The 32-year old Tao Liu (born 1983) knows the city of Hefei like his backyard. Since 2005 he’s traveled up, down and across the city in Eastern China on his motorbike reading water meters for a local utilities company. The job was tedious, exhausting and unrewarding, until he picked up a camera.
For the past 3 years Liu has used his spare time to capture intimate, witty and humorous street photos of Hefei. “I like taking photos because I can hang around on the streets and capture an image when something interested me but was neglected by others,” Liu told the Global Times. “I want to remind people of the touching moments in life.” He was interviewed after his photos went viral on China’s social network Weibo.
Liu has no formal training in photography but cites Daido Moriyama – often referred to as “the father of street photography” – as a primary influence. “I found him [to be] a very focused photographer,” says Liu in an interview with TIME. “I chose my camera based on what he uses.” Liu’s photos, intentionally or not, seem to poke fun at things like commercialization and urbanization. Liu clearly has a knack, not only for being in the right place at the right time, but for a keen eye that spots charming, serendipitous scenes amongst the hustle and bustle of everyday life.