Jessica Yatrofsky

By
Photography Gregory Harris

Published March 24, 2016

TURTLENECK: JILL STUART. PANTS: MIU MIU. EARRING: ERIN CONSIDINE. SCARF: DONNI CHARM. BELTS: B-LOW THE BELT.STYLING: ELIN SVAHN. HAIR: TOMO JIDAI FOR MOROCCAN OIL/STREETERS. MAKEUP: SALLY BRANKA/LGA MANAGEMENT. MANICURE: GINA EDWARDS FOR DIOR VERNIS/KATE RYAN. PRODUCTION: BO ZHANG. DIGITAL TECHNICIAN: ERICA CAPABIANCA.

“Belief and intention are the pillars for social change, and as long as we stay conscious, we can create a society with a future that actualizes these concepts of progress.”—Jessica Yatrofsky

AGE: 34.

OCCUPATION:  I’m a photographer. I’ve always seen myself as an observer and a recorder.

MOMENT WHEN YOU TURNED ON AS AN ACTIVIST: It was in graduate school. I was interested in depicting male sexuality, which is indeed political. We see so much female nudity, but the penis is always censored. So I wanted to address that in my work. I was met with such resistance from my peers and the administration. It was surprising. There I was at what I thought was a progressive art program, supposedly encouraged to push boundaries, but I didn’t feel so encouraged. I felt stifled. My projects always ran into these structural barriers. I recognized my relation to an institution, to this dominating mind-set. I suppose that’s when I realized how political my work was.

WHAT ARE THE BEST TOOLS AVAILABLE TO US? Belief and intention are the pillars for social change, and as long as we stay conscious, we can create a society with a future that actualizes these concepts of progress.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF? The relationships I’ve cultivated. My friends mean a lot to me, and the community with which I align myself. What is this life if not shared with others?

WHO DO YOU LOOK TO FOR ADVICE OR GUIDANCE? I think a lot about where my family came from and what they had to do to get to the United States. I’m inspired by this idea of a journey, not just as an individual, but as a collective.

WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND TO BE THE MOST EFFECTIVE METHOD OF PUSHING FOR CHANGE: I hope my work creates a proactive dialogue. I’m not interested in overtly political rallies, necessarily. I think art itself can contribute to a gentle revolution where resilience is celebrated and revered.

For more from The New Activists, click here.