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Hi, Adolescent readers! Happy almost Thanksgiving. This week, we’re crushing on Yves Esapa—an Orlando-based photographer whose work ranges from portrait to editorial. When he isn’t taking photos, Yves is a creative director, set designer, prop designer, and a student at the University of Central Florida. Oh, and he also runs The Bayou Mag, an outlet for creative people of color. This week, we talked to Yves about how being in Florida influences his work, what Bayou is all about, and why he opts to immerse himself in so many different mediums.
Adolescent Content: Do you think the media’s representation of Florida is generally accurate?
Yves Esapa: No, I don’t think so. I say that because when you think of Florida, you think of Miami and Disney. They never show what exists in between—they never show all the talent that sits on the back burner as all the jobs and media focus on the popular parts of Florida. Orlando is more than theme parks. We have such a diverse range of both established and emerging artists all hungry to impact the entertainment business.
Adolescent: How does your location influence your work?
Yves: My location limits my work in a way, but I try not to let it. [In Florida], we don’t have the proper resources, clients, or locations to create some of the work that you would see in LA or NY. On top of that, even if we did, the culture is so different that you’d most likely get charged for trespassing or soliciting if you tried shooting at a new location. [But I know I’ll] succeed no matter where I am. The location doesn’t make my work—I do.
Adolescent: Asides from photography, you also work on set design, creative direction, and prop-making—which is so cool. Did you get into these different forays to better control every aspect of your photos?
Yves: I actually got into these other mediums because I couldn’t pursue my true passion. I’m an actor, and I had to stop because it wasn’t paying my bills. I thought that it’d change the trajectory of my life, [and it did]—it helped me find new things I’m interested in.
Adolescent: What are you studying at the University of Central Florida?
Yves: I’m studying Visual Arts and Emerging Media Management with a minor in Theater.
Adolescent: Tell me about The Bayou Mag.
Yves: Bayou is an outlet for POC. It’s here to show that POC can do it all too. The hearth of the magazine is built on inclusion. In better words, The Bayou Mag is a place where you can come as you are no matter how different you are. The prominent issues [we tackle are] inclusion, women’s rights, BLM, and climate change. It’s a magazine for 21st-century kids and creatives that never fit the mold but create anyway, POC who [were never in the spotlight], and women who’ve always [felt] forced to be subservient. The magazine produces a culture of unity, freedom, and community.