—story by Nina Clevinger / all photos by Liz Fang
Life is often defined by what we choose to do with it—especially when it comes to the choice of a personal career. We're often swayed to go one of two ways—creative versus economically or socially practical—but like the other factors of life, nothing is ever truly just black or just white.
Liz Fang is a Chicago-based fashion photographer in medical school. She may not have drawn her two career choices out of a hat, but they are so completely and utterly different that it sure as hell seems that way sometimes. The coolest thing about Liz is that she is absolutely and equally in love with both.
“It’s a tough balance, but I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Fang said. “Both medicine and photography give me so much joy in life. This is probably the happiest I have ever been.”
Fang sacrifices her time and dedicates it all completely to shooting and school. She says she doesn’t really go out, and she’s mainly always studying. This doesn’t mean Liz is a loner, or antisocial—she has a significant other and an incredible group of friends. It means Liz Fang is a total badass. She’s on her way to becoming a certified doctor and still finds the time to curate and produce some of the most beautiful, bright and bold photoshoots being seen right now.
“The photographs I create reflect what’s going on inside of my head, which is generally a constant explosion of colors and energy,” Fang said. “I get inspiration now from very simple things; such as a certain shade of pink, or a skirt I see someone wearing on the street.”
Fang’s explosion of colors is well received and highly adored from coast-to-coast. Because of this, Liz gets to travel across the country to do what she loves. It’s not always fun and games, however. Fang recalls a bit of a brutal experience in Los Angeles. So brutal, in fact, she said it goes down as her least favorite shoot of all time.
A stylist she was supposed to be working with never actually showed up to the shoot, and instead left a pile of clothes on a dirty floor in the studio. The clothes didn’t fit the concept, and Fang said there was even someone’s dirty thong in the mix.
Most of the time, thankfully, photoshoots aren’t that awful. Liz is all about being happy and having fun, and that shows when she’s on set. She makes the environment comfortable for the people she is working with, and always shares ideas and asks for other opinions. Fang aims to make shooting an enjoyable experience for all of those involved, and it shows in her work.
"I chose photography because I thought it might be a fun way to preserve my memories,” Fang said. "Gradually though, it has become part of my identity, so I guess in that sense, photography chose me.”
The ability to intertwine photography into her identity and life is one of Liz’s strong suits. She uses her photos to tell others how she feels, whether it is about something personal or something political. Fang is a huge fan of using her art to tell a message, and has been doing just that now more than ever.
"The events of this past year have made me very angry,” Fang said. "I use my photography as a platform to give less privileged individuals a voice.”
Standing up for what she believes is right is equally as vital to Fang's work as is creating images that inspire. Once she finishes up med school this year she plans to shoot for and be published in more fashion publicaations as well as land a backstage pass to Fashion Week.
Keep up with Fang's work and upcoming shows by following her on Instagram at @lili_fang.