KD Kidder, School Director and Instructor

Portrait of KD Kider

KD KIDDER has been taking photos since her dad gave her a Kodak Brownie camera for her 5th birthday. Watching her mother paint and her father and grandfather take photos taught her as a young child to notice light and shadow and to anticipate the moment. These elements have been part of her vision ever since.

KD graduated from Langley High School in McLean, Virginia, and then the American College of Switzerland in Leysin, Switzerland. She spent two years studying in Switzerland and traveling to England, Italy, France, Spain, and Germany, and another six months traveling to Greece, Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan. Her professors and fellow students were from many different countries, and this gave her a variety of perspectives on art as well as on education and business. She came back to the U.S. after receiving an Associate of Arts degree and worked for several months in a runaway shelter in Mclean, Virginia, where she helped kids and parents communicate. She then continued her formal education at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, planning to become a counselor. Even though she did not end up in counseling, she learned a lot about communicating with all kinds of people, and she met her husband and future partner, Neil Steinberg. Together they opened Photoworks, in historic Leesburg, Virginia, in 1979.

In 1987, KD won the “Woman of the Year” award from Loudoun County for her work with The Great Peace March—an organized nine-month walk in 1986 from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.—and for her subsequent participation in a similar walk in the USSR, from Leningrad to Moscow. Both walks were extensively photographed and presented as slide shows in schools and churches throughout the country. It was through these travels that she discovered she could use her photography to show diverse peoples how similar they are, thereby dispersing the fear that causes individuals to feel isolated or violent. She was excited to find another use for her photographs: telling stories and fostering peaceful solutions to conflicts.

KD has spent more than thirty-six years building a reputation for excellence in the photographic arts, has won numerous awards in photojournalism, and has been published around the nation and internationally. She has exhibited at the Chicago Peace Museum, as well as in Moscow, Los Angeles, London, and, of course, Leesburg, Virginia. Most recently, she traveled to a wellness clinic in Bangalore, India, and is currently using her photographs to spread the knowledge of healing through simple, natural, inexpensive ways. She is also helping to raise funds to expand a free-clinic network in India and, in the future, around the globe.

She uses her extensive experience and skills to teach photography to aspiring young artists. Several years of film and darkroom teen camps as well as private lessons have allowed her to continue to work in her favorite place, the darkroom.

Her message…

Take notice of your life each day. … Take time to notice the light. … Share that light.

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