5 Minutes With Lean Lui, Hong Kong Photographer Hand-Picked To Shoot Dior’s Global Cruise Campaign

How did you come to work with Dior?

An editor spotted me in a news feature about the Three-Shadow Photography Awards. She recommended me to Dior, and Maria Grazia Chiuri loved my style and asked me to have a shoot with her daughter Rachele. Afterwards, Dior invited me to shoot for Dior Magazine, followed by an appearance on Dior Talks (podcast programme), and then most recently the Cruise advertising campaign. Maria Grazia told me that she picked me personally for this campaign because she loves the series I shot for Rachele, the atmosphere and how I interpret fashion.

Can you describe your experience shooting this campaign?

We experimented with different vibes, be it poetic, dramatic or cinematic. I didn’t regard it as a fashion shoot or commercial campaign but as an art creation. It is more “fierce” than my usual works. At first, the team was a bit worried that my style might be too abstract and artsy for a commercial campaign. For example, I always use super close-up and detailed shots, but in a campaign we need to mind the entire production as well.

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Thankfully, it turned out perfect, and we were able to strike a balance. They loved my close-ups and the team even built me a pool, allowing me to dip the dresses into the water, and I got my favourite shot in this setting. The people I worked with were amazing. Fabien Baron, the art director, is very straight-shooting as I am. If he hates something, he will just voice it, and he knows what he wants, and has the highest standard. Dior took really good care of me as well, and really respected my feelings and creative freedom, and gave me a sense of confidence. We had the best in every industry, like Guido Palau for hair, Peter Philips for makeup and also the lighting and digital teams—this production showed me what it’s like to perform at the highest level.

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In what way do you feel Hong Kong can improve when it comes to supporting its local artists?

There’s a lack of resources and respect for artists. I was often asked to work on many unpaid jobs and exhibitions, some even asking me to pay for the costs as well. It is ridiculous. It makes me feel like an artist’s time and labour don’t mean anything.

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What are you working on now?

My second photo book is coming up and I’m currently enjoying my time as a student at Central Saint Martins in London as I develop my creative skills. 

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