Reaching New Heights w/ Zhou Yusi

Based in Shenzhen, Zhou Yusi (or better known by his Instagram handle @ucchow) is a Chinese photographer who finds himself captivated by the rapid development of modern cities. His photography, comprised of awe-inspiring aerial perspectives and geometric structures, captures the chaotic beauty of China and surrounding regions. “I like cities where the new and the old clash together,” Zhou shares. “Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Shenzhen are great examples of this.”


来自深圳的摄影师周于斯(@ucchow),是个善于捕捉“上帝视角”的摄影博主。他的作品聚焦于城市建筑的主题,通过城市风光和建筑结构等拍摄,展现既有摩天大楼之现代,又有市井生活之怀旧的城市,比如香港、上海和深圳。这些城市高速发展的魄力与美,像谜一样吸引着他,也指引着他,一次次从高空俯瞰。

Zhou confesses that he didn’t plan on being a photographer in the beginning. Originally, he went to school to be a software developer, and at the time, he couldn’t even afford a proper DSLR. After graduating and buying his first real camera, he began shooting events and live performances, which, admittedly, weren’t especially creatively stimulating. However, as time went on, his interest in photography continued to grow.

The willingness to keep an open mind has been one of the most important factors in Zhou’s creative journey. Keeping an open mind has helped Zhou tremendously in not only his photography; it’s benefited him in nearly all aspects of life and has given him a refreshing perspective on his unconventional journey to success. “For regular people, they might look back and wish they could’ve seen the bigger picture beforehand or have a clear plan for the future. Not me though,” he tells us. “I revisited my university recently, and even though it’s been four or five years since I graduated and the world has changed so much, the school was the same as it ever was. It’s still out of touch with the real world, and in an environment like that, it’s easy to feel complacent and difficult to think outside of the box. If I had the chance [to give advice to my past self], I wouldn’t tell myself to change a thing.”


也许很难想象到,周于斯也是个“半路出家”的摄影师。他在大学时期学习的是软件工程,也就是俗称的“码农”。转行的契机源于毕业后,他终于有钱买了单反。随之才得以常常在音乐现场拍摄乐手们的演出,由此渐渐踏入摄影这个领域。

回望大学时代,周于斯的感慨显得有些特别:“一般人可能会对过去说,做事情要有眼界、格局之类的。然而现实是,前段时间我回去学校,发现虽然自己毕业已经四五年,外面的社会天翻地覆,学校仍是那个象牙塔,它什么都没变。其实在那种安逸环境中,是很难有大的格局和视野的。也许(我会对曾经的自己说)就继续虚度光阴吧。”的确,无论是摄影、工作还是社会生活,只有走上更宽的道路,登上更高的台阶,才能拥有更广的视野。

Following the purchase of his first drone, Zhou fell in love with taking photos from above. He says piloting a drone makes him feel like a “satellite, drifting idly above and watching the world beneath.” But with his drone, he does more than simply observe. Zhou likens the role of a drone photographer to that of a film director; much like a director, he has the control to frame specific scenes as he sees fit and present a narrative in line with his vision. While the drone is a great tool in his arsenal, what’s even more important than the tool is the creative output that can be achieved with it. It’s this understanding that motivates Zhou to continuously push himself and reach for new creative heights.


而真正意义上上帝视角的形成,是后来的事情。周于斯接触到了无人机拍摄,他笑称自己观看世界的视角,如今已渐渐变成了习惯从卫星地图去看周围生活的地方,因为那样可让他像电影导演一样,去掌控这个城市的画面。所谓会当凌绝顶,一览众山小”——或许吸引周于斯的,也正是这种凌空一切的观感。

“For me, exploration means finding new perspectives, even in parts of the city I’m familiar with,” Zhou shares of his creative philosophies. “It’s not just about hitting rooftops and shooting the same things aimlessly. It’s about discovering the beauty of a street I might’ve pass by countless times before or seeing an apartment or office building in a new light. By presenting unique perspectives of these familiar places, I want people to go, ‘Wow! I can’t believe this is what my neighborhood looks like.'”


探索,意味着在我们生活着的平凡城市,发现不一样的角度。它不只是在楼顶一模一样的位置拍下相同的风景,而是在每个平凡的街道,每天生活的公寓或者写字楼,通过探索发现特别的角度,让大家觉得,原来我们家附近还有这么一个地方!”

Zhou has now fully dedicated himself to both videography and photography but expresses a newfound preference in the former. “Photo editing is much faster. It can take only an hour or so. When it comes to video, it could take up to a day or much more. With the amount of time these two mediums take up, it’s hard to keep going if I wasn’t passionate. But the biggest difference between the two is that videos are much more elaborate. While you need to pay attention to many of the same things you have to watch out for in photography, you also need to consider the plot, storytelling cadence, transitions, sound design, and much more.”

Looking towards the future, Zhou expresses hopes of creating more travel-related video content. But regardless of medium, an earnest enthusiasm to share his adventures and showcase the beauty of our modern metropolises lives on in his work.


现在的周于斯用心经营着自媒体,对外输出着自己拍摄的图像和视频。他曾说:修图只需一小时,而剪视频要花上整整一天时间。如果不是热爱,很难坚持下来。两者比较,其实周于斯更倾向于视频创作。“最大的区别在于,照片是静止的,视频是动态的。除了照片所拥有的一切要求以外,视频还要具备情节、运镜、节奏、音乐等,可以说是更高维度的创作。”周于斯希望,未来能投入更多时间在旅行和影像上面,用宏观视角拍摄和纪录时,也就更能用心去体会各个城市的气质与魄力。

Instagram: @ucchow
Weibo: ~/UC大人

 

Contributor: Chen Yuan


Instagram: @ucchow
微博: ~/UC大人

 

供稿人: Chen Yuan