“I want to rediscover what it means to start from nothing. No limits, no boundaries and no definition,” says Zhong Lin, the brilliant artist capturing portraits.
Zhong Lin pledged to take a portrait a day for 365 days. Calling it the “365 challenge,” at first she struggled maintaining focus and creative inspiration. Something we can all relate to at some point or another.
But Lin found focus and inspiration in spontaneity. And, shooting around Taiwan in South Asia, she was able to capture beautiful portraits of people without worrying as much about the coronavirus, as the country did a brilliant job mitigating its spread.
“Every visual starts from a blank page. I have learnt that there is no right or wrong in creativity and with this vision I invite you to take on this journey with me to title what is yet to be named.”Zhong Lin
A portrait captured a day – the Zhong Lin way
Zhong Lin’s work has been celebrated in Vogue China, Harpers Bazaar China, and many more publications. She was born in Malaysia, though as mentioned before, traveled around the area of Taiwan capturing portraits in 2020.
Her project is still ongoing, as from the day she began, 365 days is not yet up. It also just so happened that, despite the immense difficulties the pandemic presented and the severe loss felt, it gave her a chance to look around and reflect.
“The breakout of COVID-19 happened to give me a pause and an opportunity to start this project.”Zhong Lin
As of January 19, 2021, Lin has captured 272 portraits, the most recent being this delightfully enigmatic close-up.
The art of capturing portraits
Zhong Lin is a self-taught photographer, which should provide the most novice (and aspirational) creatives to follow, and teach themselves whatever they want to do.
Each of Lin’s images are distinctly unique, which of course is no simple feat with 272 completed (and more to come). They are dreamy, like they all exist within an ethereal plane.
And capturing portraits is not an easy feat itself either. One has to make their subject feel comfortable, giving instructions, but not too many as to bother.
Another important aspect of Lin’s work, and for all portrait photographers, is to let the creation come to them. Don’t force it.
“In the beginning, I just wanted to create beautiful things without boundaries, with different people and talents I meet at work or in life… and to share my visions with the world.”Zhong Lin
Portrait photography in South Asia
When Lin found herself stuck in Taiwan at the onset of the pandemic, she started conceptualizing the project.
“Daily life here hasn’t been impacted much by the virus,” Zhong told CNN in an interview this past September.
“In Taiwan, people still get to walk outside, travel domestically and go about life normally, though with more caution.”Zhong Lin
We follow Zhong Lin’s portraits with giddy anticipation. She, truly, is an inspiration to creatives seeking to start something new. Creatives looking for reinvigoration. Any of us looking for how to create in isolated times.
Asked where the inspiration for this project came from, Zhong Lin had something to say that we should all listen to.
“I’d been thinking it’d be so cool to work with these people creating something that’s free from limits; just create to create.”Zhong Lin