Humans of McMaster: Lianhao Qu

Esther Liu
January 13, 2022
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

C/O Lianhao Qu

The Silhouette: Please introduce yourself.

Lianhao Qu: My name is Lianhao. I'm in my second year of [the health sciences program] and specializing in child health. My pronouns are he/him.

What drew you to photography?

I think it was when my dad bought me my first [digital single-lens reflex camera] for Christmas in my second year of high school. I think my dad mainly wanted it for family photos since I'm the designated family photographer. But then I got distracted because we go in nature a lot. I took fewer photos of my parents and my sister and just started shooting nature. This eventually progressed to the city, architecture and it evolved from there.

What subjects inspire you?

I usually lean towards landscape photography. I’m mostly in the city so it usually ends up being a lot of city architecture. I've also tried to get into shooting candid photos of strangers. I just basically go into the city, [with] no plan whatsoever, and take a photo of whatever catches my eye. But really, it's just shooting anything in the streets. Whether it's the buildings around you, the way the light reflects off the water or the water reflecting buildings. Small things like that.

How long have you been interested in photography?

I only really got into it in my later years of high school. I really enjoyed photography as a hobby and sometimes as a side hustle too. There was one summer where I was a freelance photographer. I worked with a union at one point and I was the photographer for this unit who was a part of the parade for the Caribana Festival. I got to go early in the morning and see all the dancers prep and everything. It was a fun experience — definitely out of my comfort zone — but it was a nice change.

Out of your own photos, do you have any favourites?

I think this one's the most pleasant for me to look at. It's just very calm and is a nice background to look at. This was in North Bay at Lake Nipissing right after dinner. I had to leave dinner, actually, run to my hotel to grab my stuff and then I ran back to the lake just to make it in time. I set the tripod up in the water and I looked ridiculous. The hotel owner saw me suddenly running around the street. But the photo is nice. 

C/O Lianhao Qu

And then there's this photo. The style is different from what I usually do. This is when quarantine happened. I just searched around for ideas so I could take photos at home. I had the knife already pre-stabbed into the cutting board and one of the apple halves hanging from above. There was a flashlight above too and the lighting is very botched because you have to take this at a very high shutter speed. My mom had to splash water and drop the apple and then I just had to go to take the photo at the right moment.

C/O Lianhao Qu

This is my most viewed photo. As popular as this photo is, I'm not a big fan of it. I think the main reason is this was one of the first photos that kind of blew up. This is when I first got into editing as well. So, to me, the colours here are so saturated and if you look in the far distance, you can see the colours are off.

C/O Lianhao Qu

What is the hardest aspect of photography for you?

Sometimes you go to extreme lengths just to get the right angle for a photo so you look kind of weird. On the first day, it can be frightening when you're in public and you're holding this huge camera and you just stop in the middle of the road. But you have to get rid of that scary thought of how you look in public. I stopped caring what people think of me and I stop in the middle of the road. I don't recommend doing exactly that but the thrill of the photo also makes it fun. Another thing is not forcing yourself to find that perfect angle or photo. Most of my photos I find nice are complete accidents. Usually I'm planning how to get there and how to set up my stuff to take that photo but sometimes it just doesn't turn out the way you want. The photos you take some other day tend to be a lot better and they tend to be complete accidents. Let it come naturally. Don't force it.


  • Esther Liu

    Esther is in her third year in the Health Science program. Since the beginning of her university career, she has channeled her passion for sharing stories through interviewing a variety of folks for Humans of McMaster. In her spare time, you can find her in the Sil office trying to solve a puzzle, getting the Coco's deal of the month or hanging around in the greenhouse.

Subscribe to our Mailing List

© 2023 The Silhouette. All Rights Reserved. McMaster University's Student Newspaper.