“We build stories with universal themes, and the goal is to help people understand each other better.” This was the message of Seattle Times Photojournalist Erika Schultz as she presented at Art Insights on March 1.
Schultz has been a journalist for the Seattle Times for the last 12 years, and her team gathers stories from all over the world with the intent of capturing interesting and remarkable moments in everyday life.
Each photo in Schultz’s presentation at the Southern Utah Museum of Art told a different story. From pictures exploring the different reasons why women wear head coverings and veils, to photos depicting the life of a homeless mother and son, Schultz explained how she uses photography to educate the public and bring important issues to light.
Since being inspired to go into photojournalism in a similar lecture to the one she gave, Schultz has earned numerous awards for journalism including a Pulitzer. She has travelled as far as the Casa Maternas in Nicaragua and as close as the varied communities in Seattle finding stories that will connect people through sharing different truths.
Schultz not only takes photos to capture reality, she also combines and edits them to send a more conceptual and abstract message. In a story about the choice of women when it comes to motherhood, she combined photos of the women telling the story with images of nature. When added to portraits, these simple pictures of flowers and tunnels exposed the inner struggles of the decision to become a mother in a more visual and powerful way.
In addition to the meaningful messages that Schultz conveyed through display of her photography, she shared personal advice that she’s learned to help benefit students, explaining that “finding mentors and getting real work experience as a student makes a huge difference in your future.”
To conclude, Schultz shared her passion for her career and what it allows her to do. She explained that photography and art create connections different from anything else, and every day she gets to find something new and not just take photos, but learn the stories of the people behind them.
“The human experience is vast; there are stories everywhere. It’s just trying to find the little moments that are unexpected,” Schultz said.
Visit here to learn more about Erika Schultz, her photos, and the stories behind them.
Art Insights is hosted during fall and spring semesters by SUU’s Art & Design faculty at the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA). For more information visit www.suu.edu/pva.
Story by Larissa Beatty