Meet | Jo Yee, Creating for Good

It’s never been our place to talk politics, but if you’re reading this in the year 2017, then it’s been hard to escape the increasingly tense political climate of the world we live in. I don’t need to tell you the events of this year, but suffice to say we’ve all felt a little helpless at times.

However, Jo Yee has decided to do something about it. The food photographer and content creator has put together a collective of creators, photographers and stylists, named Creating for Good which hosts events, workshops and conferences to help people learn more about creativity, and donates all proceeds to charity in order to help those who need it most. Take a look at their most recent Creative Conference in the video below.

Creating For Good from Daria Shevchenko on Vimeo.

Wait, let’s go back to the beginning.

You may have heard of Jo by her Instagram handle, @candidsbyjo. In fact you may have even thought her name was something else “well, people call me Candi because of my handle. I’m like “Who’s Candi?!” So let’s clarify, Candids by Jo is a blog originally created by Jo as a place to “share travel photo essays and results of cooking adventures” but has since evolved into something slick, stylish and (dare I say it) aspirational.

Originally from Boston, she first cut her teeth in photography back in high school, "back when we were still shooting film". After a long break, where she carved out a career in financial marketing, and included a move to London, Jo decided to pick the camera back up, and one thing that taught her the habit of shooting everyday was Project 365. “I talked myself out of it a few times because I kind of felt like I was setting myself up for a failure, I’d never do it for a full year. And to be honest I only did 300 days, but it was enough to spur a change.”

And now?

A change spurred, indeed. Jo now has over 112,000 Instagram followers and in 2015 became a full time freelance photographer. She has photographed for OneFineStay, and The Luxury Collection Hotels, and her work is featured in cookbooks Summer Under The Tamarind Tree and Mountain Berries and Desert Spice as a part of her impressive portfolio. A frequent flyer, she has worked in destinations ranging from New Zealand to Spain.

Instagram is where the experimenting comes in. #CinemagraphSunday, is where she shares a new cinemagraph (a moving still image to the uninitiated) each week. And her prediction for future trends? Storytelling. “I think now it’s so visual, but also it needs to make sense. People have managed their feed according to what their brand is, but there’s a story behind the brand and that’s definitely moving forwards…”

Where does Creating for Good come into this?

It all started with being hired to teach a food photography workshop for Natoora, a fruit & vegetable supplier. Jo had discovered that they had previously donated food to a refugee charity, and decided to donate her workshop fee to the cause. “It was around the time of the refugee crisis being front and centre of every newspaper, and I just thought, God, I wish I could do something. You only have so much money to give. I think myself and a lot of people were feeling really discouraged, and a little bit lost, but wanting to do something. Especially as most of my friends are freelancers and don’t make regular income.” This would be the first event of many, inspiring her to reach out out to her peers to start what is now Creating for Good.

Jo says, “it took me maybe three months to build up the courage to email a group of people like “I’ve got an idea…” and I expected people to not reply or to be like “I’m sorry I don’t have the time” but within about two hours, everybody had replied to me saying “I’m in, when are we meeting, what are we doing first?” And the rest is history. Having raised over £11,000 already for charities both local and international including Just Bread London which helps female asylum seekers and refugees to meet people and build skills, Breaking Barriers which offers workplace training for refugees and finally Women for Women International which helps women in war torn countries; the collective are truly making this world a better place.

…And The Famous Last Words

Phrase you wish everyone would stop using? "For the 'gram!"

Three things you need for work? My journal, my phone, my camera.

Obsessed with? Cinemagraphs and FOOD WASTE. The practice of ordering food "for the 'gram" with no intention of eating it has got to stop.

Where can we find out more about you and Creating for Good? My blog and on Instagram, and the Creating for Good website.