Born and raised in Shanghai, China. Shen Wei is a fine art photographer currently based in New York City. Shen’s photographs have been widely exhibited, including Griffin Museum of Photography, Seattle Center on Contemporary Art, Zone: Chelsea Center for the Arts, Australia Center for Photography, Lincoln Center and Saatchi Gallery at the Zoo Art Fair. His photographs have been featured in various publications such as American Photo, Chinese Photography, PDN, Vision and La Tempestad.
Who are your subjects and how do you go about finding them? ‘Most of my subjects are strangers; very few are people I know. I find my subjects through many different methods, such as at social events, through friends, on the Internet, and by approaching them on location’
How do you go about putting strangers at ease when photographing them? ‘It is a complicated process. Every one of my subjects is different. Everyone has their own interest in the situation. What I do is just try to have natural and comfortable communications with them. I see them as my new friends, not just models’.
Do you have specific ideas on how you want to photograph your subjects or do you let them lead the way? ‘I talk to my subjects before I start shooting. When we communicate well, often we just work together. I usually let my subjects do whatever they are comfortable with. I like the moment when emotion appears naturally’.
Has there ever been an occasion when you have felt uncomfortable photographing one of your subjects? ‘Of course, there are a few times, but I always manage to overcome the awkwardness’.