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Photographer Nikki Fosbery has always lived her life balancing between two worlds.
“I’m a member of the Westbank First Nation, and I also have European heritage including Irish and a bit of Scottish on my mom’s side,” Nikki explains. “I grew up feeling like I wasn’t native enough to fit in on the reservation, but also not white enough to fit in with the kids in my mom’s neighbourhood.”
Because of this, Nikki and her twin sister weren’t always treated with respect by their peers or even their teachers. She says this experience is one of her biggest strengths.
“Spending my childhood trying to figure out who I was, I learned how to look at things from all perspectives, and that’s a skill that helps me connect with people and take great photographs,” she says.
Nikki has been taking photos for just about as long as she can remember, capturing moments at family gatherings, beautiful scenes in nature and just about any image she found inspiring.
After having children, Nikki became very good at balancing between the world behind the camera, where she could dream and create, and the reality in front of it, where she was constantly making sacrifices for others.
“As much as I loved photography, I was so introverted and shy and I didn’t think I was competitive enough to make it as a professional artist,” Nikki says.
It took a series of difficult life events to build her confidence and empower her to pursue her dreams.
“My first husband passed away, and I later found myself in a toxic relationship,” Nikki says. “I always felt like I couldn’t get myself out of it because I didn’t want to cause instability for my kids.”
Again, Nikki was caught between two worlds. One where she felt weak and unhappy and the other where she was an incredibly strong mother doing everything she could for her children.
But instead of staying stuck, Nikki decided to climb.
“I did end up leaving the relationship, and that was when I first started making myself a priority,” she says. “I took time to hike Mt. Boucherie at least four times a week, enjoying the views and, of course, snapping photos on my phone the whole way up and down.”
Making time for herself opened up a new world of possibilities, and Nikki’s life just kept getting better from there. Her current husband is one of her biggest supporters—he was the one who encouraged her to revisit her dream of making photography a career.
“I had been working as a housekeeper in a care home for many years, and as much as I loved it, it was starting to take a toll on my back,” Nikki says. “When I started to consider other options, my husband immediately said, you have to do photography. I thought it was crazy at first!”
Needless to say, her husband was right. Since completing a photography program at the Centre for Arts and Technology, Nikki has been working professionally as an independent photographer, and she has never been happier.
“I grew up trying to figure out who I am, and now that I get to do what I love for work, I found my answer,” she says. “This is who I am.”