Five Questions with Joy Yi
Current Occupation: Photographer and Documentary Filmmaker
Workshops: Project Los Angeles
Instructors: Matt Rose, Dotan Saguy, Gail Fisher, Tom Smith, Cosima Reichenbach
© Joy Yi/Momenta Workshops
1. What motivated you to take a workshop and why did you pick Momenta?
The Alexia Foundation generously offered a scholarship to attend one of four Momenta Workshops. I wanted to learn how to tell deeper stories in an abbreviated time frame and to work with a nonprofit in Los Angeles.
2. What surprised you most about the location you visited or the experience of working with a nonprofit?
Researching A Place Called Home (APCH) was one thing, but to see the programs and people in action was a unique and wonderful experience. The breadth and depth of APCH’s work: the academic rigor, mentorship, honest/ difficult conversations between students and teachers, the diversity of programs, and the resolute commitment of APCH staff to the overall well-being of the students they serve – I was in awe of it all.
I was most impressed by RISE, a program designed to help underserved youth graduate from high school. The teacher-to-student ratio and complexity of coursework and academic support was something I did not expect to see from a nonprofit.
3. What was the best lesson you took away from your workshop?
It was invaluable to work with Matt Rose in the middle of an “assignment” and have the opportunity to shoot again in the field. Matt saw my whole take from the first day and offered very honest feedback and practical, compositional suggestions. One of my favorite sayings of his was “commit to the moment.”
4. What was your favorite photograph from this workshop & why?
My favorite image is the one from the playground. I like the composition, lighting, and color of the photo.
5. What would you tell a potential student to help them prepare for their experience with Momenta?
Research your organization and work out logistics as much as possible prior to the workshop.
During your time with the nonprofit, shoot, shoot, shoot, but also put your camera down and take time to listen, learn, and ask questions.
Joy Yi’s Biography:
Joy is a California native and an independent photographer and filmmaker based in Northern Virginia. Her passion is to use media as a means for examining important social and historic issues, particularly those related to equity and civil rights. She is currently working on a long-term multimedia project in the Barry Farm community of Washington, D.C.
See Joy’s work: