• Life Is Art Magazine

Tian Liu "Eye of the Tiger

Tian Liu originally hails from China, where she studied sports journalism. Tian worked both as a reporter as well as a free “composer” at CCTV, China Net and Young Press Corps, respectively.

"These stints gave me the opportunity to visit Africa, Hong Kong and Taiwan; all int the pursuit of further “perfecting” my photographic composition. Subsequently, my individual memories consist of the time and objectives simmering behind my photos, filtered by my own growing life experience and reading scale. I believe this is the charm of photography." Tian believes photographers bear a cultural responsibility. "I’m a firm believer in the social responsibility one artist holds. From the perspective of civilization, an artist should be held responsible for social and cultural advancement, if you will. Aside from centering around society, art obviously can be a very personal thing too; there is no right or wrong turn to take."

While teaching orphans math as a volunteer in Kenya, Liu felt inspired to photograph their experience. Those images were eventually published, and Liu realized she wanted to become a filmmaker. “I realized that images have power,” Liu tells NYFA. “It can tell others a story, it also can help people and give people a better life. I love telling stories and I want to be a visual artist.” Following her dream, Liu opened a photo studio and enrolled at New York Film Academy. At NYFA, Liu earned her MFA in Cinematography while studying under Chair of Cinematography Tony Richmond, ASC, BSC (Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Sandlot, Legally Blonde). “Without NYFA,” Liu says, "I would not have been able to become a female Chinese cinematographer and do the kind of work I find so fulfilling.” Tan's thesis film, The Piano, managed to screen at over 35 film festivals, and has picked up an impressive 28 awards for Best Cinematography. Since then, she has worked on over 40 film projects that used 16mm and 35mm film, and has shot several films as director of photography. Recently, Liu worked on a feature film in Louisiana, as well as a camera operator for Oscar-nominated cinematographer Dean Cundey, ASC (Jurassic Park, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) on the feature documentary Motionless. Additionally, Liu has worked in New York City for the United Nations and an esteemed advertisement firm.

While the film industry works to course correct issues of gender inequality, women still make up a distressingly small proportion of working professional cinematographers. Liu has been a strong voice for female cinematographers, and recently gave a talk at USC about working in the industry as a female, Chinese cinematographer. Having developed her passion for the visual arts and put this passion into practice, with all of her accomplishments in film and photography, Tian has become one of the very few female cinematographers of her generation versed in and loyal to motion pictures original medium. Her dream is to continue that vision for future women in film by launching her production company, Tigertail Pictures.

"We are proud to be a woman-owned video production and advertising company that is aware of the diverse needs of businesses in todays world." Tigertail Pictures provides services that include corporate, commercial, branding and development, photography, social media content, and animation. Tigertail's mission is to help filmmakers tell their stories with the unique ability and vision that expresses a vision to show the world not just who you are, but what makes your story special so that your story is the first thing clients see, and the last thing they remember.

For more about Tian Liu, visit her Instagram page @tian.liu.dp To contact her for inquiries email cinematographer.tianliu@gmail.com

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