The Lens of Photo Creator Ha Yi
Rooted in Origins
The great Chinese philosopher Confucius has been known to have said, “Everything has it’s beauty, but not everyone sees it.” Perhaps photo creator Ha Yi knew exactly where her mind and heart was at the time she decided to name her Instagram handle @confuciusyii after the famed politician and her personal website Dynasty Photos, not to mention that Confucius is also the philosophy of her ancestors and immediate family.
Now calling Denver, Colorado home, Ha is a direct descendant from the House of Yi, who ruled Korea from the 1300s to the 1930s. She moved to Denver from Atlanta and expresses that it was the best decision she’s ever made.
Letting Pictures Speak
Ha portrays her portrait photography in ways that convey nothing short of phenomenal beauty and skill of the eye. You barely need to scroll past the first few photos on her page to realize that what you are about to look at it is not just simple picture taking but sheer admiration for the craft of photography and the desire to perfect it with each press of the button. To say that getting a great shot of someone and calling it a day is far from the story Ha’s photos tell though. There is a deep connection and meaning of not only the excellence of the picture but also the individual inside the photo.
The mood, the expression, and the emotion captured in her photos speak volumes almost as if words were spoken out loud for all to hear. Ha’s inspiration stems from childhood trauma’s and confidence struggles from her formative years which she now uses to bring positivity and awareness about how to love yourself and giving yourself a chance to shine.
Bound by Inspiration and Joy
For a lot of people, and yes, many other photographers, getting a great portrait shot is all they want or need from their subject. Everyone has a story though and Ha strives to gain something other than just a great photo session. She wishes to gain an experience where she and her subject can really come together on life experiences and share them. It’s the joy of building a relationship through the lens that gives Ha a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction in her photography.
"Each person I get to work with, I get to learn about who they are and what brings them joy. Getting to experience and celebrate their sense of self brings me joy. In a way, it's an exchange of love! That's why I love taking photos of people!"
Ha passionately believes that the raw essence of a person; what they feel, stand for, believe in, and how they view the world they live in goes hand in hand with every photography session she undertakes. It’s through photography that you can sense her love for humanity and the curiosity for the vast array of lifestyles people live and the experiences they encounter. Her main goal is to cultivate an experience for her models and to ensure a level of safety when taking photos of their vulnerability. The stories of others can add value to one's self in more ways than you think.
Her joy, as she states in her quote above, is the aftermath of someone else’s joy and how better to achieve the highest level of joy than for it to be passed on from the soul of another human. We are all connected and its in our nature to seek connection with others whether it’s through a coffee shop conversation, the lyrics of a song, the movements in a dance, or through the beautiful form of art. It is through photography that Ha desires to not just experience the lives of others but to also help shine a light on places that are sometimes left in the dark in the world today such as social justice issues.
The diversity in her photography takes center stage and it goes to show the importance of social issues and how she feels she has a part in making an impact. Wanting to explore people’s uniqueness and sense of identity plays a common theme as she looks to help uncover what might want to stay hidden.
One look at her work shows that you have the absolute freedom to stand in front of her camera unashamed and unafraid to be exactly who you are and no one else. “Photography has given me the opportunity to show others how beautiful I see them, and asking permission to share them with my view”, Ha says and goes on to state that she makes it a point to practice levels of consent and giving whoever she takes photos of that power to express themselves without judgment.
It’s no secret that photography can speak loudly without the use of words but the incredible work of Ha Yi does more that speak. It directs, persuades, and pierces the space between your eyes and your computer screen forcing you to ask yourself the question, “What is their story?” A question we as humans should all take part in asking more often.
She is a full Sony user and uses a Sony Ar7ii paired with her favorite Sigma f1.4 lens. You can view Ha’s incredible work and purchase it as well through Scopio. Scopio is centered and driven on helping the world discover photography at it’s finest. Providing a spotlight on photographers around the world so they can be better known a big part of Scopio’s story. Ha’s Scopio page can be found here. Other photographers like Ha can be found with Scopio if you’re looking for inspiration for yourself or even if you just love photography and viewing the handiwork of other artists.