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Conversations with Kaylin Webster

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kaylin Webster.

Hi Kaylin, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I’ve always felt most connected to my Indigeneity when working with my hands. So, creating through different mediums has always been a part of my story. I’m a very observant and instinctive person, much like my mother, grandmother, and all of those that came before me and used those same qualities for survival. I was gifted the privilege and freedom to explore my curiosity in new ways that they weren’t, which ultimately led me to photography.

I first got into photography just walking the streets on my way to school. At the time I was studying in New York City. I had a long commute and NYC was incredibly out of my comfort zone, so taking pictures on my phone was just my way of making sense of it. Very quickly I realized that photography wasn’t just my way of making sense of an environment, it was a way to understand myself in so many ways that I hadn’t before. Indigenous peoples are natural storytellers. There’s a lot of knowledge and power in a good story.

Before I consider myself to be a photographer, I consider myself a storyteller first. What I appreciate about photography is the opportunity to connect with the people and things around me, embracing the vast scale of what it means to be alive.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
It’s definitely interesting being an artist, a young woman trying to chase a dream while also facing anxiety and depression. It’s difficult being away from my community and homelands.

The pressure and responsibility to grow, but not stray too far from the roots. I think that it’s important to be transparent about these growing pains. The journey is beautiful, regardless. Living out our wildest dreams is very possible and always worth it!

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I’m an Indigenous photographer (hey, Nanticoke + Lenape cuzzinz!) with a photojournalistic approach. My creative style is best expressed through candid moments where joy and personhood naturally shine through. BIPOC’s representation of its many faces and forms is at the center of my work. I specialize in editorial + documentary-style image making, and photography is my absolute favoriting thing in the Universe.

What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
I definitely see more young, unconventional, creative talent rising and taking up space in the mainstream photo world. The generations under mine are rockstars, and they (rightfully) have a lot to say. We should absolutely be listening to and looking out for the youth more.

Aside from that, technology and design are forever changing. Phones are being made with cameras equivalent to a professional DSLR camera, which makes quality image making more accessible. So, I see different avenues where more people and industries will start to connect with photography and build upon it, hopefully for the better.

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