West of Ninth is primarily a photography and personal narrative blog featuring the residents within the nine neighborhoods that make up West Louisville. Our goal for the blog was and is a simple one: it’s all about the people. We want to give those people voices as well as create a sense of understanding for those within and outside of the community. With these stories, we spark some much-needed conversation about what the community needs, whether it be additional activities for youth, medical facilities, jobs or financial literacy. Oftentimes, we’ll feature people who are vocal about the violence and where the community is headed. We also make it a point to feature people from all generations to bridge that gap of understanding. We’re providing people a scope of everyday life for West Louisvillians.
We approach everyone we interview without judgement, which allows them to open up to us. Through this effort, we’ve found most of the people we feature just need someone to talk to. Knowing that people feel comfortable enough to trust us with their best as well as their darkest moments is an honor and a gift. It’s changed our lives in ways big and small, even helping us become more understanding to one another. When we bump into people from time to time, we remember their names. That special bond is so meaningful to us.
We’ve seen firsthand the value of connecting people in our community and that it’s okay to get out of the house and talk to people. Be that neighbor you can come to for a cup of sugar or a few eggs. A person’s day can change for the better just by speaking to another friendly face, maybe sharing a joke or a simple moment.
But what about the value of connecting communities across divides? There are people and places to explore outside of the communities we’re used to without judgement, without anything but an open heart.
Today, West of Ninth continues to grow on social media platforms. We’ve also taken up residence with a regular column in Leo Weekly. Other projects are currently brewing behind the scenes, and we look forward to sharing with the city very soon! We are humbled by the swell of support being shown to us.
All photos on this site were taken by Walter & Marshae Smith.