Nessie Appleton Smith

Nessie Appleton-Smith is a South London based creative who focuses on all things visual. After spending the last few years at university focusing on her videography, Nessie recently took a series of intimate portraits of the Okoli family….

I love personal portraits, up close, really detailed. I’m trying to capture a sense of the person, who they are, what they like, that sort of thing. The best is when the subject is talking about something they’re passionate about, the feeling of excitement and passion can translate well to an image.

I’ve known the Okoli’s for a long time, Annabel and I went to school together. Her family is so cool, they all dress so well and are beautiful people. I wanted to take images that captured the way I see them so they dressed themselves and we did the shoot in their home. 

The shoot on the day was lovely, we spent so much time just catching up, we haven’t seen each other in a while especially during covid. They’re all in such different stages of life.. graduations, secondary school, it was great to have individual talks to see where they’re at.

I’ve started shooting a new semi-autobiographical series called Schools Out. The idea is to take photographs of young queer kids who are still in school. I started a LGBTQ+ society in my old school which is still going on, it had such a great impact on my experience of growing up as a queer kid. I

I got in contact with some kids who are still a part of the society and took some photos outside of the school, places where I used to hang out a lot. Over the next couple of years I want to capture groups of queer kids and their friends so I can show how important it is to have a sense of that community at a young age, I was really fortunate to have that when I was younger. It’s kind of like a love letter to my queer friends growing up, and to anyone else who’s experiencing something similar.