Yazi Ferrufino is a UMass Boston student with a portfolio that rivals some pros’. The 21-year-old Arlington native has shot regular people as well as celebrities such as Paul McCartney and Charlie Baker. Maintaining a star-studded Instagram account (@ya___z) is just the beginning for this burgeoning photographer and social activist.
Q. When did you first pick up a camera?
A. It started two years ago during a blizzard. Before that, I never had any real interest in taking up any type of art as a potential career or even as a hobby, but the blizzard happened at a time when I was taking a break from college. I ended up picking up for the first time this Fujifilm point-and-shoot camera that my dad bought me at a yard sale a few years before. I kind of just went out and started shooting street photography for the first time. After that, I was looking for work, and I saw an ad for a job at Fenway Park for a sales photographer. That job was probably one of the best experiences I ever had. I was thrown in the middle of the hectic Fenway environment with a DSLR camera and was forced to teach myself how to shoot manual for the first time with all these crazy crowds and different lighting situations. It was really a great way to learn. It was kind of my boot camp for the basics of photography.
Q. What other types of photog raphy do you enjoy?
A. After Fenway, I got interested in concert photography. Music has always been a pretty big part of my life, and it’s worked out pretty well so far. I’ve been able to shoot photos at Boston Calling, Firefly Music Festival, and other venues with various artists. I got to shoot Paul McCartney, Disclosure, A$AP Rocky, and John Mayer. Being the rebellious young person I am, I found ways to wait outside or . . . sneak in.
Q. What do you hope to accomplish with your photography?
A. Coming from a family of immigrants, with the recent election, it’s kind of motivating me to push myself out of my comfort zone and try to make a difference with my art. My family is from Bolivia, and growing up I was exposed to Bolivian culture pretty heavily so that’s always been a part of my life. When I was a kid I would always be going to rallies or protests that had to do with immigration regulations or something of the sort. It’s always been a thing that’s helped me look at life differently than others, and it’s definitely impacted the way I take my photos.
Q. What does your Instagram account represent to you?
A. Basically, my Instagram account is a journal of my life. I know a lot of photographers end up clearing all their work and liking to have only their best stuff on, but I’ve managed to keep all of my photos from when I first started to now. It’s kind of my own personal life story.