Sunday, 27 July 2014

Interview with Kevin Conor Keller

Kevin Conor Keller is a father of two adorable children, a creative photographer and a graphic designer. Kevin takes incredibly unique photos of his children, blending away children's playfulness and innocence along with natural elements to create a single photograph that looks like a child's beautiful day dream...

I had the opportunity to ask Kevin few questions, so lets get to know him together shall we...    

Introduce yourself

 My name is Kevin Conor Keller, part occultist, part mystic, full time dad. Only two of those are true. 

How long have you been doing photography?
 Early 2008 is when I bought my first camera, a Sony DSC-H5. 

What type of camera do you use?
 Currently I own a Canon 60d.

What is your ideal camera (doesn't have to be real)
 I never really thought about what my ideal camera would be. Maybe a lightweight waterproof full frame mirror less with a huge sensor, fast lens, and a higher/faster frame rate. I'm more than happy with what I have now though. 

If you had to choose one lens what would it be?
Probably a 35mm; it's versatile, works great in pretty much every situation, and is fast. It's the perfect grab and go lens.

Do you prefer natural light or flash?
 I love natural light, but I'm not opposed to using strobes, I just prefer to carry the least amount of equipment possible. 

Indoors or outdoors?

 Outdoors, outdoors, and outdoors.

I've noticed that one of your favorite models are actually small children! how do you guide them through the shoot? how can you get them to do what you want?
  My son Avin and my daughter Evie are my two wonderfully terrible yet awesome subjects. Parents, or those that work with children know that asking one of them to stand still for a photograph rarely goes as planned, so instead of trying to get my kids to do exactly what I want, I lead them to a general area and let them pose/jump/run/wander/whatever on their own terms. I just hold the camera and keep my finger on the shutter button. My son, now 6, is starting to understand the process more and more each day which makes going out and taking photos that much easier.

Who do you think is overrated as a photographer or model?
 Everyone, including myself.

you do more than just photography, you design t-shirts as well tell us about that?
 Indeed, before I picked up a camera I worked at a screen printing studio as a graphic designer working on shirt designs, websites, and print projects for an insane amount of clients, mostly within the music industry but not limited to. Since then I still do freelance graphic design work alongside photography. Creatively, I don't think that I would be able to have one without the other.

You seem like a multi-talented person, yet I'm sure there's at least one thing you can't do..
 I don't know how to cook... yet.

What advice would you give multi talented people to be more focused at their work? (since you do so much along with photography) 
 Be mindful of your creativity and listen to what it tells you because inspired work will always be your best work. If creativity is tapping you on the shoulder, take it by the hand and don't ask any questions.

where do you find yourself the most? photography or design?
 As a stay at home dad of two young animals, time is a tool that has to be used very wisely. I find myself primarily doing photography because it provides me with a two birds, one stone scenario. It allows me to scratch the creative itch and run wild with the animals at the same time. 

How does it feel to see somebody wear a t-shirt you designed?

 It's embarrassing, awkward, exciting, humbling, strange and a few other feelings all at the same time. It's amazing that there are those who acknowledge that my work is good enough to be worn on a shirt or hung on a wall, but there are also times where the whole idea of such seems ridiculous and I wish that I kept all of my work to myself.

Tell us about

 Shuttrr was as idea I had to create an invite only social network of photographers. I really didn't have a reason why other than the want to create something potentially important to those who use it. With the help of a programmer friend, we quickly had something up within days and started handpicking and inviting people to join. For fear of creating something similar to a myspace cess pool, we kept the membership invite only. We ended up with a small but decent and quickly growing group of great photographers sharing work/information/knowledge. Unfortunately, with a wave of server crashes later, a database lost, and bugs we couldn't keep up with, we allowed the ship to sink. No joy.

 Walk us through your creative process ( from coming up with the idea until it's fully executed) 
Most of the time my creative process could be similar to playing russian roulette, or maybe a roulette wheel, either or. Once in a blue moon I'll have a light bulb moment and have a clear concept on what I want. Either way, the process is still a lot of trial and error, some struggle, more work, sleep, wake up, more struggle, and then it's finished and you look at it and have no idea how it happened. Some days are easier. 

What type of photography do you find challenging? 
 I find formal photography to be a bit challenging, especially when shooting weddings. I prefer to shoot candidly, and without interfering or asking too much from the subjects. Formalities are usually forced, and an attempt at perfection which to me isn't as beautiful as imperfection.

Describe your favorite image taken by you. 
 I haven't seen it yet.

Who do you look up to as a photographer?
I look up to anyone who can consistently come up with amazing work that stands out among the rest. Those who create for the sake of creating and nothing else. Those who see the beauty in things that I have yet to see or may have overlooked.

Describe your favorite image taken by another photographer.
 I enjoy so many from all sorts of artists/photographers, but if I had to choose one it would be this photo by Lauren Rosenbaum. It has so much movement and emotion yet is incredibly simple and naturalistic. It says so much without having to say much at all.

If you could be anything other than a photographer what would you be?

 Probably working in the forestry industry or similar, or a journalist. I enjoy writing a lot but have never taken it past the point of "weekend hobby". 

What are you still learning? 

 Still and will always be learning everything, even when it feels like I'm not. 

If you can photograph anyone or anything in the world who/what would it be?

 Any of the pyramids in Egypt or Central America, or my kids hanging out on a glacier in Iceland.

What movie/play/book/ music inspire you?

 I have more books than anything else and I am continuously inspired by them. I enjoy a good story from any genre or age category, fiction or non fiction. I have a good/bad habit of reading a lot of books in the same period of time, which can range from poetry by Shel Silverstein to backyard gardening to mysticism. Everything has to do with everything.

What inspires you the most?

 The unconditional love that nature provides for everything in existence. It is an ultimate truth that we have yet to fully comprehend or even become aware of. Each and every moment that brings me closer to that truth is always inspiring. 

How can you describe your style?

I haven't given much thought to style in my work. Abstract?

Did photography change you? Your vision? The way you see the world? 

Of course! How could it not? Every new image, every new creation shows me something I haven't seen before. Even the tiniest of realizations can cause you to wake up to a new truth/perspective/understanding of the world. 

If you had magical powers (breath underwater/fly/be invisible) what kind of pictures would you be taking?

 I suppose that would depend on how deep I can swim or how high I can fly. If I was invisible I would find out what my cats do while I'm out of the house. Is my camera also invisible?

How would people describe you?
 Stubborn, probably.  

It seems that nature and outdoors plays a big roll in your photography atmosphere  is that right?

 Indeed it does. Nature is everything. As a species we tend to create conveniences for our lives in spite of nature, instead of creating ways to live with it. It would be a shame for any child not to know the joys of walking barefoot in mud, or scraping a knee while climbing a tree, or picking wildflowers in a field, or any of the other infinite things one can do outside whilst wild and free. That freedom is a necessity to living happily with nature. Hippie much?

And you have a thing for humming birds...

 Small but mighty and beautiful creatures they are.

Can you share a before and after with us?

Absolutely. Here is my latest manipulation. 

Do you watch any photoshop tutorials or read any books? if so, please link

 Rarely do I watch or read any tutorials about photoshop or anything art related. My best learning (from reading or watching videos) comes from focusing more on the theory side of the spectrum, and not so much the technical side. The technical stuff I sort of figure out as I go, or from watching someone else do it in person. My mind tends to function in a non-linear kind of way especially when it comes to creativity, and step by step tutorials tend to work best when your mind is in linear mode, and I haven't found that mode yet. 

When you first started using photoshop what was the most challenging thing for you to learn?

Keyboard shortcuts, menu options, and tool memorization. Workflow plays a huge part in the process of creating anything, especially so on a computer. It was frustrating knowing what I wanted Photoshop to do, but not knowing where that tool or option was. 

Would you let me interview you again?

 Always and forever.

Find Kevin at : Website -- Flickr 

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