Photographer, Yixun Sun

Spotlight / Creative Spotlight
Richard Newstead
Jul 23, 2019
Fun, colorful, concise and conceptual are just a few words that come to mind when viewing Yixun Sun’s work (MirageC). With a natural eye for composition and space, his still life works come alive as exciting images that our creative team and customers love!
[Richard Newstead]: Could you tell me a bit about your background?
[Yixun Sun]: I was born and live in Qingdao, a coastal city in China with a green environment and beautiful skyline. In the summer of 2008, I received a DSLR camera from my father as a gift for getting into university which was exciting as I had only used mobile phones to take photos before. I was an IT‑related major in university and during that time, I spent a lot of time exploring the city with my camera and uploading pictures online to share with friends.

[RN]:  How did you get started submitting to Getty Images?
[YS]:  I used to share a lot of my work on Flickr. I got an invitation to submit to Getty Images through Flickr 8 or 9 years ago, but I didn’t take it up right away.  At the time, my friend who loves photography as much as me, exclaimed, "Wow, your photos have been selected into the world's first‑class photo agency!" That's quite a good memory for me. In the years that followed, I was obsessed with photographing the city scenery and publishing them to Getty Images. But one day I started to realize that in cityscape photography, I might merely be a recorder. Moreover, as time goes by, the work inevitably becomes homogeneous. In my heart, I wanted to do something more interesting and creative, so I turned to still life and conceptual photography. With studio lights and props, I can arrange everything by myself.
[RN]:  How do you get the ideas for the images you produce? They are so simple but so clever!
[YS]:  I am used to following overall news of the world through network information and magazine subscription. For example, from the annual reports of various trades and industries, I can get many social hot spots and shooting topics, while through some fashion or art magazines, I can sum up the current popular color trend, which is a process of accumulation. I combine all these elements in my brain to bring a shoot idea together. As you said, many of my works are really concise. I want to express specific concepts in a simple way and leave space in the frame to give customers flexibility in how they use it. Recently I have started to add more elements as well to deliver more complicated concepts.
[RN]: We love your still life work! Do you make and find the props yourself?
[YS]: My props come from local craft shops, markets and online. Many of them can be used as they are, while some others need to be altered.  If that’s the case I will use some sort of processing equipment, like a laser cutting machine or a basic handicraft manufacturing device. Being a still life photographer teaches me a lot beyond photography.

[RN]: Do you have a favorite image?
[YS]:  My favorite work is this group of recombined flowers. At first, I planned to simply shoot some flowers against a black background. The more flowers I shot, the more I thought that it will be better if the flowers could be combined with all their different colors and shapes. I used Photoshop to combine them layer by layer using masks of various shapes to create these different forms. As I experimented with this the work became dreamier and more gorgeous.
[RN]:  You have an amazing eye for color. Is this something that comes to you naturally or do you have a background in art/design?
[YS]:  I didn’t major in art and design, but I read some books about art and design in learning photography, which has been a huge influence on my color perception. At the beginning of my still life photography career, I really needed to make huge efforts to get the desired color scheme which becomes easier as time goes by.

[RN]:  What’s your favorite App?
[YS]:  For an individual photographer like me the online note App like Evernote is indispensable. It allows me to record inspiration, plan projects, print shooting lists in one same place, which is fairly efficient and convenient.

[RS]:  Who’s your favorite photographer?
[YS]:  Jess Bonham and Mitchell Feinberg are my two favorite photographers.
Jess Bonham's works are playful and imaginative. Some of her abstract still life photography works are beautifully designed and highly conceptual. Mitchell Feinberg's works give people a visual surprise with first‑class studio light control and post‑processing.
Photographer, Jasmin Merdan