Thank You For Playing With Me by Yolanda Y Liou

Honourable Mention: Personal

For this series, Yolanda Y Liou explores body image, in particular her own experiences of feeling unconfident in her appearance. “The expectation of being skinny is relentless in Asian beauty culture,” she says. “I’ve experienced the stress of this since a very young age.

“After living in Australia and the UK, I viewed my body from a different perspective. Although the idea ‘I am fat’ is already deeply rooted in my mind, I do feel more at ease with myself being in Western culture. Not because I’m smaller here, but because of an environment that encourages you to be yourself.”

In creating this project, she decided to work with the model Enam Asiama after seeing her Instagram profile. “I was taken by her confidence and charisma,” says Liou. “Suddenly it clicked. I’m a fashion photographer; I create images, images don’t create me.

“I met up with Enam to propose a photoshoot. She invited her friend Vanessa on board. I decided not to have any other stylists, hair and makeup artists … I wanted them to show their most comfortable selves, with their own style.

“Throughout the shoot the dynamic was so beautiful and warm. When we wrapped up, I was overwhelmed with contentedness, so I said to them, ‘Thank you for playing with me.’ That was literally how I felt, like I was playing with my little sister, when we didn’t need to be responsible for answering to anybody but ourselves.”

yolandaliou.com

JUNIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Milton Keynes