Studio West 51
...is the official site and studio space for the photographic works of artist, scholar activist Nicole Harrison. As you navigate the site, a common thread in Harrison’s images is that she captures the culture, the people and intimate communal spaces of the cities she has visited or has lived in. Her approach seeks to explore the beauty of community and the people, purposely in her hometown of Chicago.
In fact, Chicago is a huge anchor for Harrison’s career. The name Studio West 51 in itself represents the side of town she’s from and the community she most identify with. She studied arts management and visual culture with a focus on the Black world at Columbia College Chicago. Having studied the art and production of music, film, theater and much more, photography became a genre where she was able to tell more vivid stories; draw connections culturally and collaborate with others. Surprisingly though, she taught herself photography. However, it wasn’t until her graduate program in Africana Studies at New York University where she invested in her first camera and began creating the images she had envisioned in her mind over the years of studying Black art and culture.
From this moment, Harrison’s career as a photographer was born.
Starting out as an event photographer, she has had the opportunity to be a part of many phenomenal spaces. She has worked with the CSRPC at the University of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, and Kalamazoo College, just to list a few. She has had the opportunity to photograph Angela Davis, Cornel West, Kathleen Cleaver and lots of other artists, activist/organizers, scholars, and musicians. In addition to exhibiting and lecturing on her work(s).
Entering another stage of her career, launching Studio West 51 is an opportunity for Harrison to explore studio portrait photography while also hosting workshops, artist salons and other events in the space. Her mission with this space is to generate a community of artist, clients and scholars to share in the experience of image making that question and reinvison standards of beauty and representation.