Yorkshire portrait and wedding photographer takes free studio photos of people from diverse backgrounds across the county as part of a campaign to restore confidence struck during the pandemic, while highlighting all shapes diversity and strengthening the right of everyone to live in a world free from fear of hatred or violence.
Nisha Keaton invited nominations from anyone who wanted to sit down for her in one of the series of photo shoots held at her studio, Your Choice Photography, in Batley, to create the Learn to Love project which brings together 50 portraits of people. ordinary people, many of whom admit to feeling vulnerable, having lost self-confidence during the pandemic.
Nisha said: “While there are always bad things happening in the world, throughout Covid-19 the level has risen dramatically. Even at the local level I saw something every day, people were afraid to come out because they were attacked or because they were afraid of it, lost the support mechanisms, and that left you a little helpless.
“I can’t donate money or anything like that, but photographing I can do, so I wanted to showcase beauty in all possible forms and variations, to show that no matter what. happening, you are beautiful and deserve love. Whether it’s yourself or other people, no one deserves to live in fear or hate. I hope these pictures make someone feel better about themselves or express themselves, share a story, start a conversation – relate to someone.
Nisha designed an open application process through social media inviting anyone interested to share a bit of their story and explain why they wanted to be a part of the campaign.
“It was important for me to make sure there was a wide range of people involved and that’s why this was an application process rather than a ‘first come, first served’ type. . I also wanted to make sure people wanted to participate for the right reasons and wanted to be involved, rather than just getting a free photoshoot. Anyone who has requested to receive a free photoshoot or to add something to their portfolio has not been selected. I offer discounted days and work with models and aspiring models all year round, so that’s not why it was.
“There was a wide range of reasons, from people who wanted to show their support for people who personally struggled with self-hatred, medical issues, racism, not feeling comfortable, not feeling represented. . They want to be someone that others identify with and share this “if I can do it, you can too” attitude. “
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Filming took place in Batley for two weeks at the end of April. Nisha requested jeans and a white or light top for simplicity. “I wanted the focus to be on the individual as a person, their expression for example, and for it to be as relaxing as possible,” she said. “From a visual standpoint, it also looks cohesive and blends well.”
There was no charge and participants received a digital gallery of their images as a thank you for participating. Nisha plans to run an annual photo campaign from now on.
The campaign is launched today with images and social media posts using the hashtags #learntolove #mystandard #endhate.
To read participant stories, see www.yourchoicephotography.com.