Gong and I; an interview with Gong Li in Beijing

Gong Li and I met at the Hilton in Paris. I arrived to find the actress and her translator waiting for me, together with hundreds of baby chicks cheeping in the bar – it was Easter and the Hilton had laid this on to celebrate. It was all part of the surreal experience. Gong Li was quite impenetrable at first, but with perseverance we clicked and she opened up about her life in Beijing. My favourite memory of our conversation is of us bonding over shoes. She eschews high heels, only donning them if she has to walk down a red carpet. For the interview she wore grubby converse.It was amazing the way the actress could turn on a pose for the camera.She wasn’t expecting me to photograph her, but she was happy to pose. There was no need to direct her, she just switched on this dreamy, slightly lustful look with a sparkle in her eye. I love this shot, taken in situ, her face offset by the oriental patterning behind her and the pattern on her dress.You can read the full text of my interview and portrait shoot with leading Chinese actress, Gong Li, on the Telegraph website hereĀ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/asia/china/740832/Gong-Li-and-the-city-of-forbidden-pleasures.htmlGong Li at our interview: A scan of the article as it appeared in the Telegraph.