“With other images, I wanted to show her in the craft – her own creative moment. I did that by creating a tighter frame. But I wouldn’t say I was stopping to consider different approaches a lot of the time. Sometimes I’ll snap a quick photo, and even if it’s blurry, I love it, because it’s true to what I saw and experienced. If I have an impact on a portrait, it’s mostly limited to creating an atmosphere where someone can just be. Then I’m separate to the moment, documenting it from the sidelines. If that happens, I’m fine with the results, however they look.”
Unconscious as it may be, as an image maker, Eli still has to shape images to some degree. He dials in settings – although often loosely – and releases the shutter when the urge comes. While high resolution and gleaming specifications are likely of little concern, through the process-driven aspects of the work, he finds value in his tools.
“I had FUJIFILM X-T4 and XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR. I’d been using another mirrorless system beforehand, but this camera was great. It came out of nowhere for me. I love how analog it is. That helped me slow down and stay meditative. The Film Simulations also let me explore some real creative looks in-camera.”
Proud of the simplistic results, and grateful for the lessons, what’s next for Eli Yanez?
“A little bit of everything,” he says. “Right now, I’m working out how I can turn my photography, and broader platform, into a form of activism – that’s the end goal. I want to do something that matters, telling important stories, sharing perspectives that aren’t heard as much as they need to be. I don’t know what it will look like, but I do know I’ll find it, and I’m excited to see what form it takes.”