Ep. 26 – Chasing Stories with Clara Shuku Mokri
From chasing waves to chasing stories, Clara Mokri talks about her passion for connecting with individuals and developing a creative discipline...
One of the best parts about the internet is discovering a photographer, designer or artist who is creating really good work. It’s a hidden gem and a fun discovery. A couple of years ago, I came across some of Clara Shuku Mokri’s work and I became a huge fan of her style of photography and visual storytelling.
Clara Shuku Mokri is an Indonesian-Iranian photographer, documentary filmmaker, cinematographer, and surfer from Los Angeles, living in Santa Cruz, CA. She received her BA from Yale University in 2018, where she was a member of the Yale Women's Basketball team, and her MJ in Documentary Filmmaking at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism in 2021.
In 2022, she was included in The 30: New and Emerging Photographers to Watch list. She is an alumni of Eddie Adams XVIII and a member of Diversify Photo and Women Photograph. Her work centers around character-driven stories that draw attention to larger societal issues, particularly as they pertain to the environment, immigration and sports. Stylistically, her work includes a lot of color, symmetry and a combination of dramatic natural light and strobes.
She has published photography in The New York Times, TIME Magazine, The Guardian, The Players' Tribune, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Wall Street Journal, NBC News, Vice, California Sunday, New York Magazine, Mother Jones, The San Francisco Chronicle and The Pulitzer Center, among others. In 2019, one of her photographs was included in TIME's Best Photojournalism of the Year.
She was the co-director and cinematographer for the short documentary, Anchored Out, which was acquired by The New Yorker in 2022 and was nominated for an International Documentary Association award in 2021.
Clara's early connection with nature and adventure shaped her artistic sensibilities. In the podcast, Clara talks about the inspiration behind her hyper-fixation on capturing life's fleeting moments. The experience of witnessing her beloved grandfather battle Alzheimer's disease ignited a profound desire to preserve memories and cherish the precious moments that make up our lives.
Clara's artistic approach is remarkable, with her diverse portfolio from sports photography to portraits. Clara nestles herself excellently in the niche of emphasizing the power of stillness and the emotions evoked by frozen moments.
After the podcast interview, I asked Clara to tell me about a cherished rare possession that she owns. Her level of cool just continues to shoot off the radar with dropping some vintage heaters passed down to her from her father and grandmother.
“My dad gifted me his Leica M6 this past Christmas. When I was a kid, he was always photographing me. As an adult, I’m grateful to have such an extensive visual archive of those years of my life and I’m even more excited to have inherited the tool that he used to capture all of those memories.”
“I recently began playing mahjong with some friends in Santa Cruz. When I told my mom, she let me have my great grandmother’s mahjong set from Indonesia so that I could host some of the game nights. Our family left Indonesia for Los Angeles before my mom was born, so I cherish any opportunity to be able to connect with our history there. When I first opened the box, there were handwritten scorecards inside from decades ago, which was even more special.”
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Visit Clara's website or her Instagram to explore her stunning portfolio and witness the extraordinary way she captures life's fleeting moments. And tap into our conversation with Clara Shuku Mokri, where we talk more about artistry, personal growth, and the power of visual storytelling.