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Meet Maya Umemoto Gorman of Mayamoto in Long Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maya Umemoto Gorman.

Maya, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I have been involved with the Arts all my life. When I was three years old, my parents enrolled me in my first Ballet class. After that, my love for the Arts was solidified. Until I was 18, I trained strictly in dance; Ballet, Contemporary, you name it. I was first introduced to the camera when I was a teenager because my dad ran his own production company.

I had never anticipated getting into photography specifically. I dabbled in modeling in front of a camera and still am involved with filmmaking, but photography never crossed my mind. One day, I visited an antique store in Long Beach. Looking around, I found a minolta point and shoot camera that I picked up for $20. I shot my first roll of film and fell in love. After visiting my parents in Northern California, my mom gave me her old Canon Rebel 2000. It was the camera which she had taken my own baby photos on, and I felt honored to have it passed down. After that, I could not stop shooting. I shot six personal projects within two months, and I have no anticipation of slowing down.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
With the use of all the knowledge on the internet, I learned a great deal about photography, specifically shooting on film, in a short time. I also had camera knowledge from learning about filmmaking, so in simple terms it has been a relatively smooth road.

Film has been a harder medium to learn. The hardest part about shooting film, personally, seems to be the confidence. Without the control of seeing a photo during shoots and fixing things on spot, there is a certain hesitation about trying things completely out of the norm. I find it is easier to be your most creative when you feel the most in control. Because of this, I have been pushing myself harder to stop being my own creative block. To create without fear is to truly create.

I would say it has been a smooth road in comparison to other things I have learned. Learning to dance with confidence took me years! With that in mind, I still have so much to learn about photography in general and am so excited to watch my craft grow and evolve.

Please tell us more about your art.
I am currently in the process of making art a full-time job for myself. I am a full-time student with artist dreams. Within photography and filmmaking, my goal is representation and expression through Arts. The possibilities through Arts are truly limitless! We have the chance to show people new perspectives and change the world through expressions.

If I were to pick something that sets me apart, I would say it is how genuine I am, and always try to be, when working behind the camera. When going through hardships, or just feeling certain emotions, my first instinct is to sketch out a shoot. I don’t hold back on expressing my own feelings, as well as others. If I am going through hardships or certain emotions, that means someone else has felt the same way and may benefit from its representation on screen.

In terms of models and subjects of shoots, I am most proud of making people feel beautiful in front of the camera. I have had a number of people say, “You made me feel so beautiful!” or “I usually hate pictures of myself, but I love these!” What people don’t realize is they are beautiful, all I do is capture with the eye of my camera! I am grateful to be able to allow people to see themselves through the lens of art.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I had a pretty awesome childhood, so to choose a single memory is difficult. My favorite memories as a child was always going Disneyland. When my parents would tell me we were leaving that weekend to visit the park, it would make my entire month. I remember waking up at 6am out of pure excitement, so we could go to the park when it opened. I absolutely loved the park and would stay up till it closed at midnight. I have no idea how my parents put up with me.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Email:
  • Instagram: mayamoto_

Image Credit:
Models: Kaelie Osorio, Alyssa Urrutia, Chloe Vann, Hannah Felder, Keilan Stafford

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