Florida opened the eyes of Katia Luu to the world of visual arts and videography. Originally from Annville—a small town located in Pennsylvania—the content creator has found a place where she can turn her artistic expression into a career.
A versatile individual capable of both still imagery and video amongst other short-form content, Katia has an eye for capturing perfect moments. Her understanding of the rapid-paced settings of various festivals, concerts, and behind-the-scenes has helped the photographer create a strong visual identity through her lens. “I think 2019 was a foundational year for me—I sort of found my style and discovered what it was exactly that I enjoyed capturing as a visual artist that year,” she shares. Trippie Redd, Rubi Rose, Post Malone, and A$AP Rocky are amongst the several names to step in front of Luu’s lens.
In the latest installment of Behind The Lens, we chat with Katia Luu about how she got involved with photography, her views on tangible art, and future projects. Read on for our interview.
How did your interest in visual art blossom? When did you realize that this is what you want to do for your career?
I’m from a very small, rural town in Pennsylvania where creative careers aren’t the norm. I’ve always been interested in anything involving cameras but I didn’t fully dive into my interest in visual art until I moved to Florida. It wasn’t until around my freshman or sophomore year of college that I started taking photography and videography more seriously. At first, it was just a hobby, but after a few months of doing it for fun, I soon realized that I could make a career out of it.
Having the pleasure of shooting names like Lil Uzi Vert, Rod Wave, and Kanye West to name a few, how would you describe your photography style?
Although I am still trying to find and hone in on my specific style as a photographer, I would describe my work as being candid and authentic since a lot of my photos are taken on-the-fly or at concerts.
In an increasingly digital world, how do you develop an appreciation for all things tactile—from film photography to print and so forth?
I feel like tangible forms of art are really refreshing in such a digital age. Sometimes it’s nice to have something that you can actually hold in your hands, which is why I love flipping through photo books or having physical prints. I didn’t really decorate the last place I lived in, but I just moved into a new apartment and I plan to hang up a lot of photos and artwork this time!
When taking a photo, how do you try to capture the overall emotion, mood, and tone all in a still frame?
I try to capture facial expressions – whether that be an artist smiling looking out at the crowd or screaming mid-song. Or I try to capture something about the environment that can relay emotion such as pyro or fireworks going off on stage or rain during a performance.
Who have been some of your favorite subjects to capture and why?
I love Rubi Rose’s energy in front of the camera! From the way she carries herself to the confidence that she exudes, she is definitely a dope person to photograph. I also really enjoyed shooting Post Malone at Rolling Loud Miami this past year. When I was going through my photos of him, I noticed he was smiling in almost all of them! He seems like a really genuine person and I think that shows through in any pictures of him.
Looking back at your portfolio, especially throughout 2019, what are some experiences that shaped your artistry today?
I think 2019 was a foundational year for me—I sort of found my style and discovered what it was exactly that I enjoyed capturing as a visual artist that year. That February I shot one of my first big music festivals, iii Points in Miami and that’s when I knew I loved capturing live music. Then for the rest of the year, I continued shooting in the music scene and working more festivals.
What are some projects or shoots you’d like to do in the future?
Most of my work at the moment consists of impromptu portraits and concert photography. This year though, I would actually like to focus on doing more creative, editorial-type, planned-out photoshoots. I’ve always been interested in delving into fashion photography, so I definitely plan on doing that in 2022.
At some point in the future, I would also like to release a photobook specifically full of pictures of abandoned places. I’ve always had a fascination with discovering abandoned places, and I want to start documenting my explorations and turn them into art!
Elsewhere in photography, check out our interview with Los Angeles lensman Ben Pham!