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Interview with Mia Song

Riley Gunderson
Production / Direction

Start by introducing yourself and the work that you do.

Hi, I am a photographer based in NYC/Beijing. My work is based on my memory and situation. I am always working on my personal projects. Collaboration with musicians, magazines, and designer brands.

How long have you been a photographer?

I started to shoot with film and polaroids in 2011. Photography has been my career since 2017, after I graduated.

Have you always been interested in photography? Did you go to school to study photography?

Photography is the strongest way I can feel I am alive. The only way I can be myself.

My MFA major is Photography & Electronic Media. I took 2 years to learn more professional stuff about photography.

How would you describe your photography style?

I respect people to be who they are. I am not that much into visual settings, vivid colors or so. I am always interested in people themselves and emotional moments.

What is your favorite subject to shoot?

Lonely moments.

Do you shoot digitally, with film, or both?

Only film, I love polaroids too.

What do you think makes a photograph successful? Is there anything specific that you look for?

For me the “soul” has to come first. No matter what photos look like, a good one always has its something inside not outside.  

I have many questions, but I know there is nobody who could give me an answer, not even photography. I am trying to stay real and alive but am always escaping from reality. That’s my problem.

What does your editing process look like?

Respect the essence of everything.

What are your biggest sources of inspiration?

More loneliness and suffering, more time thinking and deeper feelings. Sometimes I am air, sometimes I am fire.

Is there a lot of planning that goes into a shoot beforehand or do you work intuitively?

It depends. Sometimes it just comes out. But most of the time I have ideas in my daily life. I will keep them for the future.

Is there anything specific you want people to feel or take away from your work?

I don’t like to put too much stuff on people. If I have to say, I wish the feeling is like “blowing in the wind.”

How do you think that your photographic style, either conceptually or aesthetically, has changed over time?

You know your situation and condition always changes. If one day my winds go another direction, I think that must mean my heart has changed.

What does your creative process look like? How do you go into a shoot?

Feel it, 100% focus, make a movement, follow my heart.

Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?

I like all of them, they are different but all come from me. It’s hard to say which part of yourself you like most. I could be who I am, because all of me before.

What does photography mean to you?

Since I came to a ‘mature’ age, I have kept on moving to different places to study, maybe that is why I have no sense of belonging.  

I am just a bystander and a memory recorder, an endeavor of mine is to show my personal perception of alienation and loneliness within my work. After I have been in the United States more than 5 years, I am still a free loner.

What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer for you?

Feeling alive.

What are you working on now?

I am working on a new project about music and another shooting job. I wish I could make an exhibition about music this year.

Is there anything you want to pursue in the future or any dreams you have within photography or another creative outlet?

I still want to travel around the world.

Mia Song: Website | Instagram

Interview by Riley Gunderson

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