Zahra Saleki is a Toronto based freelance photographer, producing poetic stories through her photography. This can be seen in her series titled ‘Footprint of Light”, which she uses to help raise awareness around the UNiTE campaign to End Violence Against Women and Girls. She uses photography to gain an ability and insight on human emotion by using long exposures to snap fleeting moments within a single frame. She analyzes the subtle gestures she captures through this process, immortalizing subconscious movements, bursts of energy and emotion, ultimately creating unique images that dictate a story in their light trails. This reminds us how important these slivers of time are and what they may reveal when looked at more closely.
Through this series we are given the opportunity to observe a small window of time. She uses this to capture organic feelings such as someone's fear or loneliness which is expressed through body gestures made through minute movements.
“I tried to capture light and movement and show things we don't normally get to see. It encourages people to look around them and see other perspectives of light and pain.”
Through the use of a long exposure, Zahra captures these gestures, unconsciously betraying even the most secret and suppressed feelings. This speaks to the many women who choose not to report instances of abuse: “there are so many women in our everyday life that we see and we don’t know they have been violated.” Zahra continues;
“I think one of my roles as an artist is to make people rethink and pause to see what is going on around them, and if I can make the smallest difference and make someone a little more conscious in life, then I think I did what I had to do. I chose to be apart of this campaign because we need to stop violence against women and it’s a big issue affecting us all, everyday.”
Photography allows us to be more conscious of these small moments in time. It allows us to capture and examine what we may miss with the naked eye. Each frame Zahra has captured, produces it’s own identity, projecting a sense of manic disorder, their bodies creating uncontrolled streaks of light through the centre of the frames. However, there is also something freeing about seeing these emotions expressed. Zahra has allowed the people photographed in this series to process their feelings through movement, they are uncensored as she leaves the shutter open to capture every detail of those few moments.