With my entrepreneurial and artistic drive, I hope to expand my local photography/video business and travel for client work and fine art photography. I am a member of the Photovoice club at my high school, and we discuss each other's work and the meaning behind our shots. I am regularly challenged to communicate to my audience the intentions behind my portraits, and that practice has further shaped my current mindset of why I create.
Through a simple shutter snap of a lens, photography is a medium that tells stories within hundredths of a second. My work is rooted in the power of silence. As a Black woman with three marginalized identities, society has always tried to silence me. Photography allows me to transform this oppression into power. I capture every moment without separating my lips because I hold the master key—the camera. Photography is the core within the mantle of my aura. My work is the sixth vital organ of my existence and the reason why I choose to continue.
As an artist, I am never the main character. Instead, I am the one who tells the story—the narrator. My art is my superpower and it has changed my perspective on the norms of this world. Focusing solely on portraits as the centerpiece of my work allows me to undefine humans; labels are simply unnecessary. Taking portraits allows me to communicate my story about changing the narrative of specificity and silence. My goal is for the message behind my work to permeate the minds of viewers and stick like glue. Silence is power, especially in art.
—Laila Smith, New Haven Academy