Paul Phung has been trying to finish the second part of his university project Black Magic for the last four months now but keeps getting interrupted by commissions from designers and brands who have been captivated by his experimental smoke-filled images. Having already collaborated with Harvery Nichols and Elena Gallen’s Sacred Gallery, the 23-year-old Leeds University graduate looks set to never finish the project. ‘Every time I get the chance to plan some shoots my commissions make me stop,” he laughs.
Phung fell into photography after dropping out of a graphic design course. His friends persuaded him to sign up to a local photography course and he agreed though a lack of having anything else to do. “It ended up just me actually taking up the course and my friends bailing out on me,” Phung says. “ I went onto study photography at uni in Leeds and it wasn’t until the end of second year really when I actually knew I wanted to be a photographer and became quite obsessive with the subject.”
Dazed Digital has described Phung as a young Ryan McGinley in the making, possibly because his everyday snapshot diaries are as visually arresting as his high-concept atmospheric shots. “I believe, like with most photographers, my work is just a reflection of my personality,” he says. “Most shoots I do, there are forms of preparation and understanding the brief but I like to enter my shoots with quite an open mind and go with whatever mood I am in that day.”
Phung has just shot a video for Alexandra Groover, which will be shown during London Fashion Week.