INTERVIEW: Li Hoang - Capturing Moments in a Stellar Fashion

August 4, 2019
INTERVIEW: Li Hoang - Capturing Moments in a Stellar Fashion
Li Hoang - Esports photographer; photo by Roderick Nokin

Recently, I stumbled across the work of Li Hoang, and I just had to know more. This is someone with a deep interest in Esports, cosplay, modeling. With clients such as KIT and CEO, Li not only has an incredible ability to capture moments in a stellar and dramatic fashion, but she also has the ability of making products come to life. This is someone with very close and careful attention to detail, and her passion for her art is easily noticed. Let us explore the work of Li Hoang, and get to know a little more about her in conversation...

Him - Hey, how's it going?

Li Hoang - It's going really well, thanks!

Him - So, can you introduce yourself to those that may not be familiar? How did you start as a visual artist?

Li Hoang - My name is Li. I started as a visual artist in middle school, pursuing a career in special FX make-up and my old dream was to do special FX make-up in Hollywood. I started learning how to model and do photography to document my portfolio while attending fighting game tournaments to support my brother who competed competitively. Naturally, I documented my vacation which caught the attention of organizers and somehow fell into working the media side of Esports.

Him - Your Esports images are amazing. You have a great eye for capturing the perfect moment. What do you like most about Esports? The games, the community, something else?

Li Hoang - Thank you! I grew up playing video games so everything is very nostalgic to me. I grew to love the community, specifically the fighting game community. I used to be terrified to walk around a tournament by myself to film or photograph, and my brother would be my bodyguard and follow me around. Now I travel the states by myself and I feel safe working on these events because I'm surrounded by people I consider family.

Combo Breaker 2019, photo by Li Hoang

Him - Do you have a favorite game?

Li Hoang - Alice: Madness Returns. I connect with the game emotionally and visually to the point that I based a lot of my high school art projects off of the game.

Him - Tell us about your career as a model? Can we expect more from you this year?

Li Hoang - I started modeling with self-portraits to push my negative emotions into something artistic. As much as I love modeling, it's a very difficult industry to break into when you're under 5'7". I would love to represent women under that height (I'm 4'11") in a big runway at some point, but as of right now, Esports is my main focus. Nothing is more fulfilling than growing the community that I hold close to my heart.

Him - What sort of emotion or feeling do you try to express in your photos, behind or in front of the camera?

Li Hoang - When I am in front of the camera, I like depicting a powerful woman. It's funny, how someone can look so confident in a photo, but in actuality, be a very shy, timid person which is what I am. My friends will often tell people I'm shy and they don't believe them just because I model. When I'm behind the camera, emotions and feelings tend to vary, but I love capturing victories and pop offs in Esports. I'm working up the confidence to photograph when people lose and the emotions they go through from a loss but it's a hard thing to do out of respect to the person.

@l3ff3n at Genesis 6, photo by Li Hoang

Him - Does covering Esports fulfill your creative needs differently than when you do portrait work?

Li Hoang - Nothing is more fulfilling than successfully photographing a pop-off that you aren't expecting. Portraits are more staged and controlled. In Esports, you never know what you're going to get, and that's extremely thrilling to me.

Him - Who or what inspires you the most?

Li Hoang - The president of GAAM (Games, Art, & Music) which is a charity art show in Jacksonville, Florida. Ryan has taught me so much about the corporate side of the gaming industry, being a leader, and has pushed me to face so many of my fears. He is the driving force of pushing forward Esports in Jacksonville which became incredibly taboo in the city after the Madden shooting. We hosted GAAM Gladiators, a gladiators-themed Esports event with engraved swords as trophies. We planned the event in 4 months and garnered 400+ attendees across Florida. I am so incredibly thankful to be mentored by someone who has a heart of gold.

Him - Do you have a favorite cosplay photo that you've taken?

Li Hoang - This photo was displayed as a wall scroll at the GAAM Anime Show cosplay exhibition! Modeled by the lovely @ladyashexii.

GAAM Anime Show cosplay exhibition

Him - Anything else you want our readers to know?

Li Hoang - If you want to follow my work, you can find me @HelloItsLi or @HelloItsLiPhotography on all social media!