August 2016 Monthly Meeting

Featured Speaker: Robert K. Liu

Robert K. Liu

Working as a Craft Magazine Photographer and Editor

Program Description

After receiving my Ph.D. at UCLA as an ethologist specializing in the behavior of desert pupfishes, I worked at the School of Medicine as a gerontologist until I left in 1975 to start The Bead Journal, which soon changed its name to Ornament to encompass all jewelry and historic/artist-made clothing. I had to teach myself how to photograph these areas of personal adornment, as well as previously learning how to shoot rapidly moving fish in the wild and in aquaria. This lecture shows some aspects of my work for the last 42 years, in and out of the Ornament studio. Much of this is detailed in my recent book, The Photography of Personal Adornment.


Trained as an ethologist/ichthyologist, Robert K. Liu received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles, where he worked on experimental gerontology in the Department of Pathology, School of Medicine.

In 1975 he left biomedical research after founding The Bead Journal, which changed its title in 1978 to Ornament, a journal of personal adornment.

Self-trained as a jeweler and photographer, he is co-editor of Ornament and has written extensively on ancient, ethnographic and contemporary jewelry and personal adornment since 1974. Ancient, ethnographic and contemporary glass of China and the silicates of the Zhou and Warring States period are among some of his particular research interests.

Over the past four decades, he has lectured extensively in the US, as well as the UK and PRC and given workshops on jewelry photography, making bamboo jewelry and has recently published The Photography of Personal Adornment.

He is also the author of Collectible Beads and has written over 700 articles or other publications, including on military technology and construction equipment. He maintains interests in the behavior of endangered desert fishes, writing his last scientific paper on this topic in 2013. All of his publications are illustrated with his own photography, both film and digital. Much of his imagery is shot by macro photography.

Liu does not have a personal website but you can see his work at,


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