Kathy Shorr was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her work is rooted in documentary, portraiture and street photography. She received her undergraduate degree in photography from the School of Visual Arts and an MS in Education, earned while working as a New York City Teaching Fellow in the public schools in crisis. Shorr’s work has been shown in galleries in New York City, Houston and Los Angeles, and has been featured at the celebrated Visa pour L’Image Festival in Perpignan, France. She lives and works in New York City.
Hope is a clear photo of endless possibilities… with Kathy Shorr #isharehope Episode 106
Summary: Kathy’s answer to the five questions! Listen to the full conversation on the player above; also available on iTunes, Stitcher and Soundcloud.
Question 1: How do you define hope or what is your favorite quote about hope?
Hope is a belief that anything is possible or something is possible – specific or general. Hope is about possibility and it’s about not being defeated and not letting go of your dream or what you want to happen or what you believe should happen.
The song I will survive, I think it brings out the best in anyone that hears it. To me, that’s what hope is and pushing yourself and going ahead and not letting anything keep you down is embodied in that song. It’s a victorious awakening.
Question 2: Who has shared the most hope with you?
I’m going to talk about the people that I photographed in the project “Shot” because they are the embodiment of hope and perseverance of the human spirit. All of these people have been faced with a gun, faced with being physically injured by a gun and the emotional and physical damage that has done to them. They transcend that – they go through it and they come out to the other side. Pretty much everybody in this project of 101 people have said to me “I’m doing this project because if I can just help one other person, then I’m glad that I did this project.”
Question 3: How have you used hope to make it through a difficult time in your life?
I think that there’s probably many times in our lives where we are put in that position where it seems like what am I going to do? I think one of the most important things is to have people around you that believe in you and can help you stay focused and stay on the path. Sometimes that’s not possible, sometimes you’re all alone with your feelings and you’re all alone with that belief and then something inside of you has to be the force that keeps you going. Sometimes in your life it can be that you have people cheering you on or telling you can do it and there are other times where you are in this dark place where you have to come up with this hope and push to get through it and move on. You have to believe in yourself.
When I got divorced, I felt like ‘now what am I going to do’ and I was in school at the time and I had two little children and I thought, am I going to have to quit school to get through this or how am I going to manage school and little children? I think if you have an end-goal, you can pretty much do anything. I remember that I needed $200 a month for my tuition and I had to have a job only on a Sunday where in the course of the month I would be able to make this amount of money. I found a job. It was not pleasant at all but I had the silver lining. I knew that if I did this, I would have my tuition for the rest of the year. I did it from January to June and every Sunday I got up and I was like, ugh, but I knew why I was doing it so I could do it and I think that’s something that’s important – if you have to do something that you don’t like, make sure that you know what you’re doing it for. Make sure you have a goal at the end of it.
Question 4: How are you sharing hope today?
One of the things that I do with photography is that I teach photography to marginalized groups of people who then it becomes an outlet for change in their own lives. I have taught in the New York Public School Suspended High School Students, I have taught at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, at risk gay young men, convicted felons, young men at the Fortune Society, I also taught with seniors at the Chinatown Senior Center. Photography is a great means of getting people get a sense of themselves and their community.
As an artist, I think we can teach others how to communicate through art. I think that is extremely powering and it opens up new worlds for people who have been put in these boxes where they’re told that they can’t really experiment or be something other than who they think they are.
Question 5: How should I (the listener) begin to grow in hope or share hope today?
(1) We can start talking and listening to each other. Think small about this.
(2) Look to see who you can help within your own sphere.