Hi everyone! This week I am interviewing Renee Choi, a beautiful photographer from NYC.
I’m sure you have seen her pictures on Instagram already if you are a fellow yogi lover as I am. I have seen her pictures multiple times on Social Media and as I loved them, I finally decided to ask for an interview in my new category Yogi Photographer!
Hi Renee! Can you introduce yourself a bit to the readers who don’t know you yet?
Hi, I’m Renee Choi and I’m a movement photographer based out of NYC. I also practice yoga, which is where my love for movement photography started.
Can you tell us about your yogi journey?
I believe that people come to yoga looking for something, even if it’s just as simple as a different way to move. I was looking for a new distraction post breakup. I had done yoga at my gym but it was pretty shitty and props were not explained and I would always leave class in pain so I just stopped. And then I met my first teacher Julie Mellk and everything changed.
What does yoga mean for you?
The union of breath and movement, and being in the present moment. I believe there is yoga in everything we do where we are fully present, not just restricted to asana.
Can you describe us what you do in a casual, normal day?
I still work a full-time job that pays my bills so I’m there during the week and then I’ll have either a shoot, edit a shoot, take a yoga class, dinner with a friend, get to the gym – or some combination of them all.
How did you decide to become a yoga photographer?
It wasn’t a conscious decision so much as something that just evolved. I’ve always done photography off and on – I actually started in the darkroom processing my own film and printing my own images. Then I was on my first yoga retreat and casually taking photos of my teacher friends with a point and shoot camera and thought, I really love this. And that’s the short story of how it started. At that point, Instagram yoga had been a thing for a couple years.
How did you train to be a yoga photographer?
I didn’t train. I’ve learned as I’ve worked shooting people, understanding movement, and refining my own eye.
What gear do you use for your work?
For photos I use the Fujifilm xt3. For video I use the Sony A6500.
How do you find inspiration?
From the people I shoot: how every body moves so differently. From different photographers: what do I like about their work and how can I interpret that into my own imagery.
Who are your biggest inspirations?
Everyone who works hard in their dedication to level up what they are doing.
Do you see yoga as art?
What’s your secret for beautiful pictures?
I try and uphold what I believe are the responsibilities of the photographer: to establish trust with my subject, and then to connect what they are doing with their environment. Whether it’s playing with light, lines, shapes or all the above, how can I make something that has been seen thousands of times before into something new.
And finally, can you share with us one book that really impacted your life?
The first photography book I purchased was called “Women before 10am” by Veronique Vial. It solidified my love for black and white photography, for capturing the essence of your subject while telling a story.
Thanks for answering Renée!