPhone, it was around the time of the iPhone 4 I think, and the very beginning of Instagram. I think I am also just a very visual person, and I am drawn to the idea of making beautiful things.

Who or what is inspiring you?

The people and things around me. I’m grateful to be a part of an artistic community where people are constantly making great work, and there is something to learn from everyone. I’m also inspired by places and objects I come in contact with. Noticing beauty in the everyday, as small as it may be, is also a creative act.

Got any words of wisdom or a favorite quote?

“The gap between me and the world is getting bigger and bigger. But I don't care, I just do what I want to do.” — Hiroshi Sugimoto

Any other photographers you think people should check out?

Absolutely. These are some of my favorites: Yousuf Karsh, Arnold Newman, Gregory Crewdson, Todd Hido, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Rodney Smith, Duane Michals, Parker Fitzgerald, Rog Walker, Nirav Patel, Cristina Coral, Ben Zank, Viviane Sassen.

I would also say that don’t limit your inspiration to just photography. Learn from artists of all kinds and all mediums. Always be aware.

What do you wish someone would ask you?

What do I love about photography?

What’s the answer to that question?

Its ability to humanize.

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