Former architect snaps fleeting moments

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To freeze the moment when it is already in front your eyes, and will suddenly disappear and will never be repeated again. To feel that certain time when your hand needs to push the button and the camera does its work. Vivien Liu who was working as an architect, decided to fill her life with another activity, and this is where photography appeared in her life and has already made a big impact to it. Meet the photographer whose works will take You to a whole new world.


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Originally from Hong Kong, I’m an architect that studied in both the United States and Canada. After spending over 10 years in North America, I retuned to Hong Kong five years ago to practice architecture full time.

 How did your career start, and was it always photography centered?

As an architect, I worked long hours. 120 hour weeks were not uncommon, and I wanted to find a distraction. I took up photography and my life changed – it gave me a means to express myself that was never made available to me before, even in architecture.

How would you describe your style?

When I first started taking photos, I was shooting what I did in my day job – architecture. Gradually I realized that it was not the subject that’s important. What I was interested in was the ability for photography to move people; the power to provoke a certain emotion and visceral reaction. Nowadays, I still shoot architecture but my subjects are diverse - from buildings to landscapes to portraits - as long as I feel it would be capable of moving the viewer. So I would say I have no particular style, but my photos always try to be emotional.

What sort of work do you specialize in?

Clients that approach me are usually interested in my exploration of the city, and therefore the work that I specialize in has a lot to do with urban photography. Hong Kong never fails to amaze with its extreme urban density, and there are plenty of opportunities to take shots that are full of complexity and energy. You can fit in so much in just one frame.

 Can you briefly describe for the readers your photographic process?

I’m not a full time photographer, so I only shoot during the weekends when I don’t need to be in the office. For me, photography is an escape from the routines of my daily life, so I always take it easy when I have free time to shoot. I never have a particular agenda at the beginning of the day – my main purpose is to capture natural moments of life while I aimlessly walk through the city.

What gives you ideas and inspires you to create such images?

There are three things that inspire me - the work of others who I find are passionate about what they do, particularly those who I can relate my personal artistic values to. Second is the beauty and power of nature, and the third is the identity, or essence, of a particular city or place. This may include traditional culture, the people, the colors and textures, or even the sounds and scents – I try to bring out all these elements that define the character of a place in my photos.

What has been your most memorable assignment? Can you describe its creation in regards to location, lighting, composition, thoughts when photographing the image, what it means to you?

My most memorable assignment was related to shooting for the tourism board in Hong Kong –while there may not be any particulars about composition, lighting and location, it was meaningful for me because it was an honor to contribute to bringing more people to visit and appreciate Hong Kong.


What project are you working on now? Tell us a little bit about the concept.

I shoot for myself most of the times, so I don’t really have any ongoing projects. One assignment for myself though – never lose the desire to take better photos.

What advice do you have for somebody who wants to pursue photography?

Remember that a photograph is a capture of a fleeting moment that will never happen exactly as it is again – be ready to capture these moments. Always keep an eye out for things that catch your attention, and always have your camera ready. You never know what you will get!


3 words that would describe your work?

Contrasting, energetic and moody



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