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Check out Yana Tinker’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yana Tinker.

Yana, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
My story begins in Soviet Russia, where I was born. My dad photographed for fun. Some nights, he would turn our little kitchen into a magic machine, a dark room where he developed his photos. I would beg my parents to let me stay up late, just so I could watch him work and see the incredible process.

When I was 9, my family immigrated to the US in pursuit of the American Dream. To good ol’ Dallas, Texas we went!

Throughout my childhood, I shared my father’s love of photography. Since it was all film back then, I loved getting to see the photos printed out. I mostly took photos of people, but my second favorite subject was my cat doing awkward things.

I took photos throughout high school and college for fun, because I treasured the memories we were making and wanted to preserve them. Even though I learned to develop my own work in the campus darkroom, the thought of becoming a professional photographer still hadn’t even crossed my mind by the time I was done with my bachelor’s degree. After college, I worked different jobs but I never felt like I was working towards my career.

Eventually, I fell in love with a musician, Andrew Tinker, who encouraged me take my creativity and photography skills to the next level. In 2012 I bought myself a pro digital SLR camera and then signed up for a workshop with Sam Anise at Beaux Arts Photography. I was so inspired by the class! I started setting up my own photo shoots with friends and developing my style. One day, I reached out to Sam and begged him to give me an internship of any kind. He said he didn’t have any space, he didn’t really do internships, and he didn’t need any help. I was determined and my persistence paid off – he agreed to meet and review my work. Sam told me I had a good eye, and decided to give me a chance. That was probably one of the best days of my life. A successful pro photographer believed in me. I quit my full time job, and started interning for him. Watching Sam work, I could see the whole process: from the planning, to the session, to “painting” (as he called it) in Lightroom, to the beautiful prints hanging on the walls of his studio. I was inspired to plan more photo shoots of my own, and before long, my prints and canvases were starting to show up on the walls of my friends’ houses. I started taking any gig I could get, from little league teams, to weddings, to senior photos at big retail portrait studios, to corporate events. I even shot in a little studio in a department store. I continued to attend photography workshops and conferences. I studied the masters, read their books and took their classes online. With each of those steps I gained experience and built the network that would become Yana’s Photos.

In June of 2017, Andrew and I got married, and the following month we packed up our bags and moved here to Los Angeles where, like my parents did when we moved to the US, we started fresh with a new perspective and thrill for a new life here in California. We’re happy and grateful to say that both our businesses and relationship have continued to grow!

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I love being one on one with a client and truly getting to know them, I want to hear people, see inside their lives, to tell their story in photos. Great photos can put the viewer’s heart right there into the very moment that the image was captured. Hope and ambition of a teenager in her last few months of high school, the connection between family members as they experience the first few days with a newborn son, the emotion a groom feels the first time he sees his bride in a dress that’s been kept secret for months, all of that captured in a click – for a lifetime. I want those moments to live on people’s walls to be seen, to be remembered of where they’ve been, and how far they’ve come. I see beauty in people, and I photograph because I want people to see that beauty for themselves.

What do you know now that you wished you had learned earlier?
For what it’s worth, I’d say any artist should focus on being true to themselves, as cliché as that sounds. One of the biggest challenges that I’ve personally faced is developing my own style. There are so many great professional examples, it can be easy to get lost in what’s trendy and popular. I have learned that I have my own particular magic that’s unique to who I am and to the people I photograph, I just have to keep putting myself into the work.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
People can check out my work on my website, www.yanasphotos.com. For a glimpse into an actual photo session, they can take a look at my blog, blog.yanasphotos.com, and follow me on Facebook and Instagram, @yanasphotos. But the best way to really experience my work is to do a session with me. Email me at yana@yanasphotos.com and tell me about yourself!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Andrew Tinker and our dog Lucy at Big Acre Sound (Andrew’s recording studio in TX)

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

3 Comments

  1. Carrie Bradley

    April 25, 2018 at 00:36

    Your work is beautiful and I love your story!

    • Yana Tinker

      April 25, 2018 at 02:49

      Thank you and thanks for taking the time to read my story!

  2. Carrie Bradley

    April 25, 2018 at 00:36

    Your work and your story is beautiful!

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