2015 was about me rethinking why I do what I do. For me photography has always been about telling stories that matter most and using my art to give back (while making a few bucks at the same time!). Eight and a half years ago in San Diego I was just embarking on a journey of discovering what it meant to do photography meaningfully.
I will say that Mike and Judy were two of the very first people to ever believe in my work as a way of making a difference in this world. Back in 2007 together with a few friends, I had just begun a college collective of artists who cared deeply about justice among the poor in Africa and saw our art as a means of giving back. Soon we were positioning ourselves to sell our art and have 100% of the after-cost proceeds go towards a few non-profits that served the poor in Africa. That year I was approached by Judy who was looking for a way to do party favors without them having to be so party-favorish at her upcoming wedding…upon seeing my work the two of them decided to purchase several of my prints to give away to their wedding guests. In the end we were able to give a considerable sum towards supporting orphans in Africa through International Justice Mission and World Vision. Back then I was floored by how far we went with this simple little idea. Today I still am. It was Mike and Judy’s belief in my work that has given me courage even today, to continue what I started with 7% of my proceeds today going towards giving back to meaningful causes. Never in my dreams did I think I’d ever get to be doing this.
Last fall I was sweetly surprised to bump into Mike at a friend’s BBQ in Pasadena and we reconnected. They spoke with the same vigor and passion for change that they did then. 8 and a half years later after our first meeting they had their firstborn son, Remy Jeriah Yu. I was so honored when Judy asked me capture their new family with little Pudgy their dog. Of course, there didn’t have to be much convincing.
Last Sunday they dedicated Remy at church and I was so glad to be there to witness it and and smile upon his beautiful face.
Thank you Mike and Judy for believing in me as much as you have. The power of your support goes beyond words.