With an affinity for travel photography and a background in family law, photographer and attorney Kim Annand has combined her two passions: advocacy for those without a voice, and targeted action through art. “For me photography is an opportunity to express myself that I can’t do in my day job,” Annand says. “It brings out my creative side.”

A recent graduate of the Digital Photography and Imaging program at Georgian College, Annand helped organize her graduating class in creating The Giving Portrait. The project brought photographers and estheticians together to makeover and photograph needy families who would never be able to afford the luxury of a family portrait. (thegivingportrait.org)

Next, she is embarking on a November expedition to Kathmandu, Nepal, with Photographers Without Borders. This humanitarian mission will photograph, document and support SASANE, an organization that trains women and girls caught up by human trafficking as paralegals in order to advocate for themselves and others.

“There’s so much we don’t talk about,” says Annand. “The poverty, abuse, domestic violence, sexual abuse. All the things people are suffering from. We put it on the news as a shocker and sweep it under the rug and move on.” This has never been Annand’s way however. She has championed the oppressed her entire life.

“I don’t think of myself as a crusader,” says Annand. “But I don’t like injustice. And especially with children. I try, but I can’t shut up. I will not sit quietly by.”

Annand is one of those rarified individuals, born into a large family living in abject poverty, who managed to break away from her own family’s history of abuse using the ladder of education. Her ascent scaled every rung of justice on her way up. From a college education as a social worker, to the police academy and law enforcement, to Osgoode Law where she eventually obtained her law degree. Now, her latest educational achievement is as a Georgian College photography graduate, bringing new skills to her sense of purpose.

Annand’s willingness to expose the underbelly in our society has wrought a series of art studies that chronicle abuse and entrapment. Some works are difficult to look at without stirring outrage within, but they are always a call to action. Her series, Childhood Shadows and Humanity Lost drop you right into the horror of a child’s living nightmare. It’s stark, fist clenching imagery, compared to her wistful travel photos and landscapes, such as those exhibited at the Focus on Simcoe Photography Festival this summer. But even in her landscape piece, Stillness, the barren tree and lonely bench featured, sits before a raging winter lake shrouded in a moody fog. A metaphor for the raging winter that resides within oppressed souls? “It comes from years of being stepped on as a child,” says Annand. “You don’t even know it. It just follows you around.”

In her unsettling mask series, Masks and Madness, she next dares to explore mental illness. The Decaying Shadow is a self-portrait, where Annand slouches in a mask by a decayed tree. A treatise on the lingering damage done to children raised in a home with mental illness. It’s meaningful work.

After eighteen years practicing Family Law, Annand is ready to spend more time with her art form and imagines a future fulltime career in travel photography to satisfy her wanderlust. “Everything I’ve dreamed so far I’ve been able to do,” she says. Kathmandu is the next step on that journey, where she’ll no doubt capture more startling images while practicing the advocacy that is at the core of her being.

“I don’t think of myself as a crusader,” says Annand. “But I don’t like injustice. And especially with children. I try, but I can’t shut up. I will not sit quietly by.”

Support Kim Annand on her humanitarian mission to Nepal by joining her on a fundraising sightseeing boat cruise on September 30th. Board the Miss Midland for a cruise around the 30,000 islands at the height of the autumn leaves spectacular and help combat the exploitation of women and girls at the same time. Tickets: $60 for adults. $40 for children. Go to Annand’s website to reserve a spot: http://www.kaphotos.ca/.


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