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Meet Eyoälha Baker of Jump for Joy Photo Project

Today we’d like to introduce you to Eyoälha Baker.

After finding herself feeling anxiety-ridden, depressed, disconnected and undirected in her life, Eyoälha Baker decided to make some drastic changes. In 2010, she was at the messy end of an emotionally abusive relationship, in a business she was not passionate about, stressed out and feeling purposeless. Eyoälha decided it was time to reset her life, so she sold her car, her share of the business, packed up what fit in two suitcases and set out traveling the world to rediscover herself and how she could impact the world in a positive way.

After a few months through Europe, she decided to try settling in Los Angeles. The settling part didn’t stick very long, however, LA has become a regular check-in point for a few months every year since she began her vagabond lifestyle. After a couple of years on the road and deep soul searching, Eyoälha made a list of things that inspired her. She included everything she wanted to feel and how she wanted to impact the world. She had always been passionate about photography and while doing jumping photos on her travels and noticed the way it could instantly alter the way people felt.

She decided to make creating and sharing joy her mission in life and started the Jump for Joy Photo Project. She began setting up photo sessions and taking photos of people jumping up, expressing their uniqueness and joy and posting them on her blog. The project immediately took off and began building an international audience. In 2014, Eyoälha had an opportunity to paste her images up on the outside of a building in a derelict neighbourhood. Through this experience, she realized greater opportunities could be had by partnering with nonprofit and service agencies to create more impactful large scale public art murals that promote joy and uplift people from all walks of life.

These murals would impact thousands of more people on a regular basis, inspiring hope and joy among disenfranchised and neglected populations. On her second mural she partnered with Atira Women’s Resource Society, a nonprofit organization committed to the work of ending violence against women through direct service and educational programs, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Eyoälha worked with people experiencing low income, drug addiction, prostitution, abuse, and mental illness and included them in the project and had a powerful impact on the community. It was clear her work had global, far-reaching implications.

Eyoälha has become internationally recognized for her artwork and was invited to participate in several talks, including TEDX, about the importance and impact of creating joy in society. In 2018, she was invited as the inaugural Artist in Residence with the Palm Springs Cultural Center in California. Eyoälha has several self-published books in the works, with both jumping photos and her creative art photography, as well as two potential locations for her next large scale public art murals (follow along on Social Media for updates).

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
This journey has had its ups and downs, literally. I gave up a lot of everyday comforts and took a lot of risks to create this project with sheer determination and willpower. When I decided to start the project in 2012, I had no money, was couchsurfing from place to place and doing odd jobs for cash living well below the poverty level.

At the same time, I was experiencing the beauty, kindness, and generosity of people who believed in and supported the work I am creating. Probably the biggest challenge to date has been overcoming many layers of fear, self-doubt and worth issues. This project has pushed me to grow in many ways, learn things on the spot, be flexible, adaptive and open to possibilities.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
As an artist and photographer, I recognize that images are powerful tools of persuasion, they impact us viscerally which is why they are effectively used in advertising and propaganda. Images instantly impact the emotions and the minds of people. We are constantly bombarded with negative news and fear-inducing images around the world.

As a collective, this shapes our culture, our relationships, daily interactions, how we feel about ourselves and others, and how we view the world. This fear-based energy builds fearful, untrusting societies, causing divides amongst people, which then perpetuates such things as racism, bigotry, sexism, religious intolerance, and class warfare. If societies learn to fear each other in reaction to negative images and news stories, they can also be inspired to open up, unite and be kinder to one another by responding compassionately to positive images.

Jump for Joy Photo Project is about uplifting ourselves and others, bringing people together through interactive art, promoting and sharing joyful energy. Her goal is to represent people from different cultures, races, economic backgrounds, and genders by creating and sharing uplifting art that engages and inspires community connection around the world. By creating participatory and collaborative strategic partnerships with others, Eyoälha aims to inspire connection and unite people around the world through joy and shared experience.

What were you like growing up?
As a child, I spent a lot of time in nature, traveling the world and had a lot of freedom to explore. I was extremely lucky to have adventurous parents who were anti-status quo, lived off the grid and traveled often. My first year of life was lived in a Teepee beside a river in Squamish.

Just before I turned two, my family packed up the TeePee, traveled through Europe in a van and moved to Marrakech, Morocco where we lived in the van/teepee for nearly a year (my brother was born there).

The rest of my childhood was a combination of moving on and off the Capilano Indian Reservation in Vancouver, BC, road trips through the USA, and traveling to places like Thailand, Sri Lanka, Japan, and Hong Kong. All this travel at a young age gave me a deep appreciation for human similarities and an appreciation for cultural differences.

Pricing:

  • Jump for Joy Photo Session / Feature $150 (sliding scale for inclusion + pay it forward if you have the means)
  • Portrait Session $350
  • HALF DAY PACKAGE $1250 / FULL DAY PACKAGE $2500

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.jumpforjoyphotoproject.com / www.eyoalha.com
  • Email: eyoalha@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @jumpforjoyphotoproject @eyoalha
  • Facebook: /jumpforjoyphotoproject /eyoalhabakerartphotography
  • Twitter: @jumpforjoyphoto @eyoalha
  • Yelp: Eyoalha Baker Art Photography

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.

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