Interview with Jessica Xie

Jessica Xie, a student at Parsons The New School for Design, was the brilliant photographer behind Elly Clay’s Fall/Winter campaign that took place this past spring. Read our interview with Xie below and checkout some of her fabulous photos!


Tell us a bit about your background and what sparked your interest in photography?

I was born and raised in the city. I still live Lower Manhattan with my family. My interest in photography started when I was about 14 years old. I don’t know if this is usually how it starts off for most people but I started with self-portraits. They weren’t any good but I began teaching myself that way. I was interested in what the camera can do fundamentally and I think when I was about to graduate high school, I decided I wanted to pursue photography as a profession. Here I am now, currently a third-year photo student at Parsons The New School for Design. 

What do you feel is the most challenging thing about photographing fashion?

Funny you ask because this is actually my first fashion based shoot. Prior to college, I wanted to be a fashion photographer but I knew little about photography. When I started Parsons, I learned so much from my teachers and peers and opened up my mind to the medium. I no longer want to shoot fashion as a career although, I still appreciate it and respect it. This is something I like to do more of on the side because I want to get better at it. 

What is one last impression you want to leave in your photos?

Basing this question on my personal work, I would have to say that I want others to keep an open mind and to always appreciate those closest to you.

What brands could you see yourself working with in the future?

This is a hard question. I cannot say any specific brand for sure but I definitely want to pursue advertising/commercial/editorial and fine art work. Let’s see what the future holds.

Your photos always come out amazing! What camera and lenses do you use? Do you mainly shoot with natural light or flash?

Aw, thank you. That means a lot. I don’t use digital that much, only for studio work but recently I started shooting medium format film in the studio. I shoot with my medium format (6×7) Pentax film camera with a 105mm portrait lens and a 55mm wide-angle lens. Natural light and flash, I shoot both a lot. I would have to say more natural in my years of shooting though.

What is the best advice you have received so far about photography?

I wrote this on my blog once: “I met photographer, Vincent Dixon, at my company’s party and had a great chat with him. He gave me a piece of very valuable advice: ‘Photograph what you know. Photograph the things closest to you because it’s that, that makes your work truly unique. What you can see, others can’t.'” That’s probably the best advice I’ve ever received.

Self-portrait, Jessica Xie. See some of her select works at!

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