Photographer Q&A: Ye Rin Mok

LA-based photographer Ye Rin Mok has always impressed us with her quiet and beautiful images. From Venice CA to Phoenix AZ, Ye Rin tells us what it was like behind the lens photographing these beautiful homes.
Ye Rin Mok, photographer, portrait

Do you remember the first shoot you did for Dwell? 

Yes, I was super excited and nervous. Dwell has been one of few magazines I wanted to shoot for. I was so happy to get the opportunity but also nervous because I didn't want to screw it up.

How do you usually prepare going into a Dwell shoot? 

Dwell photo editors are always so organized and well prepped for their photographers, like giving them the shot list, back story and images of the house. I usually go over the shots in my head, trying to anticipate any problems I might encounter. Regardless of how prepped I am, I can't help but feel nervous when I get to the location. But once I set my tripod and look through the view finder, the day goes by so fast that I don't really have time to worry. In the end it always turns out to be a very rewarding experience.

The dining room is meant to be a flexible space for eating or dancing. “One of the most important things for me,” explains Grunbaum, “is how a house feels. It has to be a place where you don’t want to leave.” The Cyclone table is by Isamu Noguchi for Knol

The first shoot Ye Rin was hired for was the Grunbaum Residence in Venice CA. 

Do you have any funny/favorite moments from one or two shoots you can remember?

When I was shooting the Keener/Atherton residence in Phoenix, whenever I would set up my tripod for a shot, their dog Pip would pop up in front of the camera. One of my favorite moments was actually few weeks after the Phoenix shoot, when I found out that my photo made the cover. I was quite dumbstruck and elated by that.

Atherton and Keener portrait facade

Ye Rin shot the Atherton-Keener Residence for our Dec/Jan 2011 issue. 

Favorite image?

The floating home shot of the Grunbaum residence in Venice.  I wasn't able to get the shot on the day of the shoot because we couldn't get a hold of the neighbor. I ended up going back the next day and was able to get the shot from the neighbor's roof.  It was worth it to have gone back.  

From the deck off the master bedroom, Eric Grunbaum looks across his front yard. Barbara Bestor designed the second story to float over the ground “like a cloud.”

To get this shot of the Grunbaum Residence, Mok had to return the following day so she could access the neighbors roof.

Do you have a favorite house/location that you have shot for us?

I really enjoyed shooting the Phoenix home. I love the minimal style and interesting space/layout—not the typical homes I'm used to. I felt like I was inside a huge art piece.  

What is it like seeing your images in print when the issue comes out?

Exciting, it's always a little surreal.

The front door is accessed by a 'floating' concrete bridge that bisects the two wings of the house.

Mok was attracted to the minimalist style of the Atherton-Keener residence.

If you could choose one modern element to add to your home, what would you choose?

I live in a small studio apartment with my boyfriend; we can't really have too much stuff, so the little that we do have has to be functional and space saving. Currently we don't have a dining table and we eat on our couch or on our desks. I would like to find or make a foldable wooden floor table.

A little more about you:

Where are you from? 

I was born in Seoul and moved to Los Angeles when I was 12. I've lived here since then.

How long have you been shooting? 

Since I graduated college in 2003.

What type of assignments are you shooting these days?

Mostly editorial and personal projects.


A stunning portrait from Ye Rin's personal series Convict Lake

Type of camera?

Hasselblad 501cm or Canon 5 Mark ii.

Film or Digital?

It depends on the assignment but recently more digital.

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