Working both as an editorial and commercial photographer, Wang Wei's a free spirit himself, and he desires to capture everyone else's young, independent souls through his camera. This portraiture series reflects on the desires of the youth in their salad days.
Wei's first encounter with film photography started when his father's friend gave him a few dozens of film rolls, making him look for an old film camera at home. Simply, it was love at first sight for Wei. Wei became more fully concentrated with photography, especially when he started using a point-and-shoot camera, easing up his routine.
Soon after, the series Young Wild and Free began. Named after Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa's collaboration in 2011, Wei firstly thought the meaning of youth was all about the recklessness and no-care-for-consequences attitude. Eventually, he reevaluated its meaning for him. He said:
“I used to think being young means being rebellious, being crazy, being happy, living in the moment, partying all night, doing something audacious… but now I think being young means being yourself fearlessly, following your heart fearlessly.”
It's easy to see the themes being laid out in Wei's photography. His subjects either pose or engage in actions that depict liberation of the soul as if they're being released from the bonds of societal expectations and pressure. Wei simply expresses himself through the camera, his awareness of his desires enabling him to execute his ideas beautifully and seamlessly. The palette is vivid, somewhat in-between spring and summer, a mesh of newness and excitement. However, Wei believes the youth today are more imprisoned than 'free':
“I think most young people around me desire Freedom, and that’s why I created Young Wild and Free. I think most young people are not free or open enough in their heart. The Internet brings us the delusion of freedom, I think, that everyone seems like living in the informatized emptiness. Some seem to be impassioned on the internet, in reality, they are more indifferent and less enthusiastic. The freedom” I want to deliver in my work, not just literally, but also more positive.”
Young, Wild and Free is a story still being written, according to Wei. What will come next is ambiguous and uncertain, but it's all the more reason to look forward to the growth of this series. For now, he's planning on creating a new series about young people in a cinematic way, focusing on the story and the environment of the photographs.