Ziqian Liu

Ziqian Liu is an independent photographer who brings perfectionism, elegance, and balance to her self-portraits through her use of mirrors, fruits, and botanical elements.


Shanghai, China


Series: Acceptance and Isolation


Through her images Ziqian places emphasis on form, specifically through the keen placement of items within the frame and the arrangement of her body to produce a seamless, delicate result.


Series: Acceptance and Isolation


Series: Reflection 2


Series: Reflection 1


Series: Reflection 1


Liu began her journey as a photographer in 2018 after completion of her communications management degree in 2015 from the University of Technology, Sydney. What first began as a chance for her to explore her creativity while in search of a stable job quickly became a compelling force that drove her to symbolize her inner desire for harmony and continuity through self-expression. This force unleashed her creative talents which leave an impact on many of those who view her work.


Ziqian Liu, on what led her to photography after graduation:


"I began shooting photos, mainly because of the constant struggle to find a stable job and immediately start the stable life that I wanted at the time. I had been traveling with my friends on and off for a year or two. This experience made me feel a lot of anticipation. Although I got rid of my previous sense of urgency, I really wanted to find a gate to let the emotions that had been deposited in my heart release slowly. So, I picked up the camera.

I became more and more attracted to photography when I discovered it was the easiest way to release my emotions. From then on, I found that a camera, which could record and create and allow me to complete independent projects, was very interesting. I could take images and at the same time, photography can calm my mind, which is one of the main reasons why it attracts me."


Series: Ritual at the Dinner Table


Collaboration with Normann Copenhagen


Series: Fusion


Series: Reflection 2


Collaboration with Huawei and Elle China


Series: Reflection 2


It is apparent that Liu approaches each photographic opportunity as a blank canvas, carefully composing each frame through subtle yet captivating imagery to produce a sensational feeling of tranquility. Her use of mirrors creates illusions where oftentimes the viewer sees fragmented body parts that are thoughtfully in sync with props of her choice, suggesting replacement of the head with a hand or a chair leg with a human leg for example. When asked about her use of mirrors in her compositions, as well as her incorporation of flowers and fruits, she responded:

"I’ve always loved mirrors and flowers and fruit, and I use them to help me reflect feminine elements in my work. The images are a kind of fusion, representing a woman's exploration of self, life and surrounding elements. They also show a woman’s independent personality and attitude, and have an abundance of emotion with a broad range of expression. More importantly, I wish to give the audience a quiet, small world, but at the same time one that is not flat. I want to show women outside the soft and delicate. I want to show their inner strength, gentle and strong coexistence, as these are just like my expectations for myself.

Flowers and fruits are related to a common theme in my work, which is the symbiosis between human beings and nature. To some extent, it can be said that human beings and the rest of the natural world are equal; we live in the same world, breathe the same air, we have mutual tolerance. In my work, I try to find a state of harmony between human and nature, full of peace and emotion, because in this state of symbiosis, beauty will be most embodied. This is why my work is all shot in natural light, to reflect the most natural, true state."

Series: Skin


Series: Flowers in the Market


Series: Symbiosis


"The use of mirrors is related to another theme of my work, which is about perspective. Things we are familiar with often remain in a fixed image, but I am trying to convey through my work that if we look at the same thing from different angles, there will be different findings. This is not only for things, but also for understanding others and our hearts."


Series: Water


Series: Symbiosis


Series: Flowers in the Market


Series: Naughty Raspberries


Series: Naughty Raspberries


“There are messages in my work that I want the viewer to see, and some messages that I wish the viewer could feel”

Her work has an easing effect that calms the viewer while visually stimulating them to want more. In a sense, it can be therapeutic to consume the work of Ziquan Liu, whose self-portraits relieve the mind by bringing a delicate aura and a sense of peacefulness to the viewer. This contrasts the unpleasant emotional weight in an ever-growing chaotic world.


"My deepest desire is for symmetry and perfect order, both in the appearance of things and in the patterns of human interaction, but this is too idealistic, after all, society is not balanced, some imperfections make it real. In my work, the image in the mirror represents the idealized world I wish to live in, and the integration with the outside is just a reminder to respect and recognize the imbalance in the real world, but also to adhere to the order and principles of our hearts.


As today’s society is more and more impetuous, the rhythm is also faster and faster. I hope to bring the audience a quiet and dynamic world. I want them to feel calm and soothed—it’s like an emotional massage."



Ziqian achieves this state of peace through minimalism, and practices it to tune out the distractions from the busy outside world. She also enjoys her quiet time and is able to get in touch with her “true self” through solitude.


"Minimalism is a reminder for me to stay pure inside and try not to be too distracted by the noise. The surrounding environment is always very noisy, so it is easy to ignore the small details around us and our true feelings.


I think solitude can be used for enjoyment, and enjoying solitude is also the process of discovering beauty. It's also very rare to have the opportunity to be alone, to spend time with everything around us and to see how it changes. In a space which we are familiar with, our emotions can be fully released. Through talking with ourselves, we can get to know our innermost true self."


Collaboration with Huawei and Elle China


Collaboration with Bllu


Series: Second Dimension


Collaboration with Valeria Vasi


Collaboration with Valeria Vasi


It has been said that photography is to paint with light and colour. Ziqian uses nude colour palettes that focus on brown, cream, and pink, and integrates exuberant colours such as orange, yellow, green, and red through her use of plants and fruits.


"Light and composition are indeed very important to me. I pay attention to these two points in my usual shooting. But what I pay most attention to is the independence of the photo. It has its own characteristics and does not rely on imitating others or repeating yourself."


Collaboration with Huawei and Elle China


Collaboration with Folc


Collaboration with Folc


Series: Coat


Series: Chair


Series: Symbiosis


All of her works are self-portraits. Not only does this serve as a visual documentary of her appearance, state of mind, and emotions, but this also encourages introspection as she is compelled to reflect on her feelings from that moment.


"The self-portrait is a way for me to talk to myself, and when I take a picture, I'm completely staying alone. I feel most free when I'm alone. At that time, our deepest, truest selves are revealed. So, in the process of taking a self-portrait, I feel the thoughts coming from my heart, and I feel completely free to express myself, which is also a kind of release of myself. A lot of people think of loneliness when they think of being alone, but I think loneliness is sometimes used for enjoyment, to enjoy solitude is to discover beauty."


She often conceals her face, however, this is not a result of insecurity or shyness, rather a prompt for viewers to recognize all the elements in the photo, and see the emotion through those elements individually or combined.


"Expressing emotions through the face can be very precise and direct, but I would probably prefer to do it indirectly. Body parts and plants are not as "labeled" as faces. The main character can be anyone, and each viewer will have a different view of the work due to their different experiences, allowing the viewer to participate in the work.


I think once the face appears in the image, no matter whether the facial features are beautiful or not, the attention of the viewer may first be on the face, it is easy to ignore the other elements in the work. [The use of plants and limbs] prove that recording [emotions] cannot just be confined to images of the face, everything around the body and life is good and worth recording."


Series: Tulle


Series: Reflection 2


Collaboration with Folc


Series: Symbiosis


Series: Paper


Through many of her creations shown in her online series’, Ziqian uses a shallow depth of field and makes use of the bending of light to create shadows and reflections. Her work has been featured in 4 exhibitions across Europe, Asia, and North America. Ziqian’s collections are available to view online through her website and Instagram page:


Website: www.ziqianqian.net


Instagram: www.instagram.com/ziqianqian


When artists are creators and objects of creation at the same time, what they present in their works is not only their own external image, but also a strong sense of self .

- Geng Yuan of Elle China