Can you tell us a bit about your passions beyond “work”?

It’s funny because when I think of my work, I instantly think about my passions because they’re synonymous. Are there times when work really does feel like WORK? Of course, but I feel very grateful to have the opportunity to truly do what I love, which is to create every day. Beyond “work,” I enjoy surfing, expanding my knowledge about sustainability, exercising, practicing yoga on my front porch, and spending time in the soil.

What are your materials and how do you think about them?

Hmmm, I think of my materials more as the elements and inspiration around me. Of course, I have my physical camera gear and props, but I draw inspiration from the elements of nature or everyday life and ask myself how I can incorporate those into my photographs.

Close up photograph of some Nocs Standard Issue 8x25 propped up on a tree branch

Do you have any “heroes” to speak of? How are you inspired?

My mother is an incredible inspiration to me. Growing up, we didn’t have much, but she always had this dream of becoming an Air Ambulance Pilot. She practically did everything she could to get there, which meant multiple jobs, late evenings, all the while trying to raise my brother and I as a single mother. She spent the majority of her life chasing this dream, and despite all of the numerous obstacles that were thrown her way, she was able to obtain it. Those experiences inevitably showed my brother and I that anything is within our reach as long as we keep our heads down and work hard.

A key ingredient to building a sustainable future?

Community. And hope that it can and will get there. Once we can begin to have the dialogues and show each other to work with nature and not against it, I think we can really move forward and minimize the damage we have already done.

A book that shaped your life?

The Alchemist.

Designed collage photo comprising of Arisa Yoon holding some Nocs, a photograph taken of a Falcon, layered on top of an artisitc photo of tree leaves

Favorite artist currently?

I can’t stop listening to Willie Nelson currently, haha.

Most sublime moment in nature?

When I was in college, most summers I would escape to the Caribbean and help manage sailing, scuba, and marine science programs aboard a 40-foot sailboat. I remember one evening my boss and I went diving in Île Fourchue, an island in St. Barth’s, and I remember seeing a turtle feeding on the reef. For a moment, I just paused and watched it in its natural habitat in awe.

Next thing I know the turtle is heading straight towards me. Effortlessly gliding in the water, it begins to stop right at my mask level and looks straight into my eyes. There was so much wonder and curiosity running through both of our minds ( I can only assume, ha). And in that moment, I felt seen.

Each time up until that night, I had done numerous dives always thinking “what am I going to see tonight?” but merely ever asked myself what I could give in return. And in that moment, as my mask began to fill with tears, I had hope of a world in which we could inhabit and knew I had lots of work to do to ensure that.

Photo of Arisa Yoon holding up a pair of Nocs in nature

What have been your biggest challenges?

Trusting the process and being content with where I am.

What do you do when you get out and away from the office?

Get outdoors, travel, meditate, hang out with friends.

What other brands do you love?

PrAna, GoMacro, Backcountry!

What keeps you going?