As one of the city’s well-known photographers, you probably already follow her on Instagram, have liked one of her photos or recognise her cool profile picture wearing her grey top ball beanie looking over her left shoulder into the distance. Bamboo Scenes is excited to share our conversation with visual storyteller Elaine Li.
What was your first Camera? What camera do you suggest beginner photographers should start with?
Elaine: I can’t remember the exact model, but it was a Canon camera under the Powershot series. Honestly, these days, a point-and-shoot or even an iPhone. An iPhone works great for practicing composition and seeking the light.
Can you give us a few tips for editing photographs? What is your preferred software to use?
Elaine: I primarily use Lightroom to edit the colour and tone of photos. For composition tweaks I use Photoshop.
What is the most challenging aspect of taking unique and interesting photos while traveling?
Elaine: The most challenging aspect for me while traveling is finding new angles to shoot at popular tourist spots. With photography being so accessible, it may seem like everything has been shot before but that's not true.
We believe many people can relate to this challenge when going on holiday and you have probably seen everyone else’s photos on Instagram or Facebook before you even got onto the plane. Perhaps, the next time you find yourself in this situation, take your time and try to find a new and interesting angle.
In photography what inspires you the most?
Elaine: The process. When I walk down the street with a camera, I notice and see things that I don't normally notice. It is moments like these that remind me of the beauty that is around us everyday.
Which photographers have influenced you the most? And what is so inspiring or unique about them?
Elaine: My favorite photographers change over time, depending on my mood. In high school, I was inspired by Cindy Sherman (photographer and film director best known for her conceptual portraits), Diane Arbus (known for capturing unique subjects like transgender people, strippers and nudist amongst other intriguing characters) and Gregory Crewdson (known for his photographs tableaux of American homes and neighborhoods).
These days I look at different photographers on Instagram and Pinterest. As for local Hong Kong photographers, I have always been a fan of fellow Bamboo Scenes artist Jeremy Cheung (@rambler15)’s work. His photos aren’t just pretty pictures, but are always meaningful and have a story to tell.
It's always great to know that our Bamboo Scenes photographers are supporting each other!
How is your personality reflected in your work?
Elaine: I guess when people think of a female photographer they envision more feminine photos such as still life and soft colors. But with my work, the colors are a bit harsher and darker, which kind of reflects my personality as I am not the typical girly-girl.
What advice would you like to give to today's aspiring young photographers?
Elaine: My advice is – Practice Makes Perfect. It may sound old and cliché but it is totally true. Just keep shooting!
What are your Photography Goals for 2019?
Elaine: I am hoping to travel to less popular parts of the world and showcase the beauty of those places to my followers.
Why did you choose Bamboo Scenes to showcase your artwork?
Elaine: There are a few reasons. Firstly, Bamboo Scenes uses and supports local printers and framers. Secondly, for each photograph sale, 10% of the profit goes to charity, Impact HK. Thirdly, the founder Madelon is such a lovely person to work with!
What is your favorite capture of your collection at Bamboo Scenes?
Elaine: I am most proud of Ten Years. It’s the memory and experience of capturing the shot that made it my favorite. Waking up at 6AM to head up to Lugard road and seeing this with my own eyes. I’ve been wanting to capture this scene with fog rolling through the buildings for a long time, so finally being able to capture that meant a lot.
Thanks Elaine! We are super excited to have you on board and to be part of our Bamboo Scenes journey.