Katie Basbagill: Photographer, Explorer, High-Five Extraordinaire
I got my start in the arts when I discovered how easily red and orange crayon glided onto white walls. My dad’s band practice room was my first and favorite gallery space and my love of photography and story started shortly thereafter. I would spend countless hours turning the cellophane pages of old family photo albums and asking my mother about each photo.
As a college student, I pursued a Bachelor of Science in Communications and did a lot of coursework in photography. It didn’t take me long to realize that my preferred method of creative expression was through photographs, so I started Bohemian Red Images to combine my love of photography, story, and life.
My photographic approach leans more towards an unconventional, bohemian feel that seeks to capture accurate stories as they unfold. I'd describe it as a mix of natural and pure expressions coupled with colorful and textured backgrounds and details. (The ‘Red’ in Bohemian Red Images in a reference to my hair color)
Last year, as a fun side project I coordinated a large scale art installation for the Indianapolis Public Library that focused on IndyGo bus drivers, which was inspired by the internationally famous Inside Out Project. It was incredible to see the smiles on the faces of the bus drivers as they viewed 45 large scale portraits of their colleagues prominently displayed on one of Indy's busiest streets. Pro tip: Using wheat paste on the library will require a long series of pressure washings to remove.
In addition to hanging out with bus drivers, I have almost 10 years of experience documenting international human rights stories around the world and have been incredibly fortunate to partner with some top-notch organizations. I have worked on an Anti-Human Trafficking project in Thailand and photographed poverty's impact in India, Haiti, Costa Rica, Zimbabwe, and Nepal. My most recent endeavors took me to Nicaragua to document the inequalities of the trade system for coffee (I'm an advisor for Project Alianza, now!) then onto India to document the injustices widow's face in the rural south.
It's been an honor to work alongside of numerous refugee and immigrant focused organizations, especially those based in my home town of Indianapolis. Through collaboration, the stories of Burmese refugees and displaced Pakistani people were independently published as photo books to raise funds and provide civic service opportunities for Indianapolis residents.
My extensive involvement documenting the global water crisis has emphasized the multifaceted impact that access to clean water can have on a community; it has simultaneously taught me some of my biggest life lessons - the kind I will never lean in a classroom. Nearly a billion people in our world don't have access to clean water and I have a problem with that. Spending time documenting stories in places like Colombia, Swaziland, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and India has taught me that water truly is life.
After a lot of traveling, observing, reading, photo documenting, messing things up, and asking questions, I began to notice the connections between poverty, conflict, human rights violations, and injustice. One day, as I sat in a hut in rural Swaziland with a dear friend whose mother's body was ravaged HIV/AIDS, I decided that I wanted to study and understand the correlates and mechanisms that fuel such injustice in the world. So, I moved to San Diego from Indianapolis, bought some highlighters and blank white paper (I don't like lined paper), and recently began my MA in Conflict Analysis and Peace Studies at the University of San Diego's Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. I also gave away my ice scraper because I won't be needing that anymore. My aim is to develop a greater understanding of the drivers of conflict so I can better capture the nuanced stories that hone in on human similarities that traverse culture and conflict.
I'm a self appointed high-five expert. I tend to read non-fiction, love post-it notes, and I take my nail polish very seriously. I prefer my bourbon neat, my coffee black, and my music with banjos.
Feel free to contact me with any questions you have.