Graduates 2023: Yu-Chen Lee: MA Photography

“Through my experiences, I came to realize the connection between art and life, and how they intertwine to create meaningful experiences. “

Please tell us a bit about your work and your influences.

My artistic practice is rooted in my deep appreciation for the world that surrounds us and my desire to capture the ephemeral moments and subtle nuances that define our existence. Photography, for me, operates as a visual language to convey unspoken emotions and experiences that shape our lives.

In my recent work titled ‘May I Follow the Illuminance to Shine upon You,’ I explore the essence of a foreign land while expressing a longing for home. Through observations and chance encounters, I follow the moonlight, capturing the unfamiliar place I find myself in. Living abroad has permanently altered my perspective, and whenever I feel lost, the moonlight guides me back to my roots and loved ones, allowing me to rediscover myself once again.

I draw inspiration from ancient Chinese poetry, which embraces ambiguity and fuels my imagination—an aspect that I find resonates with the essence of photography. Additionally, I deeply admire the works of Rinko Kawauchi and Masahisa Fukase. Their ability to strike a balance between abstraction and concrete, as well as personal and universal emotions, is truly inspiring.


Can you tell us a bit about your journey to your course and what made you choose it?

I have always been captivated by the mystery and ambiguity of photographs, and I have a strong desire to create images that can deeply engage viewers and convey my beliefs and emotions. To pursue this passion, I did research on master’s degree courses in Art Photography and sought advice from friends who have studied abroad. Upon their recommendation, I chose the MA Photography program at the University of Brighton. The course stood out to me because of its inspiring professors and supportive technicians who have enlightened their students’ photographic journeys. Additionally, being someone who loves the sea, the location of the university further appealed to me.


What were the highlights of the course for you?

Throughout the course, I had the opportunity to experience several highlights that greatly impacted my artistic journey. One significant aspect was learning to trust my instincts and emotions when it came to my work. Coming from an examination-oriented education system in Taiwan, where there is often an emphasis on finding the correct answer, I had to adapt to the understanding that in the realm of art, there is no absolute right or wrong. Instead, it is about personal perception and continuous experimentation. This shift in mindset allowed me to develop a deeper connection with my photography and brought me closer to both the viewers and myself.

Moreover, the course provided me with valuable knowledge in photography and offered useful suggestions through various means such as theoretical courses, one-on-one tutorials, and peer reviews. These opportunities enabled me to refine my work and enhance its impact on the viewers. Additionally, I had the chance to explore numerous hands-on experiences during the course. I tried various analogue techniques that were entirely new to me, further expanding my creative skills.


 Was the location of your course in Brighton important?

The location of my course in Brighton held significant importance for me. Being situated in close proximity to the sea was incredibly soothing and inspiring. Brighton itself is a vibrant and diverse city, filled with numerous galleries and opportunities to connect with artists from various backgrounds. This environment allowed me to explore different art mediums and engage with a wide range of artistic perspectives. Through my experiences, I came to realize the connection between art and life, and how they intertwine to create meaningful experiences.


What are your plans after graduation? What’s next for you?

After graduation, I have two potential plans in mind. Firstly, I would love to embark on a residency, as it would provide me with the opportunity to explore different parts of the world that are beyond my imagination. It would be an incredible experience to encounter new cultures, interact with diverse communities, and expand my artistic horizons. Alternatively, I am also considering returning to my island and continuing my work as a teacher, where I can educate young children while creating artwork that reflects the essence of my homeland. Both paths hold great appeal to me, and I am excited to see which direction my artistic journey takes me.


What advice would you give to someone considering doing postgraduate study?

My advice would be to embrace a mindset of openness and continuous exploration. Don’t limit yourself or set boundaries on what you can achieve. Keep seeking out new possibilities and experiences that make each day of your journey exciting and fulfilling. However, it’s important to acknowledge that postgraduate study can be intense. Therefore, I recommend prioritizing your well-being by maintaining a healthy schedule and making time for activities and interests outside of your studies.


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