Director Courtney Sofiah Yates Joins Stept Studios
Courtney Sofiah Yates
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Stept Studios has brought Courtney Sofiah Yates aboard its directorial roster for U.S. commercial representation.

Yates via Stept recently wrapped Expanding Outdoor Culture, the latest film in REI’s Opt Outdoor campaign. Capturing evocative, intimate portraits of people as they enjoy the natural world, the film creates a profound emotional connection with the diverse group of individuals, friends, and couples as they experience the beauty and simplicity of the outdoors. The campaign--which began as a way to eschew Black Friday consumerism and replace it with time spent with friends and family outdoors--is dedicated to the belief that time outside is a human right and that everyone should feel welcome outside, regardless of their gender, race, age, or sexuality. 

Driven by a profound desire to discover and reveal the meaning and beauty in every day moments, Yates as both a director and photographer is dedicated to documenting the intricate emotional experiences of human life with a primary focus on grief and loss. She is also creatively dedicated to capturing and studying the exuberant energy of performance in entertainment and sports. Yates has worked with brands including Nike, Moncler, Smirnoff, Gucci and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Vogue, Marie Claire, Document Journal and more. She is currently based in New York.

Nick Martini, Stept founder and director, said, “You can really feel a sense of humanity in Courtney’s work; her photographs and films provide a window into her subject’s world. It’s been amazing to watch her progress so quickly in the commercial space, and our whole team couldn’t be more excited to watch her take the next step in her creative journey.”

“Film is the most fine-tuned tool we have for studying human behavior and hopefully, for cultivating communal connections,” said Yates. “That goal underlies all of my work both commercial and artistic. I know Stept values those ideas as much as I do.” 

Yates is currently working on a collective of short films with Smirnoff.


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