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Meet Trailblazer Yamarie (a.k.a. Yams)

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yamarie (a.k.a. Yams).

Thanks for sharing your story with us Yamarie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started around age 14/15. My family had a video recorder and I would sometimes use it when we all went to my brother’s house for family gatherings. My sister used to come visit me and my younger brother, she would bring her Kodak cameras and I would take photos when we went outside. Got my first camera when I was 16 years old (thanks to my mom and sister), it was a point and shoot camera. I took a bunch of images until it got stolen. I used my sidekick phone (at the time) to take photos or used a family member’s phone or friend’s phone to take photos of whatever I felt I should capture. Then, I’d email it to myself and experiment in a program called Paint. Paint was my photoshop/lightroom, nothing near it but it was cool to see what I ended up creating. Moviemaker was a video program I used to edit video and or make a slide show using photos which I only did for the family. In college, I bought my 1st digital camera Canon 60D. I learned a lot with that camera, about lighting, using the manual mode, lenses, video formats, formats for photos, and troubleshooting. Also, the importance of always having a flash in your camera bag. College, I learned about video which I was able to translate into photography since they use some of the same terminologies. I’ve done a sweet 16, photos and video, didn’t like it. Baby showers, didn’t like that either, but when it came to music concerts, street photography, portraits, bts of music videos/photoshoots etc, those were and still are fun for me.

Fast forward to today, I am where I am because of not giving up, networking, working with all types of people/brands, saying yes to every opportunity, and hustling. There were times I tried to fully give up and sell my equipment but I ended up getting clients during those times of wanting to quit. Now that I’m in LA, I feel I got the opportunities out here because of Instagram and my old website showcasing the work I’ve done with artists/friends/ at concerts/ brands, etc. Also, because of my humbled and “Go get it” personality. I’ve always been a hustler. I’m from New York, the home of the hustlers. To view my work check out, eventually I’ll get an official website.

Has it been a smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road, there’s no way to grow & learn if it was a smooth road. I’ve been in situations that I feel I was being taken advantage of due to my kindness and not being an argumentative person. Being overlooked because I am a female, my work didn’t consist of music artist, wasn’t clean/sharp or didn’t have great quality, I would also say because there’s a lot of photographers now so I feel at times I m being overlooked like “oh, you’re a photographer too, tell me who isn’t?”. When I had my first logo, people would crop my logo out, give no credit, which still happens today. I’ve just learned to place the logo in a better place than can’t babe cropped.

Nowadays you have to prove to people and yourself that photography isn’t just a hobby, you have to show you love doing this 100%. While you prove that, you also have to show growth in your photos so that those who looked down at you can say “Wow, look at her/him. I’m surprised, didn’t think she/he would get this great at photography, or make it this far, or work with so and so. etc.”

I’ve had the privilege to work on @benjaminkickz website, flew out to Florida, took photos of all his sneakers, photoshopped them, and upload them to the site. I’ve also worked with music artist/songwriters/music producers throughout the years but aside to that, I’ve worked with, Roc Nation Latin, Latina magazine, Rolling Stone, US Weekly, Republic Records, Nike, Billboard hot 100 fest, DJ booth, Grungecake, AKOO clothing, Jack Daniels for PRIDE in NY, BET weekend Corona, and Hennessy. Featured in VSCO, PUMA & now VoyageLA! More to come!

Advice to young women, stay true to yourself. Figure out your niche, what kind of photography style you want to focus on? figure out your own editing style that separates you from other photographers, take time for YOU. Your mental health and health, in general, is very important, take breaks from time to time, its okay if you feel uninspired it happens to everyone, challenge yourself, do something different in every shoot, don’t play it safe, take risks, ask questions, always be eager to learn more, truly love it with or without the money being involved, create small projects for yourself or create small collaboration projects. Don’t compare your journey to someone else’s who may have started earlier than you or because they have a more expensive camera than you, don’t think someone’s work is better than yours. Look at it as motivation to better yourself and your work, and be inspired by it. If this is really what you want to do for the rest of your life, don’t give up, take it a day at a time, a project at a time, a gig at a time, and just continue to be the best you can be. At the end of every year, write down what has happened to you in that year. Good and bbad, what you learned from it, the opportunities you received. That way you can visually see if you done more than what you think.

What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?
Im more of a photographer and I do videos from time to time. I realize I love portraits in photography. In video, I haven’t figured out what I specialize in; yet. I would say I’m known for portraits/street photography. As a brand, I am proud that I am versatile, a hustler and humbled. What sets me apart from others is I continue taking photos regardless of the numbers of likes I receive because I know someone out there will love my work for what its worth. I don’t care for status in the industry, what’s your character and morals like? how do you treat people? Good character over status any day.

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well-positioned for?
Yes I do feel there are jobs that are particularly for women, being a teacher, a nurse, a home aid etc. Females are not really seen or respected in the science field, construction field, any field that’s more male dominant, women aren’t respected or given chances. In order for women to be accepted in a male dominated field, we have to work 10 times harder and prove that we can do the same job as a male & sometimes we end up doing a better job. Ive had my experiences where I didn’t get much gigs because I am a female or because my appearance doesn’t look like I have strength like a man. When I got interviewed to do theater work, I was normally interviewed by men. He would say “we would need you to carry/push about 50 lbs” look at me, wrap up the inrerview and act like he was going to call me back. Obviously he didn’t. Sometimes I did get the call back, which was a good feeling. Women can work In any field.

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