Primary colours and meticulous compositions define Hugo Yu’s photography

Hugo Yu has dabbled in musical theatre and, at the other end of the spectrum, business studies. Not finding his “passion” in either pursuit, Hugo wound up feeling “lost” and without a sense of purpose. It was only when a friend pointed out to him that he seemed to have an innate capacity for taking photos that Hugo began to consider the possibility of turning something that had always been a casual hobby into a dedicated career and creative focus.

With a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York, Hugo already has a clearly formed conception of his work’s visual identity. His employment of high-saturation primary colours and his acute attention to form and composition – whether shooting spontaneously in the street or crafting shots in the studio – display his commitment to honing his distinctive aesthetic. This is influenced, he says, by photographers such as William Eggleston, whose work turns the everyday into the remarkable.

The visual, formal and chromatic consistency in Hugo’s body of work is such that we can imagine coming across one of his photographs in a book or gallery and saying immediately: “Ah, yes – that’s a Hugo Yu.” This is not to say that Hugo’s photography is without variety; his range of subjects is broad and diverse. Whether it’s a still life of a yellow banana with a red balloon, a meticulously balanced sculptural work that makes use of the shadows cast by an egg, a roll of masking tape and a clothes peg, or a figurative street shot, full of human emotion, Hugo’s photographs are singularly beautiful and collectively astounding.

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