Digital Photography students Jessica Daly and Hagar Wirba have been making a name for themselves in high level competitions and projects in the photography community. This week we speak to Hagar Wirba about her recent success.
‘35+ Ways the Photo Community Can Support Black Lives Matter’
(ebook published by 500px and Feature Shoot)
How did you find out about the project you submitted work to?
I was first approached by Karen Biilmann, the art director at 500px, just over a year ago. We discussed the licensing potential of my work and I had the wonderful opportunity of being able to discuss my photographic process and inspirations!
Since then, I’ve had the invaluable opportunity to build a relationship with some members of the team and I’ve been offered a number of chances to feature in 500px newsletters and participate in projects, with the e-book feature being one of them.
What especially interested you in the project, or prompted you to submit work?
This particular project that was put together by Feature Shoot and 500px, resonated deeply with me, as I am a part of both the Black community and Photography community.
It also came about at a time when I was exploring seriously the idea of racial identity, specifically in the context of being Black, in my own personal work too.
The events of this year have been numerous and overwhelming, to say the least. One phenomenon that I observed, especially on social media, was the consumption of Black Trauma and the businesses that tried to capitalize off it.
I was excited to be a part of this e-book because it meant myself and a lot of other talented black photographers trying to make it in a space that hasn’t always been inclusive, get the opportunity to be vocal on the ways we can be supported. We are seen and we are heard.
I was even more excited to partake in it because it wasn’t something 500px and Feature Shoot were doing to just be trendy… and this knowledge comes from my experience of working with and communicating with 500px over the past year.
They place a great importance on the ability of photography to contribute positively to societal and cultural structures & movements; inclusivity and social awareness has always been important.
What have you learned at CAT that you think may have specifically helped with your success with these submissions?
My time at CAT has really helped me hone my photography skills, both within the field of photography and as a person in general. In this context, something I’ve further developed that proved invaluable, is a better understanding of why I create images and how to express my understanding of my work and process.
I have come to understand myself better through my work, and see that cultural and social documentation is important to me.
My beliefs and curiosity shine through in the images I make, from highlighting the importance of diversity, to celebrating vulnerability and even the expression of intimacy.
I’ve always known art could be political, I’ve always wanted to contribute to making the world a better place, and the best way I know how right now is through the images I create that begin or continue really important conversations to be had about how our communities function.