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The Creative Process Ep. 2: Deanie Chen

About Deanie @deaniechen

Deanie is a New York based photographer and law student. Her work, ranging from fashion and portrait, to live music photography, has been featured by People Magazine, Billboard, and Spotify. 

What’s your background? How did you get into photography?

I wanted to find an art form that worked for me, and I luckily stumbled across photography. I started bringing my camera to small shows in my hometown, and after building my portfolio, started working in the music industry professionally.

What was your favorite shoot?

I love each and every one of my shoots -- each one is so different and represents a unique meshing of minds and art forms which is why they’re all so special to me.

Are there certain projects that have inspired you more than others?

I try to pull inspiration from a variety of sources -- not just photography. I think I create the most interesting work when I’m inspired by music and literature than just from visual sources. I love love working with musicians to create conceptual shoots that align with their music and lyrics. Recently an artist Trafton reached out to me to create press images that were suited to his rebrand/new single. I got to take inspiration from his song and concepts and transform that into a visual concept and shoot. It was so fun.

What does being a creative mean to you? 

Creativity is an unyielding thirst for growth. I think that creativity is never being satisfied with the status quo and aiming to make something better, new, and different.

Who is your favorite artist?

This changes frequently -- but Edward Hopper is a painter that I forever am inspired by his use of tones to create a strong sense of emotion for the viewer.

What is a common myth about your profession that you want to debunk?

It’s not just pressing a button and your gear matters only to a certain degree. Most of my photographer friends are insane creative directors, set designers, editors, retouchers, in addition to being able to use a camera.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting a creative career or creative outlet?

Being a creative is a lot of luck and being in the right place at the right time. Don’t box yourself in by setting stringent goals that for the lack of a better way to say -- you don’t have much control over. The only thing you have control over is continuously producing work, continuously trying to get better, and continuously putting yourself out there. Those opportunities will come around when the time comes.

Do you feel like the pandemic has forced you to be more or less creative than you were prior to it?

I think both. Less because my main work in live music has all but died, but more because I am forced to find new sources of inspiration and I’ve gotten back into portraits and more conceptual photography which has been fun.

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