You might be following this “Insta-famous” commercial photographer and social media consultant already. Known as ehgg on Instagram, Taiwanese-American Chris Liu’s unique captures can be found on the walls of food establishments across New York, as well in articles at Buzzfeed and TimeOut NY.
TAP-NY had the chance to meet up with Chris to discover what a day in the life looks like for him and what inspired him on his unique journey.
You can see more at his Instagram here.
Can you introduce yourself?
Hi there! My name is Chris Liu and I’m what you call a NYC transplant that’s been living in Manhattan for the past five years. I’m originally from West Palm Beach, FL and moved up here to begin my career at Deloitte Consulting. I had planned to only stay in NYC for two years, but I’m still here and I’ve been loving it ever since.
How did you get to what you’re doing today?
Photography and food has always been a big part of my life. Being raised in a family full of chefs taught me all the ins and outs of the kitchen, various recipes, and numerous cooking styles. Additionally, my uncle was the founder of Minton, a Taiwanese digital camera brand, and he was giving me cameras to play with ever since I was old enough to know how to use one. It wasn’t until I moved to NYC and experienced why this city was called the “Mecca of Food” and in the process met so many creatives within the photography/film industry that I realized this is what I enjoyed doing as a career. Since then I’ve left the corporate world of consulting, did a minor stint at the tech startup, Yext, and now working for myself as a freelancer.
What’s a typical day look like for you?
As a freelance commercial photographer and social media consultant, my schedule is actually pretty flexible and no two days are the same. If I had to outline a day it would go something like this:
- 10AM: Wake up and check/respond to emails
- 11AM – 4PM: Work on photoshoots ranging from real estate, restaurants, and stop by the occasional coffee shop to people watch/photograph
- 5PM – 8PM: Attend any restaurant/social media tastings that I have scheduled
- 9PM – 11PM: Answer any emails that came in throughout the day that I missed, and edit photos
- 12AM – 2AM: Gym & podcasts
Do you have a favorite experience you could share?
I would say the most memorable experience in recent memory would have to be spontaneously deciding to go to the Hamptons this past 4th of July with three other friends I met through a food event only a couple of weeks prior. We literally woke up one Saturday morning and all group texted that we should go, and the rest was history.
Sometimes you never know when you will meet those special individuals in your life that feel like you have been friends forever even though you just met.
Can you talk about your heritage and how Taiwan is important in your life?
Taiwan for me holds a dear spot in my heart. Ever since I was born and up until high school, my parents would take me back every summer. And growing up in a predominantly white area, these summers were a way for to me to stay connected to my roots and to never forget who I am as a Taiwanese-American. Too many times I have seen my friends or colleagues that have no idea about their heritage because they were raised in similar environments, but never got to experience things like going to Shilin night market, eating some delicious pork chop rice, or wasting hours away in a bookstore above Sogo. I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to experience all of that and more growing up.
What’s your favorite restaurant in New York? In Taiwan?
That’s a tough one! With so many choices here in NYC, it’s hard just to choose one, but if I had to I would put my money on Minetta Tavern. Their Black Label Burger is out of this world and well worth the 30+ dollars you’re about to drop. My roommates and I have reserved this burger for special occasions only i.e. someone get a new job, birthdays, etc.
In Taiwan, my favorite would be Emperor Foods and their pork chop rice. I always made it a point to go here right after I got off the plane from the airport. Don’t forget to get the fried tofu too, it’s amazing!
Any tips and tricks for other fame-seeking Instagrammers?
Consistency and passion. Experiment with different photography styles and reach out to photographers/influencers that inspire you. And once you do find your niche, stick to it. People love associating a brand with a certain style. If your followers can relate your profile to a certain aesthetic then that’s already half the battle. (A good example are my friends at @foodbabyNY, you want delicious NYC eats with cute babies, they got ’em).
Popular instagrammers don’t explode into fame overnight. Most of my colleagues, if not all of them, spent years crafting their art and growing their following to what it is today. Don’t ever post something for the sake of gaining followers, getting free meals/swag, or for the fleeting feeling of likes. Authenticity is hard to come by nowadays in the social media world, but if you have it, people will notice.
Photographs by Chris Liu