Catching Memories Through The Lens

‘The snow makes the cityscape so flawless’: Cocu Liu’s best phone picture – The Guardian

‘The snow makes the cityscape therefore flawless’: Cocu Liu’s best phone picture

The photographer braved the cold to capture this striking shot – before Chicago’s salt machines could melt all the snow away

W hen a winter storm ends in Chicago, the temperature rises just enough for Cocu Liu to take a brisk walk. Armed with his thickest coat, the photographer was passing over the Michigan Avenue Bridge when he stopped to shoot the ice floating on the river beneath, and an anonymous passing man.

“I was drawn to the simplicity and the composition, the contrast of left and right, ” he says. “Because of the wind chill, before and during a storm the weather is too bitter. But I love the four seasons, and especially the snow, so I always made the effort to head out. ”

China-born Liu, who lived in Beijing until he was 25, didn’t have family in Chicago, so he walked the streets in his spare time. “I photographed pretty much every corner of the city, ” he says. “It’s also very flat, which makes it so visually compelling. And the density of the two cities is incomparable – Beijing is saturated, Chicago is just busy. ”

After a few months in his new home, however , Liu realised he was working to a deadline after every storm. “The snowfall makes the cityscape so flawless, so beautiful, but they’re so good at getting the town running again. It means there’s only a couple of hours before the salt machines have melted it all away. It’s good for pedestrians, but not so good for photographers! ”