See how the cityscape of Madison has changed throughout the pandemic through the lens of photographer Samuel Li ’18
Samuel Li ’18
December 06, 2021
No one sees Madison quite like Samuel Li ’18.Whether it’s with boots on the ground or drones in the sky, Li’s photography and cinematography showcase the city in a never-before-seen way. But like many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic put a sharp pivot in his career plans. Li curated an exclusive gallery that reflects on how both he and the city of Madison moved through the pandemic.
I bought my first camera my sophomore year of college and, within a few months, what started as a hobby quickly became a lucrative side hustle. However, when I graduated from UW–Madison in 2018, I knew I wouldn’t be able to support myself off of my freelance work alone, so I accepted a project management position at a tech company in Madison. I quit in October 2019 with high hopes, fully expecting to be shooting for clients all over the world and leaving Madison behind. Then the pandemic hit. Almost every client canceled their shoots, and the calendar that I had spent months filling up was suddenly empty. It was March 2020, and I knew I had to pivot, so I picked up my camera and hit the streets, showcasing the version of Wisconsin that I saw, accumulating 50,000-plus followers across my social media platforms in the span of a year and a half. Now in the final months of 2021, I find myself still in Madison, incredibly happy to be here, and excited to share what I captured.
July 6, 2021 Madison — Best City Ever. I know Madison may not be the best city ever to everyone, but I love this city. After capturing Madison throughout the height of the pandemic, I wanted to do something big. After meeting Ian Tunney ’20, another UW alum, we shot this passion project in just a couple of weeks and released it to the world.
This story originally appeared in the December 2021 issue of Badger Vibes. Learn more about this monthly email newsletter from WAA, and sign up for the mailing list.