Asian-led photoshoot company looks to uplift AAPI community in Chinatown and beyond

Asian-led photoshoot company Shoott is celebrating the culture and people of the AAPI community while also attempting to combat anti-Asian hate.

With May serving as AAPI Heritage Month, Shoott kicked off a month-long initiative at Chinatown’s Golden Unicorn Restaurant on May 10 that continues to reverberate and inspire. Founded by Jennifer Tsay, Shoott is designed to give clients access to free 30-minute photoshoots where customers only pay for the images of their choosing. The company–which conducts photoshoots all across the country–used their unique, artistic skills to uplift Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

“We picked different locations in all the different cities and we decided for AAPI month our leadership team who are all AAPI folks, we were like there has been an uptick in anti-Asian violence and discrimination and we could really use our business to help the community,” Tsay said.

The photography sessions help empower members of the AAPI community. Photo by Dean Moses

The action that will be running through the month spanning the likes of Seattle, Washington D.C, Chicago, San Francisco, and more began with a dinner and mini photoshoot in the heart of New York’s Chinatown. Tsay and colleagues hope capturing the beauty of Asian individuals will make them more confident amidst several years of xenophobic attacks.

“It’s a really important message. You should be, you should be proud of being who you are, you should be proud of going outside and of being seen and that’s a value that we really stand by that to stand up, you know, and be seen and have your photo taken,” Tsay explained.

In addition, Shoott said they are also looking to draw attention to Asian communities all around the cities in which they work. By using AAPI districts as their backdrop, they believe it could also drive more commerce to the areas.

Photo by Dean Moses
A man poses for the Shoott photographer. Photo by Dean Moses

“We can drive people to these neighborhoods. We’ve recommended local businesses that may not have been found by other people before. So, it’s like a whole experience to have your photoshoot taken and to either have dinner or a baked good before or after,” Tsay said.

A portion of proceeds from the photoshoots will also be donated to Stop AAPI Hate to help combat anti-Asian hate crimes.

Jennifer Tsay founder of Shoott. Photo by Dean Moses
The photo session took place at Chinatown’s the Golden Unicorn Restaurant. Photo by Dean Moses