I'd anticipated photographing a student this semester at KIPP Durham. In my narrow narrow mind, students were the only ones with the "cool" stories, with the stories that people want to hear about. What I realized is how wrong I was. Photographing Hannah Akpaete this year has definitely been a highlight of the semester.
Hannah went to Wake Forest University and has ended up in this amazing position of teaching math to students at KIPP. Through her I've been able to gain a new view of the school - her thoughts and the things that often go unseen. I'm able to talk to her and communicate with her in ways that I wouldn't be able to with students. She has been such a privilege to photograph, and the natural joy and passion that she exudes encourage me every time I go to photograph her.
It is exactly this that I want to communicate to viewers. Hannah's personality and her joy make her a perfect teacher. They make her an amazing friend. People are drawn to her, and I want people to know the kind of person that she is.
I want to take this time to really thanks Principal Anders Campbell for letting this happen, the students in Hannah's class for letting me be in the room and be present, and Hannah for really allowing me to get this small glimpse into her life. For letting me follow her to school, and to the grocery store, and to church. For opening up just some of her life to me. It truly has been such a pleasure working with her and everyone at KIPP!