Milwaukee photography project transforms kids into trailblazers

During a series of photo shoots earlier this year, young students at Milwaukee College Prep transformed into Black icons and trailblazers. 

Milwaukee College Prep's art director and media coordinator Terrance Sims is the project creator. Each February, he uses photography to engage, educate and celebrate Black History Month

"When you see a picture of a kid smiling, you’re easily hooked to it," Sims said. 

Sims' photography project started six years ago with three girls recreating a poster for the movie "Hidden Figures." He gives children props and costumes, allowing them to highlight influential Black figures. 

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"I really feel like when you know who you are, you are just better all around. How can you know yourself without knowing your roots and your past?" Sims said. "This is a good opportunity for them to get in there, get excited and see their past come to life."

At a January photo shoot, a boy dressed up as director Spike Lee. Other boys transformed into Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Barack Obama. Girls became First Lady Michelle Obama, astronaut Mae Jemison and other trailblazing women. Sims took pictures of dozens of children. 

Photoshop and imagination make the green screen images come to life. They are printed, shared on Milwaukee College Prep's social media and used to teaching tools. 

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"I hope when people see it, they get more excited to learn about Black culture," Sim said.  "I think we’re more than what meets the eye."