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For all of its ills, Social Media still possesses a great many benevolent attributes. Yes, it can allow for the vapid and self-centered to take center stage but it can also enrich your life quite a bit if used correctly. Main Street Hub has taken to the use of Social Media to promote and increase awareness of the diverse businesses Los Angeles has to offer. It’s hard to be aware of everything that a city the size of LA cultivates and Main Street Hub understands that many people, especially those forty and under find what their looking for in a number of online avenues like Instagram, Facebook, Yelp, etc. The eclectic work of photographer Yuya Parker has been a prominent and continual part of creating the online presence which MSH utilizes. MSH helps grow small businesses in LA by managing their social media content on sites like Yelp, Facebook, and Instagram. They study each business and find the best way to present them via social media content. Parker used the same talents he has employed with many national brand names to create a similar exciting and established aesthetic for these burgeoning businesses. If you’ve checked out any number of local LA restaurants, flower shops, dentist, and others online, chances are that the photos you were impressed by were those composed and taken by Yuya Parker.

A photography recruiter from MSH noticed Parker’s work and reached out to him to gauge his interest in creating photos for their clients. Yuya confirms that the variety of working with a continually rotating set of businesses and people greatly appealed to him. As a musician needs to hear new sounds, a photographer needs to experience new places and new people…meaning that this was an opportunity for a continual challenge and inspiration to his artistic eye. Like an investigator, Yuya gathers information about each business and then scouts the actual location to get a sense of the space, people, and business owner themselves. The work is as much about lifestyle and capturing emotional moments as anything Parker has worked on. Photography is about telling a story, no matter what the situation. Seeing the story through both old and new eyes is what excites this photographer and allows him to communicate what is special about a business as well as the people who work and are patrons there. The people and their relationships are the heart. Parker relates, “An owner of an Italian pizza restaurant in Pasadena, CA simply wanted me to take photos of their pizzas. When I went there, there was a nice pizza dough maker; I asked him if he could make pizza dough for me while I captured the process. It was an ordinary thing for them to make fresh pizza dough but it gives the customer a different perspective. Also, when it comes to actually taking photographs, communication is everything. For a shoot of an aerial fitness class, the owners invited their students to perform for the photoshoot.

An untrained/amateur photographer might think that photos of an image are all about the product. Parker is adamant that while the product is always a part of the story, the real focus is the people. Capturing the real essence of the people in photos is where a great deal of the talent of being a true professional lies. Parker can always tell when his subjects are aware of the camera. He waits for those in-between moments when they let their guard down and show their true selves. This is when the art and the magic present themselves. Part artist and part therapist, watching Yuya at work exhibits an individual who benevolently waits for the exact moment his subject least expects to be captured before acting. He downplays the process stating, “All I do is to observe through my camera and capture a moment. When I’m at locations without paying attention to details, everything looks ordinary, but there is always a moment when people show their emotions in their eyes or body language. This cannot be hidden because this is a feeling that naturally comes out of them. I simply keep observing the people and capture these moments. When I was taking photographs of a dentist, I took a picture of him while he was interacting with his patient. His mouth and nose were covered by his facemask, but when I looked at his eyes, I could see his dedication.”

For Yuya Parker, his work with the businesses and owners associated with Main Street Hub is more about immersing himself in the human patchwork of LA than about promotion. While he is providing a service to aid these small businesses, he is actually learning about and recording a moment in the lives of these communities. While some photographers work in high fashion or cuisine promotion (something which Parker has been known to do) these imperfect places and photographs are actually perfect in their shortcomings. They transmit character and a truth that is even more intriguing that the kind which is manufactured in the hopes of eliciting an emotional response. Relating a very literal example of this, he recalls, “Many times I have been reminded of the incredible changes these small business and regular people create in the lives of others. These businesses make people happy. One patient at a dental office had been coming there for a while and knew everyone at the office. The doctor understood exactly what she needed for teeth and her facial expression when she looked at her teeth after the operation was precious. She was moving to a different place on that day and she hugged everyone as she left. It was a moment that she felt marked a change in her life for the better and these people were a major part of it. It was very moving to witness that hope first hand.”

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