Edinburgh College Photography graduate encourages women to speak out in new exhibition

An Edinburgh College graduate has opened the doors to a photography exhibition aimed at encouraging women who have overcome life-changing ordeals to find a safe space to tell their stories.

Mhairi Bell-Moodie, who studied BA (Hons) Photography at the college’s Sighthill Campus, opened ‘Nevertheless, She Persisted’ at The Out of the Blue Drill Hall in Edinburgh yesterday.

The idea for the project came about in November 2016, when Mhairi captured images of two women, who afterwards, commented that the photoshoot had given them a much-needed confidence boost. It was then that Mhairi began thinking her skills could be used to help other women.

Mhairi said: “The two ladies really inspired me and got me thinking about how I could help women to feel good. Shortly after, I attended a women’s march in Edinburgh where I realised that feminism is still needed and that it’s important for women to stick together and support each other.  That’s when I became determined to make a project about women.”

Mhairi worked with 25 women who have overcome child loss, domestic abuse, rape, self-harm, body dysmorphia, suicide attempts, breast cancer and more when creating ‘Nevertheless, She Persisted’ and says that she learned something new from each of the exhibition’s participants.

“Each and every one of them has taught me something.  Whether it was their strength to push on through, or their determination to help others, I was just completely in awe of them sharing their stories with me.

“I hope that people, particularly women, who might identify with some of the stories would feel comforted that they aren’t alone and that there was hope that they, too, could survive the way these participants have. In general, I hope it reminds people to not judge when they don’t know someone and to be kind to one another.”

The exhibition represents Mhairi’s first major solo display and has already captured the attention of a famous face from across the Atlantic. Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former US President Bill and 2016 presidential candidate, Hillary, tweeted about the exhibition – urging people to go along and stop for a moment to think of women who have gone through “tragedy and other unthinkable hardships”.

“It was amazing to see Chelsea Clinton share my work”, said Mhairi. “I think what it shows is that the issues raised in the exhibition can affect women across the world, regardless of age, race, class or geography.  It’s important to remember that we all have the same hopes, fears, struggles and successes – so it’s pleasing to see others share this sentiment.”

‘Nevertheless, She Persisted’ is open Monday to Saturday from 10am until 5pm between May 8 and May 18.

For more information visit: https://www.mhairibellmoodie.com