Monday Blog Blog: Van Lieu Photography

January 17th, 2011 by David Leland Hyde Leave a reply »

Monday Blog Blog Featuring Van Lieu Photography And Photographing An Island Blog

Blizzard On Low Beach I, Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, 2009 by Dirck Van Lieu.

On a small island only 47 square miles in area and 30 miles South of Cape Cod off the Massachusetts coast, live portrait, architectural, and fine art landscape photographers Dirck and Sharon Van Lieu with their two cats Cass and Lucy.

In the 1800s, Nantucket was the whaling capital of the world but after the demise of the whaling industry the piers and ship ways sat idle and rusted back into the sea. In time Nantucket became a summer retreat for elite New Englanders and New Yorkers. Currently the island has a thriving art and tourism trade, primarily in the summer. The population swells from 10,000 in the Winter to over 50,000 in the summer. Today many of the permanent islanders are much more sensitive to the environment than their whaling predecessors. Local interest in the delicate natural balance of the island is evident.

Footpath, Squam Swamp, Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, 2010 by Sharon Van Lieu.

In one area of Nantucket, called Squam Swamp, “a large number of hardwood trees grow relatively tall, by Nantucket standards,” Sharon Van Lieu said. “The area is lower and protects the trees from the salty winds. The trees are covered in lichen, a sign of Nantucket’s clean air and high humidity. The ground is dense with ferns and mushrooms. Some places are under water in the swamp where the roots and branches spread out, looking for oxygen.”

The Van Lieu husband and wife team tastefully capture remarkable photographs of Nantucket’s natural features and many of those that are man-made as well. They specialize in architectural photography of Nantucket Island’s many interesting structures and old homes. Sharon and Dirck Van Lieu also photograph fine portraits of people, as well as quality images of birds and other wildlife.

In addition, Sharon Van Lieu writes a blog “Photographing An Island.” Sharon Van Lieu posts her own and Dirck’s photographs of beach scenes, clouds, dunes, woods, birds, and the ocean…the ocean in many seasons, all times of day and at night. The ocean photographed in such a way that I can look at the images forever. It is impressive how many different ways Dirck and Sharon Van Lieu can photograph the ocean and keep it fresh and interesting…The ocean rolling in all directions, illusive, ever-present, dangerous, playful, calm, tempestuous, the ocean for miles and miles… I can almost taste the salty air when I view their photographs…

I discovered Van Lieu Photography through our blogs. Sharon Van Lieu was one of the first few people to comment on Landscape Photography Blogger when I first started. This might sound cliché, but I don’t know how to put it otherwise: Sharon Van Lieu is just plain nice. She is extremely observant and always catches things I wouldn’t. She has a thoughtful comment or awareness that adds to any subject. She never just rattles off something trite. She writes unique and friendly, yet surprising comments. I think she has a combination of New England charm and that Southern hospitality she imported originally from Texas.

Go find out for yourself…



  1. pj says:

    Good write-up David. I check in on their blog pretty regularly and it’s well worth the visit. Their photographs of the ocean are captivating to say the least.

  2. Thank you, David! I appreciate your great write-up.


  3. Thank you for the comment, PJ. I have been intending to write this recommendation of Van Lieu Photography for some time.

    Hi Sharon, I appreciate the expansive and interesting interaction we have had. Many thanks to you.

  4. Greg Boyer says:

    I can’t add anything to this David as your description of their work is spot on. Sharon is a real sweetheart and I enjoy and appreciate her comments on my work also.

  5. Derrick says:

    I’m a big fan, the landscapes and seascapes they capture are quite foreign to me and quite lovely. I particularly enjoy their images from the swamp.

    And completely agree, Sharon is quite nice!

  6. Thank you Greg and Derrick for your comments. We are all fortunate to have an inspirational photographic community developing. The friendships grow, yet the circle widens all the time too.

  7. Greg Russell says:

    This is a great write-up David. Sharon’s work looks great, and through your blog, I’ve stopped in once or twice. I think I need to go over there more often!

    Love that black and white ocean image…

  8. Derrick says:

    Well said, David – thanks to your site, I’ve definitely found a sense of community – particularly with PJ and Sharon’s respective sites – nice work you’ve done there, sir!

  9. Appreciate your comments, Greg and Derrick. I like the sense of community that blogging creates too. It’s interesting how birds of a feather seem to gather. From my observation, Sharon, Greg, PJ, Derrick, Steve, Richard, Guy, Mark, Paul and a good number of others seem to have similar feelings about nature and natural photography of the landscape.

  10. Thanks for sharing David – I too have enjoyed Sharon’s work and her blog, and have also been fortunate to have her generous feedback on my blog as well. It is amazing how technology can help us learn about others we might not have known any other way. For sure the sense of community you have developed here is in large part due to your generosity and willingness to highlight others such as Sharon.

    Thanks, Robert

  11. Derrick says:

    Robert brings up a point that reminds me of yet another reason I think that “today” is another golden age of photography; going back to one of your early posts, David.

  12. Thanks Robert, I agree. People have been generous to me as well. Photoblogs are turning out to be quite a phenomenon and in this case technology rather than mechanizing the world further in many ways is re-humanizing it. So much more practical, useful and productive than Facebook, though that too I’ve heard can be helpful and not just a big online social club party.

    Thank you too Derrick for your return on this post with a good insight. The only issue that keeps the jury out on what you are saying is that by far the majority of the best photography galleries remain stuck in the black and white era and believe digital prints, except of experimental types of work, essentially have no value, which is ridiculous of course because when done tastefully they are better prints. Most serious photography collectors shun color. Eliot Porter’s dye transfer prints that are beautifully executed are not gaining value, but are slipping in relation to the rest of the market and you can forget about the landscape photographers’ prints who have switched to digital capture. From the standpoint of landscape photographers who want to see their prints acquired by collectors, in many ways it is either time to get out of color photography, digital photography or landscape photography, one of the three or all three. Even museums generally refuse to acknowledge color landscape photography as collectible, which I’m sure you’ve noticed is one of the main types of photography on the blogs we see growing exponentially. All you have to do is go to a site like Cool Photoblogs to be completely amazed at the sheer number of photoblogs in the world and the how fast blogs are being added every day. Many professional full-time landscape photographers have experienced the ill effects of a tremendous and overwhelming glut of imagery flooding the market from all quarters. Some newer photographers see it as all very exciting and let’s hope they are right, but the value of photography in general has plummeted. The unattractiveness to the art establishment of digital prints has many people going back to film cameras and black and white. It will be very interesting to see if digital photography proliferates itself into worthlessness, whether the establishment eventually gets used to the changes in technology or whether some strange combination ends up putting another twist on it. We will see. Let’s hope you are right, Derrick, let’s hope you are right. More on this in future blog posts.

  13. Derrick says:

    Screw the establishment. 😉

  14. Derrick: alright, you said it. Hooray, bravo, cheers all around, I almost forgot yahoooo. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Be careful though, some of them have become my friends and allies now, but only those who I sense deep down are still like us. Probably some day I’ll become one of “them” too, ummm, well, maybe not. I’ll probably always be a rebel. This generation is not going to turn from hippies to yuppies like what happened after the 1960s. Many of us were born in the 1960s. That means we have rebel in our makeup. We are there permanently, branded with those stars. Remember what Jim Morrison said, “Until victory, always.” Well, we’ve come a long ways away from “Photographing an Island,” or perhaps not. “Photographing an Island” is it’s own kind of peaceful revolution.

  15. really interesting read and love their work! The top B/W image is great! Thanks for sharing. Regards, Roberto

  16. Hi Roberto, thank you for the compliments and for visiting my blog. I find the Van Lieu approach to landscape photography refreshing too.

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