Friday, June 17, 2011

PATRICK WACK: Exclusive Interview

by Eva Fydrych

Patrick Wack is a French photographer living and working in Shanghai. His images have been published in many international magazines like Marie-Claire France, Vogue China, Asia Magazine or Travel & Leisure, to name just a few.

The main focus of Patrick's photography is the human aspect via portraits, street fashion, editorial and institutional reporting. In an exclusive interview for the Fashion Studio, Patrick talks about his experiences in China, passion for photography and his future plans. Despite his obvious talent and many achievements, he remains humble and down to earth, still searching not only for new ideas and concepts to explore, but also his "perfect place" to live...


Occupation: Photographer

City: Shanghai, China

ELLE Fashion Show in Shanghai, Photo by Patrick Wack

FASHION STUDIO: When did you move to Shanghai? How do you like living in China? 

PATRICK: I moved to Shanghai in 2006. I had graduated from business school in Paris two years before that and had been working in a music software company since then in Berlin. 

I do like living in Shanghai. I think… But my tendency to think that there is a better place for me somewhere, keeps me permanently unsatisfied. I have a love-hate relationship with Shanghai and with China in general, a country of profound beauty, dynamism and kindness but also sometimes mind baffling with stupidity, ignorance and violence, whether it comes from random people or institutions. 

I think the more cultural Beijing would suit me more than Shanghai, which is a business city, but my work is here for now.

FASHION STUDIO: How did you get involved in photography?

PATRICK: Sports had been my major focus over my teenage years but at the turn of my 20s it just wasn’t enough anymore. I was also looking for something a bit more creative I guess. I have always been surrounded by photographs, lots of books at home that I enjoyed to go through and my father was a dilettante photographer. I always admired photojournalists, portrait photographers and street photographers. Being able to create beautiful images out of the reality around us fascinated me. I just picked up my father’s camera and started shooting around. It became an obsession and a major source of frustration for me, and still is.

FASHION STUDIO: Do you remember your first big project?

ELLE Fashion Show in Shanghai;
Photo by Patrick Wack
PATRICK: "Big" is a very subjective notion but for me that was my first ad job. A small ad for the Shangri-la group in Shanghai. The magic thing about China five years ago – and still today even though this is changing fast in first-tier cities like Shanghai and Beijing – is that totally inexperienced photographers like me could get to shoot jobs like this. 

I had never shot in a studio before and did not even know how to trigger a strobe but still was trusted to deliver a series of high fashion visuals shooting a pretty famous Chinese top-model. 

FASHION STUDIO: What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?

PATRICK: Living the life that to some extent I want to live and not following a path that was dictated to me by my environment. 

FASHION STUDIO: How to become a good photographer? What is most important?

PATRICK: No idea honestly, still looking for the answer to that one and that still keeps me awake quite a few nights per week. 

FASHION STUDIO: Any photography books you could recommend?

PATRICK: I have recently bought Infidel by Tim Hetherington. Just a few weeks before he was killed documenting the siege of Misrata in Lybia. Check out his work in general, a very innovative and modern visual reporter. 

FASHION STUDIO: Where did you get an idea for the street fashion project from? What was your inspiration?

PATRICK: I just enjoy walking around and looking at people so street fashion came naturally. Plus I enjoy looking at other street fashion blogs and being a very shy person when it comes to talking to people, I thought that could work as a free therapy. 

FASHION STUDIO: Do random people like being photographed?

Shanghai Mode Lingerie - Eurovet;
Photo by Patrick Wack
PATRICK: Pls define "random"…

FASHION STUDIO: What would you say about the way people dress in Shanghai?

PATRICK: Random.

FASHION STUDIO: Best shopping spots in the city...

PATRICK: Tao Bao (Chinese eBay).

FASHION STUDIO: Do you follow fashion yourself?

PATRICK: I don’t follow fashion at all. I really don’t care much about it. But I do like looking at fashion images as they are often beautifully executed images and I also love looking at people on the streets.

I don’t look at what they are wearing but at how they are wearing it in accordance with their body. Elegance to me is a very intriguing concept with a lot of different aspects.

FASHION STUDIO: Which fashion designers are popular in China? 

PATRICK: Anything that’s expensive. 

FASHION STUDIO: What's your definition of success? 

PATRICK: I could give you an idea of what success would be for my month of June but for anything more long term, I’m afraid I still have no idea. 

FASHION STUDIO: Your life philosophy... 

PATRICK: I very much envy people who have certainties in their lives, especially about what they want to achieve. I guess once you manage to find these certainties, you can give your best for it and that frees your mind. I’m still struggling to find my certainties but I guess that’s healthy in some way. 

FASHION STUDIO: What projects are you currently working on? 

PATRICK: I’m shooting the ad campaign for a new Chinese shoe brand from the Metersbonwe group at the end of the month and then shooting all of Suez’s China Annual report. Besides that my major project these days is finding a cool photo project to focus on for the summer. 

FASHION STUDIO: What are your future plans? 

PATRICK: Probably moving to Beijing and shooting more personal/editorial work.

FASHION STUDIO: Thank you and all the best with your projects. I'm sure a lot of readers will envy you living the life that you want and having so many great experiences along the way...
By Eva Fydrych

Visit Patrick's official website:

Shanghai Mode Lingerie - Eurovet; Photo by Patrick Wack

Shanghai Mode Lingerie - Eurovet; Photo by Patrick Wack


See Patrick's STREET FASHION photos from China: PART 1, PART 2

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...