Rachel Yi ’16 documents her service in Tijuana through photography

Shelby Mumford April 27, 2016 Comments Off on Rachel Yi ’16 documents her service in Tijuana through photography
Rachel Yi ’16 documents her service in Tijuana through photography
Rachel Yi's senior photography project was on display in the Upstairs Gallery in April. Yi focused her project around her monthly community service trips to senior homes in Tijuana, Mexico. The images depict the joy that is found in the Tijuana communities despite the hardships of poverty. Photographer: Marya Alford.

Rachel Yi ’16 knew what she was getting herself into when she arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, with her camera, but she wasn’t going to let her fear of judgement stop her.

For the past four years, Yi has been traveling to Tijuana once a month for community service with her mother’s church, and she stays for a week during the summertime. While there, she visits senior homes and women’s shelters.

Yi began the service project expecting to help others, but found that she had just as much to gain from the relationships she built. Many of the people she interviewed had been deported from California. Her hope is to elicit change and be an activist for poverty.

Rachel Yi '16 speaks with guest about her photography during her Senior Exhibit Opening on Apr. 21. Photographer: Marya Alford.

Rachel Yi ’16 speaks with guest about her photography during her Senior Exhibit Opening on Apr. 21. Photographer: Marya Alford.

“Taking these pictures was an enlightening, life-changing experience for me,” Yi wrote in her artist statement. “I wanted to capture this sense of optimism despite the challenging circumstances and to portray the subjects in an uplifting manner.”

Yi is currently creating a documentary about deportation, poverty and the sense of community that she found in Tijuana.

“I think it’s such an ambitious, beautiful, powerful body of work. Just being her teacher, I’m super proud of what she’s accomplished this year and pulling in aspects that I saw from last year that she’s been working with. This drive for creating this documentary style of work is empowering,” photography teacher Marya Alford said.

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