Originally from New York, Kim Love returned to Harrisburg in 2017 after living in the US Virgin Islands through two major hurricanes.
Starting fresh in the city, she didn’t have anything. Ai overcame the homeless and helped her son suffering from a mental health illness.
She remembers sitting in her car at N.2.NS We monitor the people on the street, paying special attention to the homeless people in downtown.
“When I got into the homeless situation, I started looking at other people and their side from a different perspective,” she said. “These people have no voice.”
Love set out to change that.
Today, the community can get a glimpse through Love’s eyes as she tries to reach out to people at her photo exhibition, The Forgotten City, at the MLK City Government Center in Harrisburg. This exhibition is part of the Harrisburg Arts Association’s Community Exhibition Program.
It’s been many years since Love picked up the camera when he started Exposure with Light LLC (Art through Photography). She was drawn to street photography, spent time with the homeless and began taking pictures of them.
“All I could do was talk to them through the pictures,” she said. “I want people to have that dignity.”
Love often sits down and talks to people, listens to them, and builds relationships before she pulls out the camera and asks if the photo is okay. Often, she said they were excited to be in front of the lens. Some people pose and request a copy of the photo.
“They feel they are being watched,” she said.
From time to time, Ai will prepare a meal with gratitude for the people she took pictures of. She said she would do it this Christmas.
Her exhibition at the City Hall is a collection of her work on the theme of homelessness, justice, mental illness, and the “new normal” brought about by COVID. Each photo tells a story that love is willing to share.
Her images are all black and white, she said she was an “old school.” Many are dramatic portraits, each subject full of unique personality and emotion.
“I felt her work was very relevant to our city,” said Carrie Whistler Thomas, Managing Director of the Harrisburg Arts Association. “She has great eyes to capture images and good composition. She has empathy. She gets to know people’s stories.”
She explained that love photos are beneficial to her as well as her subject.
“This is a cure for me,” she said. “When I start taking pictures, I feel free.”
The “Forgotten City” will be on display in the lobby of Harrisburg MLK City Government Center, 10 N.2.NS St., until January 31st. To view KimLove’s artwork online, visit the Exposure With Light website.
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