As a portrait photographer, I focus on capturing images that reveal the vitality and dignity of my subjects. The photographs from my Being Seen project acknowledge the power and strength of all women, and the importance of seeing the humanity in each one as a first step towards fostering empathy.
In the first part of my project, Being Seen, the photographs were taken during art and photography workshops I conducted with women who live in shelter in various cities in the United States. The women collaborated with me on their portraits which reflect the way they wanted to be seen—with strength and grace—but also reveal the instability, uncertainty and complexity connected with shelter living.
As my Being Seen project expanded, I conducted similar workshops with women who were formerly homeless, veterans, or formerly incarcerated. These women are currently part of a program facilitated by a Brooklyn non-profit, HousingPlus. The images embody a personal power they work to achieve on a daily basis. In Rochester, NY, through the assistance of Catholic Charities, an organization that helps refugees around the world find safe haven, I captured images of Afghan women who fled to the United States in 2021 when the Taliban swept into Kabul. My subjects portray an individual authority as they wrestle with the hardships of holding onto their traditions while living with the mores of a new country.
The resulting images from my Being Seen project are accompanied by personal histories. Combined with the photographs, these stories challenge dominant views of feminine strength and foster compassion, thus giving these women renewed agency.