We had the good fortune of connecting with Maya Umemoto Gorman and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Maya, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
My favorite affirmation is “If not now, then when.” A lot of times I am my best friend and my worst enemy. I’ll have ideas for potential work and find myself wanting to wait until I get new gear, or have learned new techniques, etc. There is always room in terms of wanting to grow and get better in your craft, however, this affirmation always reminds me to stay/create in the present. When you have an idea? Do it! Trust yourself and your ability to create what you envision. You are capable.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Man, this is a loaded question. My art is a reflection of the world I see and want to see more of. I love photographing people who are not used to being in front of the camera and people of color because that is the world that we live in yet is constantly ignored by media. I photograph friends and loved ones who claim they “aren’t photogenic,” when they are stunning inside and out. I really do blame the selective nature of the industry and the constant capture of cis, hetero, skinny white men and women. No representation is innocent, and to continue building this world through photos sends a message to everyone else that they are not part of/worthy of the mainstream spotlight. SO not true. My work allows anyone to become art and is a space for people of color to shine and inspire others just by being their beautiful, individual selves.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Putting the sadness from covid not allowing this type of thing to happen anymore, I would take them on a day through the town! I’m from Sacramento, California and used to complain about how boring the area is but I have a grown so grateful for the little gems in the town. I would take them to grab food (I love thai) and sit in the park for a few hours. The perfect scene would be a picnic blanket, food, music playing and a slightly cloudy sky. We would have to make time to grab cakes from a desert diner and hit all the thrifting spots around town. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to shout out the film photography community on Youtube. Specifically, Willem Verbeek, Vuhlandes, ShotbyShingie, NegativeFeedback, and Vincent Perry Jr. I guess it really does take a village, haha. These creators taught me almost everything I know about film photography. As a filmmaker, I know how much time and effort it takes to consistently create content for Youtube and these creators take the time to make content that opens doors to a whole new art form for so many people. Considering not everyone has access to photography classes, I hope they know how many artists they have inspired (myself included) and given the gift of photography by sharing their own experiences and knowledge.

Website: mayamoto.art

Instagram: @mayamoto_

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.