Your Stories

Youth Category, Honourable Mention

Li Li

Inspired by traditional Chinese landscape painting, I decided to make a 山水 Shan Shui (mountain and water) style scroll using modern photography techniques.

In order to accomplish this, I stayed on HuangShan, Anhui, China for two whole days, looking for perfect lighting. Unlike golden or blue hour that most landscape photographer prefer, I have to wait for a moment when angle of sunlight meets the cloud, giving a greyish, low profile tone, which suits my creative intent.

This photo is made with more than 200 Megapixel worth of data, exceeding the capability of Photoshop export(and definitely exceeding Instagram limitation). The final print is huge, and I am proud of this project.

I find great pleasure in "realizing" photography, make the digital files reborn into something that I can personally connect with.

So this is my story, breaking through limits in existing solutions, getting my hands dirty, while remaining stubbornly old school and nostalgic.


  • Tell us more about what inspired your entry?
    This is a photo titled “HuangShan” (Literal meaning: Yellow Mountain) and belongs to one of the many gigapixel photo project I am working on.

    HuangShan is, and always have been well received by traditional Chinese arts and literature. Countless poetry and Chinese ink painting (Shan Shui) have made HuangShan their subject. I believe my work, in the form of a photograph can be a humble addition.

  • How does your entry connect to you personally to the theme This Is My Story?
    HuangShan is chosen as an “Imagery” of my culture background. Many believe that Chinese culture originated from this mountain, as the Yellow Emperor, the originator of the centralzied state, pursued esoteric arts in the mountain. I took the entire mountain as an metaphor of the civilization.

    Each pixel in the frame, is a symbol of countless normal people like me, insignificant, dull, and does not represent much, but together, in a collective sense, this is my story, and this is our story, the evergreen, and magnificent civilization that have been passed down for thousands of years.

  • How did you conceptualise your shot? Did you use any specific techniques to achieve certain effects in your shot?
    This shot is very technically challenging. With my aim of hitting more than 200 megapixels in my final output, it requires sampling capacity way above this number. This is no single camera system capable of producing this many pixel at an angle this wide. Instead of pursuing wide angle shot using ultrawide lenses, I chose a telephoto lens instead, to get the maximum amount of detail out of every part of the shot. As the cloud sea is constantly emerging, I have to finish the shoot in a very short time to prevent composition artifact.

  • How did the use of post-processing enhance the storytelling ability of your entries?
    Without post processing, this photo won’t be realized in the first place. Consisted of more than 200 megapixel worth of data, it takes lots of time, effort, and computing resources to composite them into a single image, and it also takes time to consolidate the color palette.

  • If you had the chance to retake your shot(s), what would you do differently?
    I hope I can have more time waiting for better lighting and more uniformed cloud sea.

About the Photographer

  • When, how, and why did you get into photography?
    I have always been fascinated by photography. It is an artform of “freezing” and engraving photons of a particular space-time into something rather long-lasting – the photo. About 4 years ago, I joined the photographic society in my junior college and started my journey in photography.

  • Do you define yourself by any particular style(s) of photography? If so, what are they and why?
    No. I am still in the very early, and rather premature phase in my photography journey, I shoot a lot of genres including commercial ones and more arts ones, and still developing my own style.

  • How has your photographic journey been affected by COVID-19? Are you more inspired to take more photos? Have the restrictions hindered, or conversely enhanced your creativity?
    Being not able to go out and take photo is very troublesome, however, I did managed to dig in my hard drives and remastered some of my previously work, and try still life photography in my room. Creativity lives on.

  • What are your photographic goals after Montage 2020?
    It is amazing to learn new things in the workshop, and I hope to continue to pursue my photography journey after this. Montage 2020 is definitely a milestone in my journey, and it is an honor for me to be part of it.