A Lens on Olly Liu '14

"I believe that visiting different places and learning different cultures is one of the best ways to live." – Tianyi "Olly" Liu '14

Tianyi "Olly" Liu '14 is currently a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studies economics and computer science while pursuing his ongoing passion for traveling, studying different cultures, and discovering nature's beauty.

Olly's 2014 "Gold Key" photograph was recently selected and published in National Geographic Greatest Landscapes, featuring "the world's most beautiful locations that will immortalize the beauty of the great outdoors, showcasing evocative—and often unseen—images of extraordinary landscapes around the world."

Olly shared the following about his award-winning photograph, "I have always been attracted to the serene atmosphere of coastal villages, and I felt that it was my calling to document the lifestyle of Huian villagers before they were swept away by modernization. I wanted to capture their modest beauty, and how they lived with nature, receiving the gift of life from the ocean. The image of women carrying buckets is both symbolic and representative because in this area women take care of the hard work while men sail far away."

We asked Olly to share a little more about his passion for photography with us.

Q: When did you start to develop your interest in photography?

A: Photography has been my hobby since my trip to Canada ten years ago. The vast and majestic landscapes really drew me into the world of photography. Since I was living in Shanghai where pollution was already a serious issue, I wanted to capture the great nature of Canada in my pictures and take them back to China, to remind me how beautiful the earth can be. The little camera reminded me of the moments I had there and sparked my interest in photography.

Q: Did you pursue this passion while at Berkshire?

A: Berkshire really developed my deep love of nature both inside and outside of the classroom. I took a photography class with Mr. Banevicius and joined winter mountaineering and mountain biking with Mr. Dalton and Mr. Barros. They all told me something similar: to go outside of your comfort zone and never stop discovering and adventuring. Gradually, I started to develop my affection for traveling and learning about different cultures while capturing these moments though my lens.

Q: What does it mean to you to be a good photographer?

A: To take good photos, I need to think outside of the box. I love to explore, so supermarkets, churches, schools, and museums all became my classroom. I once read that, "What makes a good photographer is experiencing life and the world around you and having a story to share with people through your photos." Gradually, I also realized that a good image does not only need to be visually appealing, but it also needs to have a theme, a story and even a philosophical idea. Thereafter, the relationship between humans and nature has constantly been a theme in my pictures.

To learn more about Olly's work, visit www.ollyliuphotography.com.