Chayodu with Urangoo Ider
Inclusive and exclusive Mongolian photographer

Chayodu is a Mongolian photographer working for the most famous Mongolian fashion design brands. But also stacking personal projects. If you follow Hypechase, you must have noticed numerous articles mentioning her name. It’s because her work is everywhere from edgy cultural projects to big cashmere companies! The time came to finally exchange a few words with this hyperactive and dreamlike empowered woman. 

The work of Chayodu distinguishes from others. She perfectly embellishes human beauty where easy critics or stereotypes are made: disability, homosexuality, transgender and other minorities to name a few. The limits between unacceptable for some and love of kin for others become blurry. Stereotypes get choked. Then everybody agreed that after all: humans are all beautiful.

Picture from Mongolia
Mongolian picture

When did you start working as a photographer?

I studied graphic design and was not into photography that much. Our professors suggested we should learn more about photography and video making. Then I went to an ‘’Instameet’’ meeting and saw beautiful photos from various photographers. I started taking pictures on my phone and eventually bought my own camera. After graduating, I decided to pursue photography over graphic design and I joined the “Bidnii tsuuhun Mongolchuud’’ project as a photographer.

Inclusive Mongolian photographer

What makes your photos special and different?

Lots of qualities make a photo pop. I am not an action photographer. I come up with different ideas that can be expressed in colours, models, shapes etc. When I worked on a project, I learned about visual language. If a photographer is an action photographer,  then the action’s image and photographer’s method determine the style. For “Bidnii tsuuhun Mongolchuud’’ I took photos of nature, children, people and all kinds of things. My photos and my visual language are ‘’human shaped’’. I take photos that show different shapes and try to create more visual scenes.

Singer Uka and Chayodu

From where do you draw your inspiration?

There are many things that I take inspiration from, and they change constantly. When I first started I was inspired by different photos. Then when I was traveling a lot in the countryside, I took inspiration from nature, people, and even dormitory walls. Now that photography is my work and not just a hobby, I have been seeking new hobbies for inspiration. For example now I am doing pottery. The pottery shapes and the people I meet inspire me. So it is constantly changing.

Chayodu mongolian photographer

Which brands did you work with?

Gobi Cashmere (article here), Michel&Amazonka, Urangoo Ider, Rinchin Yesui, Mobicom, Toyota etc. I worked with a Korean company called SVS, which is a design company that travels around the world to find inspiration and designs for their clothes. I worked with them when they traveled in Mongolia. I also worked with vintage clothes sellers in Moscow.

The photoshoot was not fashion photography, it was more like a documentary, which gave me new feelings and impressions. Also, I worked with the South Mongolian brand ‘’Mongol Wuvnen’’. They make traditional Mongolian hero-style streetwear.

What are your thoughts about young Mongolian photographers?

I think they are very good. They are trying to develop themselves and trying new things. But there are very few, almost no photographers nowadays, that take photography as an art form. I myself got into more commercial photography to earn money. Before me, there were few photographers who pursued photography as an art.

Now, it is mostly commercial or fashion. Once you get into commercial photography it is hard to get back to a creative mindset. So, it would be good if new photographers took some time to explore their art and develop creativity.

Who is your favourite photographer?

There are many, for example, Agnuush (article about her), Tamir Bayarsaikhan who takes very melodic nature photos which I like very much. Also, Injinaash but he has not been active recently.

Chayodu artwork

You work with new designers and brands; what are your thoughts and impressions about them?

When I was younger, in my early twenties, I was really attracted to clothes that had interesting shapes and colours. Basically I really liked outfits that looked good. But now I realize it is not just about how it looks. It is a whole philosophy from choice of fabrics, fittings, and how it makes the customer feel.

I think some of the young designers are probably at that stage of only concentrating on how their clothes look. I try to support Mongolian local brands and have the mindset: “they are on our side.” Their clothes look very fashionable, but unfortunately, their quality is not very high.

For example, there are many streetwear brands whose hoodies and t-shirts look very similar and I think they should be different from each other quality-wise. So, I am really looking for quality now and sometimes it makes it hard to choose clothes to wear because of their qualities.

What are your favourite Mongolian brands?

There are many fashionable brands that I can name, such as Michel&Amazonka etc. But quality and value wise I respect Urangoo Ider as she is very environmentally conscious and her clothes have good quality that can last years. Her clothes seem soulful and I hope there will be similar brands in the future.

Follow Chayodu: Instagram, Facebook

Interview by: Adrien de Ville

Review: Gregory Greif

Translation: Oyu Sukhbaatar

Chayodu picture

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