Spotlight: Lian Leng

Meet Lian; she is a visual storyteller, photographer, artist, oh yeah, and a mechanical engineer. Vimeria joined forces with this brilliant and creative soul to collaborate on a story of two parts. We chatted about her work and what inspires her to keep creating.

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Emma Lindberd styled by Meg Galvin wearing Vimeria's Eva Necklace for Cake Magazine

What is the creative process that you go through to execute the shoot? How does it all come together?

When I first started shooting, it was really low key. I would work out the styling with the model’s own clothes and throw in some of mine in the mix. Shoots were a lot more intimate and personal back then, just between the model and I. Over the last year, as I became more focused on magazine submissions which require a much more extensive styling wardrobe, the team grew and I am now almost always working with a makeup artist and stylist. At that point, you quickly come to realize that a moodboard is a must to get everyone on the same page. I usually prepare two, one for styling and another for makeup.

 

What dictates the mood for your shoots?

I’m really drawn to clean and minimal aesthetics, and my shoots usually revolve around that. In general, the model is really my biggest source of inspiration and what drives the whole photoshoot. I’m constantly looking for girls with something unique, that slight imperfection that makes them so much more interesting.

 

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Olivia Xu is styled by Tara West with makeup by Karrie Walch, wearing Vimeria’s Eva Necklace

What inspired you to get into editorial photography?

It started as a fascination for vintage film cameras. As a mechanical engineer, I was intrigued by their complex mechanism. Over the course of two years, my collection of cameras from 1945-85 grew quite a bit. It got to the to the point where I realized I should probably put them to some better use than just random photos of my sister or inert objects. In 2014, I started Toronto Street Fashion in collaboration with my sister. She would illustrate stylish people in the streets of Toronto and I would photograph them. That period has allowed me to learn a lot about film photography and understand how to use natural light and adapt to the constantly changing weather and lighting conditions. I had a lot of fun doing this for about two years as I got to meet a lot of interesting people, but quickly grew tired of the static compositions. I knew then that I needed to do something more, something that would allow me to tell a story, and that’s pretty much how I transitioned into editorial photography.

 

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Emma Lindberd styled by Meg Galvin wearing Vimeria's Joan Bracelets for Cake Magazine

What keeps you captivated by film photography in a digital age?

I feel very strongly about shooting with film. It’s a very personal and organic experience for me. I think we live in a time where everything needs to be immediate and yet, we don’t seem to spend much time doing things. Shooting film allows me to just do that, slow down and take my time to think about and compose every single shot I am about to capture. Unlike digital, there is no immediate preview and that really enables me to perfect my techniques (whether it is lighting, exposure, or picking the right film depending on the weather that day) and trust my guts. 

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Olivia Xu is styled by Tara West with makeup by Karrie Walch, wearing Vimeria’s Lilly Earrings

Do you have any advice to anyone starting out?

I think anything is possible as long as you have the passion for it. Never stop learning, and never feel like you have reached the top. 

For me, it’s that constant urge to get better and better that really keeps me going forward. 

 

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Emma Lindberd styled by Meg Galvin wearing Vimeria's Elaine Ring for Cake Magazine

 

To see more of Lian’s work, head on to her portfolio website: www.lian-leng.com