Liysa is an internationally respected outdoor sports photographer, whose work has appeared in hundreds of magazines, and whose film footage has appeared on National Geographic and the Discovery channels, in feature films, commercials and in documentary films. She is the only woman in the world ever to win the prestigious contract to film the Triple Crown of Surfing from the impact zone in the huge waves at Pipeline, Sunset Beach and Haleiwa. Liysa spent all of her life learning to read the nuances in the ever-changing natural world.
She was born in New Mexico, spent her childhood in Washington, Oregon, Missouri, Wyoming and moved to Hawaii at age 20. She attended college in Oregon, California, New York before graduating from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Always athletic and an avid reader, Liysa balanced her love of literature with immersion in the sea. She worked at Sea Life Park (and as a cocktail waitress and photographer to put herself through college.) She obtained her research SCUBA certification through the University of Hawaii and worked for the State of Hawaii as a research diver for the Dept of Aquatic Resources DLNR in the leeward chain. Some of her work contributed to the effort to get the area designated as a national marine sanctuary.
Liysa won the Myrtle Clark Award for Creative Writing, and became a professional photographer with Getty images. She wrote a book “Hanauma Bay, an Island Treasure,” and several screenplays (one of which, “Local Color,” was optioned by Imagine Studios.) She wrote, edited was one of the cinematographers for the movie, “A Little Hawaiian Style.” She was a second unit cinematographer on “The Endless Summer II.” Additionally, Liysa earned her paralegal certification, and is a CAD-certified home designer. She even performed stunts on Baywatch. She has designed and built a number of homes that were functional, beautiful and highly sought after.
Liysa’s work is represented by Getty Images, and Design Pics. In addition to her stock agencies, Liysa and her husband Rick Swart have a high-impact photography/cinematography business: “Pisces Pics.com.” Liysa is also a certified yoga instructor. She currently teaches yoga at the Estacada community center and conducts private lessons. She incorporates the benefits of meditative practice with the energizing and toning physical routines.
Her career has taken her throughout the world to locales including Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga, Bali, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Japan, Mexico, Canada and many other places. She has been to every state in the USA except Maine.
Liysa hails from mixed ancestry. She's been active in Native American/Hawaiian rights and environmental protection. Now she is also devoting a major portion of her energy into improving the plight of other Domestic Violence Victims. She is a Project Coordinator with “Voices Set Free,” a non-profit agency that deals with justice-involved families and promotes education about Domestic violence issues. She is currently speaking to groups and working to create legislative changes that would prevent the tragedy her family endured, and which far too many families face.
Voices Set Free works to change (improve) the status of victims of domestic violence, offers peer-support to victims and those involved in the justice system. Another branch of this organization works to help victims who are unfairly incarcerated due to antiquated laws that do not follow the tenets of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA.)Voices Set Free also lobbies for alternatives to keep children and parents together through restorative justice and structured educational programs. These programs save the states millions of dollars, prevent recidivism and reduce further trauma to children.
Mahatma Ghandi, who is known as the father of non-violence, when asked if faced with a situation of protecting a loved one with violence or remaining passive he said without hesitation you must us violence to protect a loved one because cowardice and standing idly by is a far greater sin than protecting what you love.