Bobby Vu is a Los Angeles-based director and photographer who shares his passion for both photography and filmmaking. He became well-known for his short films and it’s no wonder his photographs remind us of those magical movie scenes from the 80’s. In this interview, Bobby reveals what his day looks like when he is not working and speaks of what motivates him to continually make beautiful work.
Hey Bobby! What is a day in the life of a professional photographer like? What are you currently working on?
I can’t say much for other photographers because whenever I talk to another photographer, they all seem to be doing something different. For me, I’m always browse through Vogue Italia’s website to see the work they love and learn from it. I rarely look at a particular photographer’s work so I’m horrible with names. But from the refernces I go through, it gives me ideas on how to set the mood and lighting for my shots. I’m currently working on setting up shoots in Europe and also shooting a short film there as well!’
Beside being a successful photographer, you are also a director. Do you have the same creative process when it comes to making films and taking photos?
Yes I do! Filmmaking is my passion, if my photography didn’t compliment it, then they would be no point for me to take photos. I direct my models like I direct my actors. Number 1 rule is to have rapport and comfort, then I set up the model’s mindset with a little backstory and give very simple directions after that.
What is it that drives you to take photos each day and do this job?
Honestly, I felt like I’ve lost a lot of time in my life to be where I want to be as an artist. They say that you shouldn’t compare yourself to others but for me, seeing the success of other artists drives my ambition to work very hard. I was told that if you aren’t working on your craft full time, somebody else in the world is. Instead of blocking negative emotions, you can convert them and steer that energy on a different path to better yourself.
I understand you are currently based in LA. What do you love the most about this city?
This city is so mysterious! They’re so many things going on but it’s usually not out in the open so they’re always something new to discover.
How do you spend your days when you are not working or planning another photo shoot? Could you imagine yourself doing any other job then the one you are doing now?
If I’m not shooting, you’ll usually find me watching movies or eating out. I also like to play video games as well. However, I play my games like I watch my movies, once I finish one, get the story, I move on to the next. If I wasn’t a creative person, I think I would be a psychologist because I’m always interested in human behaviors.
Your work is quite diverse, it seems you manage to capture everything you imagine. Where do you find the inspiration?
I mostly find my inspirations from movies, classic photographs, and 16th century European paintings. What worked hundreds of years ago and still applies today means something.
What kind of camera equipment do you use now? What would you recommend to other photographers out there?
I use a Nikon D750 for my photos. Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera for movies. My main lens are my Sigma Art Lens set. 35mm 1.4, 50mm 1.4, and 18-35 1.8.
Can we expect some new exciting projects from you in the future?
I’m always up to something. I’m currently working on a shoot in every city I visit in Europe this year and hopefully come home with a short film! Stay tuned!