Week 17 of Spotlight Seven features Bukutgirl, whose great portraits are accompanied by an even more amazing life story. Originally from Oregon but now living in Baltimore, Bukutgirl is a former Peace Corps volunteer who is now pursuing a double masters degree and planning to pursue her Ph.D. Here's an excerpt from this week's interview.
3) Your photos have a very gritty real quality about them. Do you attribute that to your style, surroundings, your emotion going into a photo?
I moved to Baltimore shortly before getting on flickr and starting to shoot again – besides the very few shots I actually took while in peace corps (maybe 4 rolls in 2 years) I really hadn’t picked up a camera in about 10 years. I was very much alone in this city when I first got here and surprised by the intensity of this place. Baltimore is guts – so many people here don’t even know if they are going to eat that night – or if they’ll have a home next month – it gives the city – and even those of us who are a little more financially secure – a rawness – by living around it all the time. Being a nurse at a local Baltimore hospital influenced this as well – many of my patients were end stage AIDS patients – and it made me so angry at the world – that is a fate no one deserves. I also have had quite a number of major physical problems in the last three years that have at times brought me really down and have made it hard to want to continue to be. A lot of my self portrait work has been about getting some of that out and the war you get into with your own body when it is a constant source of pain. So I guess it’s a bit of everything – the urgent surroundings – the at times desperate nature of life in Baltimore – and my own physical / emotional pain – that pushes me towards gritty.
Be sure to read the whole interview and view all 10 photos selected for this week's exhibited.