The Malaysian photographer strikes our senses with images that are both mysterious and provocative, sensual and disturbing, opening up new dimensions.
Flowers protruding from faces, bodies wrapped in fabric, prickly red lips, eyelashes as long as hair, silhouettes lost in misty water… Welcome to Zhong Lin’s strange, disturbing, and fascinating worlds. Her work reflects the diversity of her heritage. The photographer is originally from Malaysia, known for its multi-racial and multi-cultural identity. She grew up with parents who speak Chinese, English, and Malaysian. She was bottle-fed Hollywood movies, Japanese animation, and manga, Indian music and Malaysian food. And she was also nourished by Chinese opera, playing with powdered faces and theatrical poses.
“People usually put themselves in a certain category, to be in something, but that’s not what I see,” she says. It was while developing black and white film during her university years that she discovered the potential of photography to “create new worlds.” In just a few years, Zhong Lin has built up an unusual, eclectic and striking portfolio. Each of her pictures questions the senses. Some are saturated in deep red, others are characterized by texture and movement, but all involve the integration of a natural element, such as flowers, insects, animals, or fruit.
Poetic and fantastic imprint
Her surreal and cinematic compositions, shrouded in vibrant colors, are overwhelming, even “synesthetic,” as Vogue Italia put it, perfectly evoking her idiosyncratic visual language. At the time of the pandemic, Zhong Lin achieved a tour de force with “Project 365,” which consisted of taking a photograph every day for a year. A journey of self-discovery, creating a sensitive and transcendent experience. Her work on the theme of water, source of life and death, of fear and well-being, in confrontation with the body, still fascinates with all that it conveys of diverse feelings. Between enigmatic, sensual, and mystical visions, Zhong Lin crystallizes her style and our attention. No wonder her work has quickly attracted the attention of magazines (Harper’s Bazaar, Dazed, Vogue), brands (Mugler x Wolford, Nike, SK-II), and stars (Nicole Kidman, Lou Doillon). She was listed as one of the British Fashion Council’s New Wave: Creatives 2021 and a #BoF500 member of Business of Fashion 2022. Between personal projects and commissions, she makes no distinction; what she wants is to remain free to create possible worlds.