UCL News


Chengyao Ye

Our fourth Instagrammer in Residence for the 2019/20 academic year is MA Comparative Literature student Chengyao Ye, who has a passion for street photography.

Profile photo of Chengyao Ye, London 2019

We're inviting UCL students to be a UCL Instagrammer in Residence for a week this term. They'll share their experiences of studying at UCL and living in London with their visual and written perspectives shared through our social media and digital channels.

Our fourth Instagrammer in Residence for the 2019/20 academic year is MA Comparative Literature student Chengyao Ye, who has a passion for street photography. Chengyao gives us the insider scoop on the process of capturing and developing unique film photos and shares with us his favourite spots for getting the most of the city’s cultural scene. 




1.    What made you decide to study at UCL?

I think it’s the research excellence. Research excellence is related with my career plan, so I naturally consider it as an essential element. UCL has top research excellence among all UK universities. So when I looked for places for my postgraduate study, it jumped into my eyes with its competency.

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2.    What are your three favourite things about studying at UCL?

•    The first thing would definitely be our tutors – all wonderful and kind people who patiently talk with me and provide useful advice.
•    Then it’s the available resources, including the libraries and the network with both academia and workplace.
•    Last but not least, it’s the people I meet here with different backgrounds.

3.    What is it like living in London?

I guess it’s expensive but inspiring. Being surrounded by so much culture really inspires you to do something in it, like reading, writing or drawing something. You just cannot ignore the world-renowned collections here, though sometimes one may find the daily spend could be quite a lot.

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4.    What is your most memorable experience at UCL so far?

Talking to tutors about the essays I want to write. They really listen and provide useful comments and advice, which I find really helpful.

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5.    What do you love about photography?

Photography, especially film photography, for me is a way to relax through creation, though the process of creating can often be a bit intense. Film photography does slow me down though, and makes me think through how I want to make each photograph. The development, scanning, and enlargement that goes into it also takes time. When I finally get the photographs, I sometimes have quite different feelings – “This one is out of anticipation!”, “That one is almost there!”, “Oh it’s really terrible”.

Photography is also about vision. The perspective. The way of seeing. While the external world is stable and fixed, the photographer is the one who can manipulate the angle of viewing and combining things. With such subjectivity, you can create really interesting moments. That’s the attraction.

6.    Best piece of advice for students who just started studying at UCL?

Talk, talk, and talk! Talk in class, talk with your classmates, talk to your tutors. That’s how you find different possibilities and expand your world.

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7.    You have a free day to spend at one place in London. Where do you spend it?

Tate Modern. The place of enlightenment for modern art. Then at night, I’d walk to the National Theatre and enjoy a wonderful play. Or simply stay in a daze at the Tate Modern – that would be great.

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