Buddhism, nostalgia, and emotion. A nod to human expression, the work of Jocelyn Yan
Photographer Jocelyn Yan shares with Maren Journal what inspires her work. Yan explores subjects that pull from her experiences as a queer person of color, growing up Buddhist, and being inspired by the subtleties in human emotion.
"I AM A BIG PROPONENT OF EXPRESSING COMPASSION AND UNDERSTANDING IN MY EVERYDAY LIFE. NO MATTER HOW BIG OR LITTLE AN ACTION IS, IT REALLY MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN THE WAY WE TREAT AND VIEW OTHERS. GROWING UP IN A BUDDHIST HOUSEHOLD, I WAS ALWAYS TAUGHT TO RESPECT SENTIENT BEINGS AND TO VIEW LIFE AS A CYCLE IN WHICH WE ARE ALL INTERCONNECTED. THIS OUTLOOK HAS GIVEN ME PURPOSE AND HAS INEVITABLY AFFECTED THE WAY I PHOTOGRAPH MY SUBJECTS. IN A WAY, I’M VERY MUCH INSPIRED AND MOVED BY PEOPLE’S EMOTIONS AND THEN CAPTURING THE SUBTLETIES OF THESE EXPRESSIONS."
"MY PHOTOGRAPHY HAS A SENSE OF NOSTALGIA AND SADNESS. THE UNDERLYING THEMES I TRY TO PULL ARE CONTRADICTING IDENTITIES - STRENGTH IN SADNESS, COMFORT IN LONELINESS, ETC. AS A QUEER PERSON OF COLOR, I FEEL VERY MUCH OBLIGED TO CREATE IMAGES THAT ARE RELEVANT TO NOT ONLY QTPOC, BUT MARGINALIZED GROUPS IN GENERAL. EXPLORING THE CONCEPT OF SUFFERING IS APPEALING TO ME AS IT IS A COMMONALITY HUMAN BEINGS CAN IDENTIFY WITH."
Words by Jocelyn Yan, see more from her photo series below.