TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Behind every snap of a photo is an opportunity for Kathleen Dreier to amplify our community’s voices.
“I use the camera to honor the person for who they are,” said Dreier.
When the pandemic hit, she lost her paid photography gigs in a matter of days and decided to use her time to start multiple mostly self-funded social media series. Two focusing on race in Southern Arizona.
“After George Floyd's murder, there was a vigil at the Dunbar [Pavillion]. There were many things that happened at the vigil that woke something up in me that as a 60-year-old woman that I never even thought about before,” she said.
Her first series on race is called 'Tucson Black Voices.' She shared the portraits of Tucson's black community via social media and provided stories along with the photos.
She then followed with a series called, 'What White People Think,' calling white people to action.
“They have something to say, that is of value, and in hopes that it touches a person, and that it may shift somebody's perspective about something,” she explained.
Dreier said her work is informed by her three decades as a social worker.
“Almost every part of photography that I do comes from that standpoint of understanding the human condition, as well as my own personal hardships as a child and growing up in the things that I needed to navigate my own life. So when I lost all of my work back in," she said.
She said it’s an honor for people to allow her into their space and into their hearts.
“I’ve learned how much I don't know, as, as a white woman," said Dreier. "Even though I raised as a single mother, a black son, I am. There's the recognition that I have a lot more work to do.”
She said between all of the series she’s done, she’s captured portraits of 200 people and is continuing on with another series focusing on the Asian American Pacific Islander community.
If you'd like to take part in Dreier's series, you can contact her, here.