Written by Megan Balani
Edited by Morgan Jenkins
Dolly Yin (she/they) is a senior studying sociology. She calls Shenzhen, China and Boston her two homes, which influences her perspective of art and beauty within two different cultures. She channels her incredible mind through thought-provoking and emotional photography, inviting in a feeling of nostalgia for the people, objects, and streets she captures. Her work inspires both a sense of discovery and comfort, invoking the experience of being on a voyage and also at home with every photo and video.
Megan: How did you get into photography?
Dolly: I started in high school taking random pictures with my cell phone, because I really liked to record the beautiful moments of my life. I remember editing those pictures on my phone and trying to make sense of what every button meant. Like what’s “saturation” and what’s “noice”. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I had my first camera - it was a very old film camera that’s hidden in my parents’ closet. I remember asking my parents if I could take that and they said sure. So that’s when I officially decided that I want to make photography a hobby of mine.
Megan: It’s a blessing that your parents decided to give it to you! I assume that your love for photography has grown. Why does it continue to be important in your life?
Dolly: Photography at first was just something that I did by myself. But then as I started to post about my pictures on social media, I got to know a bunch of other people who share the same interest, so I became friends with them. I remember driving for 2 hours with them just to take one picture of a sunset by the sea. My friends and I sat and waited for the sun to go down. I imagined that if I was doing this alone, it must have been super boring. But I had friends with me and we talk and share stories of ourselves, and those moments are very precious to me.
Also, I am a big movie fan, and I learned a lot of photography strategies from some really good directors. When I play with the lighting and camera positions, I just feel a huge sense of achievement. Now I’m mostly doing street shots, and that allows me to record my perspective of a corner of the city, which I think is very special.
Megan: With the time that you spent with directors and new friends, has that
influenced the projects you are interested in? What projects are you currently working on?
Dolly: I’m now taking a FT201 Film Language class with BU. I just put together a photo montage project named “Thru the streets of Italy”.
So basically we were asked to find somewhere in the city that we are not familiar with, so I went to the north end of Boston and explored there a little bit. There are some very Italian shops and streets there, which I find very beautiful.
Megan: What’s the beauty of being a photographer and being photographed?
Dolly: It’s definitely a very magical feeling. As a photographer, I am usually the observer that records things. But when my friend started to take pictures for me, I will be honest, it does feel a little bit weird because I don’t get to “be observed” a lot. So it’s like role switching. Of course I think everyone should be photographed because - now is always the best time!
Megan: How do you plan to sustain that magical feeling with photography throughout the semester?
Dolly: So I’m actually working on a e-portfolio where I want to put together some pictures/videos that I took. Also, photography is like an excuse for me to keep exploring new pictures, meeting new people, and learning new cultures, so my goal for this semester is also to keep doing that.
Follow Dolly and their journey of photography at their Instagram: dyfilmphoto