Fourth-grade teacher turned photographer celebrates Black History Month
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - A fourth-grade teacher’s work has been shared all around the country including Southwest Georgia.
Terrance Sims went from teacher to photographer when he decided to empower his students of color by capturing them in pictures of black icons.
Sims who is based in Milwaukee, Ga said this photography project means so much to both him and the students.
“I think you live differently when you’re walking in a purpose, so this really shaped the way I move and the way I see things. And kind of the way I act and things like that, so it’s been huge for me and I know it’s been great for the kids,” said Sims.
Sims has recreated timeless photos of black icons with the help of his students. And it all started five years ago.
“I was a fourth-grade teacher, and I was just trying to find ways to get my students more excited about learning. And one thing I noticed is that they are just glued to their phones, so I was thinking like what I can do with phones that will get them more excited,” said Sims.
Sim’s photography career came about because he wanted to find a way to continue to give his students an engaging learning environment.
“I had started working with my kids doing like rap songs and they’ll recreate beats that they like with some lyrics that you wouldn’t mind hearing a kid yell out from time to time. And I paid somebody to come in and they charged like a real crazy price and I’m like ‘well I can’t do this again if I’m going to keep paying this’, so I had to learn those skills on my own, so I can just keep doing it inside the classroom,” said Sims.
Sims saw a need to uplift his students due to a lack of representation.
“There’s not a lot of positive stuff that you can really see that shows people that look like them or their age, so I was already working with cameras back then. So I just started with that Hidden Figures thing and I thought it would be cool to just recreate that with the kids. And it kind of just took off from there,” said Sims.
That Hidden Figure’s inspired photos went viral and garnered nationwide attention. His students were featured on Good Morning America and Inside the National Basketball Association(NBA).
‘One of the students even got the chance to meet former First Lady Michell Obama after she saw the recreation of the cover of her book ‘Becoming’,” said Sims.“So like these are just like experiences that you know they’ll get to live and have forever and cherish.”
Sims recently opened his own photography studio, but what are Sim’s plans for the future?
“So I’m excited this year to take it from just a photoshoot to turn it into a full-fledged book that people can kind of like read through and learn about both the figure and the student,” said Sims.
Sims says he hopes to take his art cross country in the near future.
To connect with Terrance Sim’s you can find him on Facebook and also on Instagram @simsstrong.
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