Top Belgian photographer Filip Naudts transforms author/artist Julie O’yang into albino

Filip Naudts is currently working with Europe-based Chinese writer/artist Julie O’Yang on a phiction – a photo-novel which will be published by an international publisher of art books in Singapore. The intellectual centipede Julie O’Yang is Dutch with Chinese roots. She has lived in England and the Netherlands and stays in Denmark at present. For the cover shoot, Filip invited her over and her entire transformation took place at De Cliént in  Lochristi close to his Flemish studio. Nieuwsblad reports.

>>You can read original Dutch language publication here <<

Naudts and O’Yang met each other in 2008 during Antwerp Book Fair, at which occasion Julie held a book burning ritual to launch her new novel China Noir. “Ladies and gentlemen, dear arsonists, this burning is a memorial (rooted in the ancient Chinese tradition, J Oy) to those who have died for a free and modern China,” she spoke to the audience. “Now they have something to read in the heaven.”

Filip first contacted Julie back then. He was considering to take his daughter Yang who was born in 2005 and adopted by him and his wife in 2006 on a journey to look for her roots. Filip: “I was trying to find good advice and was convinced that Julie could help me. Out of our first contact an idea grew to make a documentary film together about our searching and all. We still want to make this project real at a certain point. In the meanwhile, creative chemistry is boiling and I’m also making other plans with Julie.”


Filip Naudts: paparazzo series (c)2015 Guarda La Fotografia

Julie: “On 25 May I received an email from Filip. He asked me whether I was interested in making a photo-novel together. I know Filip’s work quite well. I sat down at my desk immediately to concoct an idea. I wanted to invent a fictional character with strong references to art history, but also I must speak to the urgent, contemporary issues. The story is set in an unknown time in the future, on an unknown planet where people are shadows of themselves. I will be a future dictator, there and then. The story is also a homage to Oscar Wilde’s philosophical novel the Picture of Dorian Gray and yes, there is going to be a murder or double murder on that alien planet.” O’Yang is particularly interested to find out how Word and Image work against each other or embrace each other. “This is a hot subject. Our story is a relevant Romance Noir, but more explosive. Speaking of creative chemistry.”

According to the current plan, the book will be launched in the summer of 2017 and there will also be a travelling exhibition.

To complete Julie’s transformation for the cover shoot, Filip made a call on the hair studio De Cliént. Julie was made as pale as possible, but finetuning will be done through PS. Bleaching Julie’s dark hair appeared to be less optimal, Filip wasn’t disspirited either. He knocked on his neighbour’s door, knowing Carine Stevens’ house is filled with dress material for her various cabaret shows, and then Carine dug up a blonde wig at once.

For their second phase shoot in the coming spring, Filip and Julie are looking for a perfect location. A house with atmosphere and authentic details and lots of daylight pouring through many, large windows . If you know such a place or if you are interested to offer yours, please contact: filipnaudts@telenet.be



80 years of Antwerp Book Fair in 8 images: 2016 special



julie 超辣

Determined dreamer. Published author in English, Dutch, and Chinese. Former People’s Liberation Army (PLA) captain turned artist entrepreneur and screenwriter. She survived the Cultural Revolution as a baby. In the 1990’s she left for London and has lived and worked in free exile ever since. Her work covers a wide spectrum. As journalist, she creates content covering a range of topics on contemporary China from an insider perspective. In 2008, during the Beijing Olympics, she hosted a 5-episode talk show TV China for Netherlands’ national broadcaster and discussed China’s media landscape with media stars and experts from both China and the Netherlands. From 2013-2016 she was the Editor-in-Chief of the English/Chinese bilingual magazine XiN 新, focusing on today’s China shaped by consumerism. O’yang contributes a weekly column to Hoje Macau on contemporary Chinese art and culture. Her English language book titles include: Butterfly, a historical crime love story set in the Second World War. Since May 2016 O'yang has been collaborating with Flemish photographer Filip Naudts on an art project, which has resulted in the photo novel The Picture of Dorya Glenn. Julie works from the Netherlands and Denmark.

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1 Comment

  1. Robert Masterson says:

    Kinda glamourous

    Sent from my iPad


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