A Black self-made photographer from California, Kimberly Douglas, is making waves on the internet with her beautiful and aesthetic photoshoots. She uses the guest room in her house as a photo studio and does photoshoots of herself against floral backgrounds and props. She creates her own detailed set pieces, which are often inspired by nature, and does a variety of abstract shots.
From looking at her photos, it's clear that Douglas demonstrates a skill for taking the most ordinary spaces in her house and transforming them into a different universe.
In one of Douglas's photos, she used three mock Roman columns, lined them up from tallest to shortest, and laid down across them. She compiled stuffing on the ground below to create an image of a cloud, with a ball of light in the center, as she explains in her Instagram post. She dyed a fabric of cloth brown and used it for her backdrop, with stuffing pasted onto it to create a unique shape. To top it off, she wore silk white wrap, expanding the religious imagery.
In another, Douglas poses in lingerie inside a glass box with pink and white roses filled inside and scattered around the box. She often poses in beds of flowers, matching her clothing to the background around her.
In the last notable photoshoot I’ll bring up — out of many — she explains how she used paper mache and slabs of foil to cover the inside of an inflatable ball. She then posed inside the ball with a glowing white spotlight behind her, wearing an aluminum foil jacket over her lingerie and creating an epic, metallic effect that would make a perfect album cover, if she was a singer.
Douglas's work is remarkable and becoming more and more appreciated. On her Instagram, she posts a series of pictures that show the process of her creating the set for each photoshoot, showing all the props and supplies she uses. She is honest in her captions, explaining the number of trials she went through to achieve the vision she wanted.
She is continuing on a long journey in her photography career. She initially pursued modeling six years ago and then started to take her own photos a couple of years later. She said she uses her house as a studio because she doesn’t have enough money to pay for materials or a professional studio. Although her photoshoots are unique and ever-so-skilled, she still hasn’t gotten signed.
The photography business is a highly competitive and independent business. Photographers are expected to buy all their equipment, build their portfolio and successfully market themselves on social media to gain a footing in their careers, all the while managing multiple jobs like Douglas did at one point.
It is hard to do, and photographers have to learn to not let these shortcomings hinder their creative pursuits. But, Douglas has a bright future. Self-portrait photography is very common in this day in age, and Douglas's self-portraits are mesmerizing. She offers new concepts and visuals that are pleasing to the eye, all derived from her creations.
It is also important to represent women of color who aspire to be photographers, as they have more roadblocks on the path to getting their big break. They have unique perspectives and skills that should be more recognized in our culture and celebrated.
Since getting into the photography business is a feat, social media is an integral tool to help these incoming artists who wish to make a sustainable living and do what they love. Douglas has an important presence on social media that will help get her work. Instagram especially is a source where many people find up-and-coming artists, as Douglas posts all her photoshoots and inspirations.
After years of pulling at strings to fend for herself and create beautiful, artistic photoshoots, it is surprising that Douglas hasn’t been signed and speaks to how much more inclusive the industry can be. Up until then, you can follow Douglas's photography on her Instagram and Twitter @kihmberlie and appreciate and promote all her amazing creations.