Nikki B. of Grey Matter Photography--
Just a couple weeks ago, I heard about Words Scar: A Photography Exhibition, from our friends at Official Anais PR. This event was intriguing--especially after watching this video. The photographer sought to give children a voice, through pictures. In an unfortunate climate of bullying, Nikki B. found a way to shine a light on the harsh repercussions of words so easily spewed.
I had the chance to chat more with Nikki. Here's what she told me:
Nikki said she got into photography by happenstance. It started off as "just something to do" and quickly grew into a passion, once she took a photography class at the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago. She continued to teach herself more about the craft and started taking a camera wherever she went. I asked her what sparked her passion, and she told me "when you're passionate about something, you'll do whatever to get better at it". She's clearly done just that.
When asked about her early works, she recalled shooting events, family portraits, and headshots. Although she still enjoys these types of projects, she is continuously inspired by "truth". She loves capturing people, taking candid shots, yet also making her work a way to tell untold stories. She wants to make known what many are fearful to address. This sentiment is one of the main premises of Words Scar.
Words Scar was inspired by the unfortunate violence in the City of Chicago. The project became a way to interact daily with kids, get their stories and find out why they are so enraged. Many believe the genesis of the violence is within, rather than a major fault of legislation or lack of policing. Nikki put the spotlight on children living amongst the violence. She told me she asked them what names they had been called and how the names made them feel. She took this as her chance to become a voice for young people, to get adults to better understand how to help them.
Connecting with kids from her church, and some family friends, Nikki gave her time and dedication to work toward getting to the bottom of things. The children were from all parts of the City and suburbs, giving a diversified view of what is really troubling our youth. I asked Nikki what her goal was for Words Scar, and the answer was enlightening. She shared her desire to "evoke change in people--in how they think and use words". Sure, you may not think this is a new thought, but the ability to point to examples of action on it is surely more challenging.
Nikki wants to continue being a voice of youth. Such a voice is critical in the landscape we plant for our future. She told me she wants to continue engaging kids and finding out ways to help them. We certainly need more like her.
I really enjoyed Nikki's exhibit, and talking further with her about her statement-making photography. If you'd like to see more from her--and you should--check her out on the web and even request a private showing. It will be more than worth your time...and thoughts.