Kimberly Mitchell - The Photographer

A Q&A with Flossmoor resident, photographer and avid community volunteer, Kimberly Mitchell. Kimberly was nominated by fellow volunteer Michelle Nelson for our Black History Month artist feature.

Kimberly Mitchell – The Photographer

Define your art and tell us what inspires you as an artist?

I am a photographer with a passion for depicting people as the best versions of themselves. Although I have a business marketed towards portraits, I truly consider myself to be a lifestyle photographer. When approaching a scene, I explore the color, texture, and feeling of a subject while incorporating my love for culture and routines. I get excited when I can combine emotion and convention in a single image yet stay true to the story that presents itself. I make it a priority to seek out and capture a strong independent moment that is rich within the frame. When conceptualizing lifestyle photography, I aspire for my images to evoke a deeper meaning beyond the obvious visual. My children are my inspiration and have been since I started my business 8 years ago.

How long have you been in Flossmoor?

Growing up I lived here since 1993 and I returned back with my husband in 2007 to start our family

How do you share your art?

I am proud to share my talents with many communities and organizations in the south suburbs and I share my photography on social media, my website, and selected exhibitions

As an artist, what is your proudest contribution to the culture of black history?

In 2018, one of my most powerful lifestyle photographs was submitted and accepted into the Beverly Arts Center 42nd Annual Art Competition and Exhibition. The photograph was of a client’s mother who was being honored at her church. She was an elderly woman on an oxygen tank who was having a special moment of worship with her arms stretched out and her eyes closed. The photo is filled with so much emotion and paints a vivid picture about the culture of black women worshipping the Lord when they need healing. Black women have a long and intricate history with church and have always found the institution to be a place of refuge, solace and hope. I titled the photo "Psalm 150:6- Praise and Worship" and it won the Bill & Judie Anderson Award. It was also accepted into the 2019 Museum of Science and Industry’s Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition. To have been able to capture that moment and be honored for it has been my proudest contribution to the culture of black history.

What has history taught you that could help someone else who is interested in pursuing the arts?

There are so many iconic images that show the history of America, and black history in particular. Imagery that depicted the civil rights movement from artists like Gordon Parks can be very influential and inspirational. Looking at these historic images has taught me to appreciate all moments in time, even when the people in the pictures are in pain. The emotions of history are just as important as the facts, and as artists we need to embrace our role as historians through both trying and triumphant times.

As it relates to your art, what is your favorite quote or saying?

“I feel it is the heart, not the eye, that should determine the content of the photograph. What the eye sees is its own. What the heart can perceive is a very different matter.” - Gordon Parks

As it relates to Black History Month, what is your favorite quote, moment or memory?

My favorite black history moment is the day Barack Obama was first inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States. The images of him walking in his inaugural parade are engraved in my heart and stir my soul every time I think of them.