Greta Tu is one of the youngest photographers in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her photography has become an underground work of art, filtering between light and dark, black and white, but it is ethereal, with a documentary eye. It’s hard to pinpoint her into any genre, but that’s what makes Greta someone to watch out for; limitations and categories are set by the mind, yet Greta has found a way to break the barrier.
ZOUCH: Do you view the beauty of photography to be in the eye of the beholder, or do you like to wait for that lucky shot?
GRETA: Every single photographer has an extremely different view of photography—personally, I rarely depend on luck. Some photographers carry their cameras with them at all times, and simply shoot when they find something interesting or inspiring. I do that on journeys, and in that case, luck is a significant factor. Besides that, I always plan a lot. I love researching, making lists, gathering inspiring pictures and so on. I usually have a handwritten list of ideas when starting a shoot. Sometimes it helps me, but at other times it limits my process because I have a clear idea of what I want to obtain and therefore become blind to spontaneous ideas.
ZOUCH: How do you come up with the idea of a collection or series? Do you take the time out and make sure you follow exactly what you want to achieve or do you tend to see how the images roll out?
GRETA: Usually an object, a face, an idea, or an atmosphere inspires me. Only afterwards do I start thinking about how it could be carried out. I consider everything from model and location to props and post-processing. When I have the basic things in place, I try to be more spontaneous and not follow my original ideas exactly. Sometimes things just don’t work the way you want them to. I think it is really important to be honest if something is not turning out the way you had imagined. When I go along with something that I am not that content about, (naturally this has happened several times) it is usually heavily reflected in the final result. It is quite easy to do though, especially when you are a new photographer—you are not that confident yet, and don’t want to disappoint people by telling them it is not working out. However, you are doing yourself and the model a huge favour by being honest. I always try to keep this in mind when shooting.
ZOUCH: You have been able to travel and take your photography to the next level. How does traveling change your perspective through the lens? Would you say that you become more documentary?
GRETA: Yes, it definitely does. You get used to incorporating and working with the location, which can really add an extra dimension to a shoot. Also, I am more aware of trying to achieve an overall view of the shoot, and not just separate details. Lately I have found documentary photography to be most interesting. I feel that shoots where the main goals are aesthetics and beauty are lacking a major aspect. Currently I am not too inspired to do that kind of work—I hope to do something a little different the next few months.
ZOUCH: How do you feel that your work has grown?
GRETA: I think my interest in photography started when I received a point-and-shoot camera at the age of eleven. I could spend days after days photographing seashells by the window. Well, I have to admit, luckily a few things have happened since then… I remember having my first photo shoot with a model and make-up artist at the age of thirteen. When I look back it seems so early, however it felt completely natural at that point of time. My work has definitely grown a lot; I have become more confident concerning my photographic style, my view on aesthetics and most importantly, myself—that is a completely natural part of growing older, though. I have started to prioritize how I spend my time to make the most of it. In terms of my photography a few things has changed, however it does not really feel that way. It has gone from being almost only shooting friends and family, to shooting people with some modeling experience. My number of followers on social media has gone from a two-digit number to a four-digit number. Besides these things I would not really say anything has changed—I still have the same passion and eagerness about photography, and likewise it still makes me genuinely happy.
ZOUCH: What do you think may be on the horizon for you work? Do you feel that you may be focusing on a certain direction?
GRETA: I have to admit that I have absolutely no idea. Concerning photography, I have always done what felt right during that point in time. I have simply done what felt completely natural and never had any second thoughts about my work. I have been a little more reflective about it lately, and I am probably going to change course a bit. I am still really eager about photography, but not in the same ways as before. My main goal in the future will be to create work that I can honestly be proud of myself.