Justin Wu has photographed or filmed the likes of The Victoria's Secret Angels, singer-songwriter and fashion designer Uffie, and – perhaps most excitingly as far as we're concerned – River Viiperi. After his latest "Boys and Girls of Paris Fashion Week" video caught our eye, we caught up with the extraordinarily talented creative to find out what it takes to become an industry insider while staying fresh, fun-loving and passionate about fashion.
GLAMOUR: You've said that your work's popularity can be partly attributed to your 'poppy personality' and fun outlook on fashion. Why's pop culture worth celebrating?
Justin: Pop culture to me is a testament to the time that we live in and are a part of. It illustrates globally what the taste of the moment is, but more importantly the values that we stand for. As part of generation Y, I've seen and felt incredible positive change as a result of our pop culture leading to increased tolerance and general global discussion that I feel it's worth celebrating.
We see no reason why you should have to choose, but do you prefer video over photography, or vice versa?
They're both such different methods of storytelling that it is pretty challenging to choose between them from an artistic standpoint. In pictures, it’s always left to the viewer to interpret the fantasy and to imagine the story behind it. In film it gives the director the ability to tell a complete story from beginning to end. However, as film is still relatively new to fashion, it has significant room for growth and a lot of potential for innovation. And with the ease of spreading films through platforms like YouTube to a wider global audience, I'm starting to prefer video more.
Who's the most fun person in the world to work with?
Generally, one who is open-minded, confident, full of creativity and ideas, would be that person. They're the type of people that I cast over and over again and include the likes of Constance Jablonski, Martha Streck, and Adrian Cardoso among a few others.
Which city hosts the world's best fashion week?
'Best' can be interpreted two ways I feel. For sheer excitement and glamour nothing can beat New York. But in terms of aesthetics, I much prefer the sentimentality, heritage and sensibility of the european labels. Without a shadow of doubt, I'd have to choose Paris also for the variety and grandeur of locations they choose to host the shows, from the gardens of Versailles to the Grand Palais. It's breathtakingly inspiring.
You've worked with some of the most beautiful people in the world. Who's one model we should be expecting to see more of?
Constance Jablonski - she's charming, beyond gorgeous, funny and embodies perfection for me. I'm always eager to work with her again.
What's your dream shoot – who would it include and where would it be?
For photos, I would include Jon Kortajarena and Toni Garrn either in the spectacular vistas around Queenstown, New Zealand or the tropics of Brazil. For film, I would love to work with the likes of Ben Whishaw or Natalie Portman in a period piece set in England or Scotland.
Your career journey has been described as 'a whirlwind'. To what do you credit the success you've achieved so far?
I think it's been my continual passion and singular drive to move forward, constantly innovate, and unsettle for mediocrity. I also have to credit my amazingly talented teams, friends and family who have all supported me throughout my journey.
What can we expect from you next?
Looking down the road, I have films in development for L’Oreal Paris as their new signed Trendhunter, music videos for upcoming artists at Universal, ad campaigns, new films for French and Italian Vogue, and many others! Lots of exciting projects coming up!
Do you have any plans to visit South Africa in future?
I would love to! A couple good friends of mine living there have both asked me to repeatedly come and visit them. I'll definitely take them up on their offer and plan to visit sometime early-mid 2013!