Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
My name is Timothy Lee, but I go by Timmothy Lee in professional practice. I’m both a Canadian and Hongkongese (Chinese) citizen. In other words, I’m influenced both by the Western and Eastern cultures. I’m currently in my fourth year of university, finishing a bachelor’s degree in illustration at Ontario Art and Design. I am hoping to become a full-time professional in the field once I graduate.
You describe yourself not as a photographer, but as an image maker, why?
Nowadays, a lot of creatives out there are multi-disciplinary. As Massimo Vignelli once said, “If you can design one thing, you can design everything.” I’m not only dealing with the subject matter of photography, but at the same time I also do graphic design, illustration and fine art. Personally, I think art and design are both important when it comes to making a visual presentation/communication. My work not only includes self expression, but solutions to visual problems depending on different needs. Therefore, I think it’s more suitable to describe myself as an image maker–“A representation of anything to the mind; a picture drawn by the fancy; a conception; an idea.” -1913 Webster
Your work spans everything from men’s and women’s fashion to product shots. Does one area particularly inspire you?
I deal with a wide range of subject matters. However, I must say women’s fashion photography is one of my favourites. And I don’t want to approach women’s fashion in a traditional way; I always want put a new spin on it. My inspirations come from literally everything including music, science, nature, technology, entertainment, etc.
Color and femininity, with a sense of impressionism, seem to play an important role in your work. Is this something that you consider each shoot, or does it come naturally?
Hmm..good question. I think it’s mainly how my thinking pattern works, so let’s say it comes naturally, because I have interests in dreams, philosophy and psychology soft science areas. In addition, in the language of art and design, colours are not simply a range of lights, they also have deeper emotional and cultural meanings. To sum it up, I like to deal with my subject matter not as what’s naturally seen, or what’s referred to as “documenting,” but rather prefer to approach the subject sensually. I don’t feel the need to be truly representational. For the viewer, it should be more about the perspective of “seeing” and “interacting,” whether it is connotatively and/or denotatively.
I don’t think things will always work out according to plans, but my goal is to eventually work in the main fashion capitals of the world such as London, Milan, Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai and especially New York. As they say, “if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere else.”
To see more of Timmothy Lee’s work, visit his site, timothylee.com.