Taiwan-born, London based photographer Yolanda Y. Liou's photobook 'Thank You For Playing With Me’ collaborates with Enam Ewura Adjoa Asiama and Vanessa Russell over the course of three years, photographically playing together.
"Growing up in Taiwan, the pressure to conform to a standard beauty in Asia was relentless and it took a toll on me physically and mentally. I was trying to be more like the perfect people I saw in the media, so that I could feel more worthy of love.
When I started to make photographs, I became obsessed with capturing beautiful people – in a society’s conventional ideal way. Later on, I realised I was compensating for my own struggle with a low self-esteem and began to question the underlying motivations, the origins of my perception of beauty and to reflect on my intention as a photographer.
In 2019, I came across Enam’s Instagram profile and was enchanted by her charisma. I didn’t recognise her confidence at the time – being comfortable in your own skin. Then it suddenly clicked – I am a photographer. I create images. Images don’t create me. I wanted to do something. I wanted to show there is more. I wanted to make people feel good about themselves.
I proposed to Enam to do a photoshoot and she invited her best friend Vanessa to join. I asked them to authentically express themselves. Throughout the day, we shot from outdoors to indoors, experimenting with our own various styles and props. When it was a wrap, I was overwhelmed with joy and warmth, like I had spent the day playing with my sisters. I expressed my gratitude by saying, “Thank you for playing with me!” - Yolanda Y. Liou
Publico P3 - Thank You For Playing With Me
It's Nice That
British Journal of Photography
Neo Hua Ren, The Crypt Gallery, 2019
2020 National Portrait's Gallery Taylor Wessing Prize
2019 Creative Review Photography Annual - Honourable Mention
See also special edition