Tawa photographer’s ‘experience of a lifetime’
It started off as a study project but became a life-changing experience for Kathryn Armitage.
As part of her studies last year at The Photo School in Raumati, the Tawa resident decided on a community-based project.
She decided to interview and photograph about 10 members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning community, but it quickly became obvious it was not going to be a small-scale project.
In the end, she photographed 37 people, each snapped in black and white and colour. The black and white shots are of the dayto-day living and working side of each person, and the colour photographs show off their personalities in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning world.
Armitage said it challenged one of her fears, which was to approach strangers and start talking.
‘‘This project was something that just grew and I put a lot of love into it,’’ she said.
‘‘I approached people at events [like Out in the Park] and even on the street and they opened their lives to me. It was incredible and I’m grateful to be able to do something to help break down those barriers and help the conversation that’s going on about social acceptance.’’
Each person was happy to be snapped in the environment they are most comfortable in, showing off their personalities, and Armitage used natural light and no computer manipulation afterwards.
‘‘It [the project] never felt finished and it became something that really dominated my life, in a good way. I feel privileged to help share their stories and it opened my eyes to the resilience of human beings.’’
Armitage fundraised to get prints made and a superb book, Out of the Box, published. The exhibition to accompany the book runs at Thistle Hall in Wellington from March 9 till 12.
Her hardest decision was to choose the 40 images to hang in the exhibition. ‘‘It was one of the most challenging parts of the whole project.’’
Armitage said she had been interested in photography from a young age, but put it on the backburner while her daughter was growing up.
Kathryn Armitage can’t wait for her exhibition, Out of the Box, to open next month.