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Yolanda Y. Liou

Yolanda Y. Liou

Meet Taiwanese photographer based in London, Yolanda Y. Liou.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a self-taught Taiwanese photographer and moving image maker based in London. My work focuses on transforming flowing moments into frozen memories, and experimentation by utilising available resources and allowing the unpredictability of the analogue process to intervene in the image making. I use digital, analogue and mixed media.

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

I love London. You grow to get used to every little annoying thing and eventually miss them when you’re away – that’s what London does to you, or me anyway. Like when there’s a drizzle of rain; only tourists use umbrellas in London, it’s never heavy enough for me to bother, but then I get soaked without realising it. It’s almost enchanted. London has a spell that injects you with the experience of being alive.

 

I love London. You grow to get used to every little annoying thing and eventually miss them when you’re away – that’s what London does to you, or me anyway.

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?

Highly competitive. (The answer for both)

 

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.
exhilarating, hypnotising, sharp

 

How did you start your career in photography?

My mum gave me a little digital camera when I went backpacking across Europe at the age of 21. I took some snapshots and posted them on Facebook and I got enquires if I took commissions. I realised it could be a way of making a living and I got really into it. So I continued.

 

My mum gave me a little digital camera when I went backpacking across Europe at the age of 21.

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

Yes, very much, no matter what I had in mind at the time. I’m deeply grateful for having met these supportive and amazing people along my journey. It’s always those who are so wonderfully generous that are the most amazing human beings.

 

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?
I have a few very different themed projects in the making. One of them is focusing on a self-developed and hand-processed analogue photobook. I only learned about self-processing last June and I was completely amazed by the robustness of film, so I have been experimenting using different chemicals and methods. Another project I am planning to do is a round trip of Taiwan, a photo book or rather an honest conversation with myself, which I certainly miss. I am also eager to film more dancers. I love filming dancers, the multitude of different ways the human body can express itself is simply enchanting. And I plan to shoot a short fiction film written by myself. I used to write a lot, professionally and personally. I guess now I’m expressing and memorising through images but I do miss letting the words flow.

 

I have a few very different themed projects in the making. One of them is focusing on a self-developed and hand-processed analogue photobook.

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

I honestly thought the longest for this question. My first choice would be Gene Kelly, but of course, he is sadly now passed away. So Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Isabelle Huppert.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

They are very kind and amazingly strong individuals. Caring. Determined, beautiful in confidence. Not shy about fighting for what they want. Fun loving, passionately living everyday life.

 

They are very kind and amazingly strong individuals. Caring. Determined, beautiful in confidence. Not shy about fighting for what they want. Fun loving, passionately living everyday life.

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

No. Of course, there were creatives around me but that wasn’t something that came to my attention, at least in my surroundings. It was all about getting the best scores and going to the best schools in Taiwan. (So you would have a well-paid job and a family and a house and a car and everything society requires that you need to tick in your life) So all I did was studying. I mean I read a lot and watched a lot of movies, thanks to my parents. But the majority of my student life was studying.

 

Are there any challenging aspects of being a female in your industry?
I don’t particularly feel it being a female. I don’t really think in that way. Being in the industry is ridiculously challenging so I tend to focus on letting my work speak for me.

 

Keep creating. Keep creating. KEEP CREATING.
Do you have any advice to young women who are aspiring to work in your field?
Take care of yourself physically and mentally. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be patient and try to see the bigger picture. Keep creating. Keep creating. KEEP CREATING.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Yolanda Y. Liou.

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