Photographer Focus

@vdubl

Vivien Liu

Vdubl is heavily regarded as one of the greatest photographers in Hong Kong, a place which isn't short of high competition. The city of Hong Kong is a playground for photographers, with the most skyscrapers in the world architectural photography is very popular. Being an architect herself, Vivien has been able to to turn her profession in to her passion and has become widely recognised for it. Originally starting out with architectural and city shots, Vivien has now moved in to spectacular portraiture that at times combines both model and the huge scale of Hong Kong's buildings. 

First of all, let’s talk equipment, what do you use to shoot with?

I shoot with a Nikon D810, Fujifilm XT-2 and a DJI Phantom 4 Pro. In terms of lenses I use a 14-28mm f2.8 for architecture, a 70-200mm f2.8 for cityscapes and a 50mm f1.4 and 50mm f1.2 for portraits.

So as an architect, you’re naturally drawn to the symmetry and designs of buildings, do you feel that Hong Kong is one of the best places in the world for this style of photography? Would there be anywhere else that comes close?

That’s right – Hong Kong has a lot of repetition, strong lines and symmetry because of its hyperdensity. I would say it is definitely the place to be if you’re into a photographing highly graphical and pattern-like images. For me, New York and Tokyo are cities that have similar features.

Your portraiture work is amongst my favourite of all time because whilst some might be intimate with beautiful lighting, others encompass a huge scale of Hong Kong’s architecture which adds a whole different dynamic. So what I want to do is for you to talk us through your top 5 portraiture works:

I’m not an expert in expressing myself in words, so I’d like to let the images do the talking! Here are 5 of my favourite portraits up to now (I definitely have more than 5), hopefully you’ll like them as much as I do.

Your recent aerial shots look too high to be achieved with a drone, how are you achieving these magnificent shots?

They are indeed with a drone! Getting on a rooftop and launching it from there may help getting it a little higher.

Who are your favourite photographers of all time?

Andreas Gursky, Fan Ho, Annie Leibovitz, Mario Testino, Wing Shya and Chen Man.

Are there traits of you and your personality within your photography?

I think the architectural nature of the composition – I am trained to see and represent space in a very technical order, and that might explain the strong lines, geometry and repetition.

 

What is one of your most favourite shots from your early work? One that perhaps you look fondly back on that maybe even made you realise that you had found a new passion in photography.

A taxi in front of a street full of neon lights. It made me realize the value of a photograph as these neon signs have ceased to exist, due to a new government regulation. A photograph preserves a moment in time that will never occur again, to be revisited and enjoyed in the future. 

 

Finally, do you have any photography trips planned in the near future or is there anywhere you are desperately keen to visit and shoot?

I’ve been thinking a lot about going to national parks in China – Zhangjiajie was one of them which I paid a visit last year. Other ones include the Danxia Landforms in Zhangye and the natural landscapes in Guilin.

Check out Vivien's Instagram here: @vdubl

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