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Life & Work with Yuya Parker

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yuya Parker.

Hi Yuya, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Art was an important part of my upbringing. My mother was the owner of a store that sold beautiful art and textiles, and my grandmother was skilled at traditional calligraphy and ikebana (Japanese flower arranging). I enjoyed photography when I was young but originally planned on studying landscape design. I moved to Los Angeles to begin my college studies, and that’s when my passion for photography became clear. I got excited about photographing all of the colorful and delicious baked goods I would see around Los Angeles, and in the process, I started to get a lot of positive feedback about my photographs. I decided to study photography and enrolled at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. I now have a career in photography that I love. I’ve recently done photography for companies including Starbucks, Smirnoff, and Airbnb. I’ve also photographed for many companies that are doing exciting and innovating things. For example, I recently worked with one company that makes reusable shopping bags from ocean waste and another that makes cat treats from lab-grown meat.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It has been a fulfilling journey and I’ve learned a lot, but it has taken a lot of hard work. I’ve worked hard at developing my own style, and I’m always improving and incorporating new ideas in my work. While my creativity is what keeps me motivated to take on projects, I’m also proud of the business skills I’ve developed in order to be able to be a working photographer. When I first set out to become a photographer, I didn’t realize just how much of the job is business, but it’s been a good challenge and I’ve developed those skills over the years.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’m a commercial photographer specializing in product, food, and architecture photography. I’m known for colorful and eye-catching photography with an element of fun. I’m proud of the photography career I’ve built and I’m grateful for all of the talented stylists, designers, and art directors I’ve gotten to work with. I’m proud of my personal series that I’ve been working on over several years called “Food as Contemporary Art.” It started as just a small project and has grown into something really important to me and has led me to some really great experiences. It’s also my personal work that informs my commercial work, so it’s at the heart of what I do. What sets me apart from others is that I find a clear artistic vision and then I am persistent in pursuing it. All artists have their own vision, but it’s the persistence that allows the time for your skills to develop and the vision to be expressed clearly.

What does success mean to you?
I define success by following my intuition and achieving what I set out to do. I also think an important part of success is being able to appreciate all of the people who helped you achieve it. I have a community of talented people who I have gotten to work with over the last few years, and we all learn and they have set the bar high for me and done great work on my crews.

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