Written and photographed by Kay Mercer

I am a BFA candidate pursuing both a commercial photography degree as well as one in fashion marketing, while additionally pursuing a minor in advertising art direction. I wanted to be a fashion designer in middle school and a professional photographer in high school, so I’ve come full circle at SCAD. Although I have worked professionally in a commercial portrait studio, I find myself enjoying broad daylight and natural imagery in my freelance work, juxtaposed with bold colors and highly stylized settings in my fashion editorial pieces. My work is largely inspired by Annie Leibovitz, Miles Aldridge and Petra Collins, with nods to their uses of color and meticulously conscious styling.

Since my foray into “making” images versus simply taking them, I have explored portraiture as queer representation — showing not only the faces of my community, but the details of expressive clothing and routines that make us feel like our true selves. Currently, I am creating a series about the tokens and rituals of confidence, so stay tuned.

I use photography to focus on creating and capturing moments that may otherwise be overlooked and regardless of my thematic elements, my end goal is eternally to create empowerment through my artistic process and my work, as their message will survive myself and all of us.