In July 2010, Yela Minor left on a missions trip to Nepal and India and three months later returned with more than a thousand photos of the people, poverty and suffering she encountered.
“There are problems the Western world doesn’t know or want to know about,” Minor, a 2009 Sequim High School graduate, said.
Inspired to use her photography as a tool to bring attention to the problems of the outside world, Minor chose close to 30 photos to showcase at The Buzz coffee shop in Sequim as its February artist of the month.
Before embarking for India and Nepal, Minor already had traveled to the Philippines and Thailand with the same group, Youth With A Mission. During that trip she got her first look at extreme poverty, prostitution and other social problems she hadn’t encountered before.
Minor said she felt prepared for what she’d see in India, where the problems were much the same but more serious, especially health-related problems.
During the trip to India she visited a leper colony, which most people don’t even know still exist, she said. The colony was contained behind tall, gated walls and wasn’t like anything she’d seen before.
“I want people to see what is out there,” she said. “It’s totally real.”
Though some of the pictures are intense in their depictions of human suffering, Minor said she doesn’t want people to feel sorry for her subjects.
“I hope they don’t feel sorry for the people but know that they’re still humans just like us and God still loves them,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if they’re homeless, have no limbs or are children. They’re still the same.”
Transitioning back to the “real world” hasn’t been easy since returning in October, Minor said.
She presented her photos to several church groups, friends and family and was surprised at their surprise.
“There is suffering,” she said.
Minor’s photos will be on display during February at The Buzz, 130 N. Sequim Ave.
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