Professional Photographer Interview With Kelvin Hayes Of London UK
Q: When did you decide to become a photographer?
A: I didn’t, it is part of my ongoing evolution as an artist. I have been a painter, designer and illustrator and spent the last ten years writing, so it felt good and natural to be working with images and visual composition again.
Q: How would you describe your attention span?
A: It gets shorter with age but I have a long memory!
Q: Do you like to talk about yourself or your pictures? If yes, about what aspects of photography? If no, why?
A: A little of both I suppose.
Q: What does photography mean to you?
A: I’m not sure, possibly another medium from which to make visual inquiry of the surrounding milieu which we call our world and home.
Q: Can you recall the first photo you took that made you go WOW!?
A: Recently it would be the Peacock in the city shot and of my previous photos probably Bath – footprints in the snow, Venice and the Wellington cable car museum shot which has the words reflected in the glass against a brilliant blue sky.
Q: Do you have any formal training regarding photography?
A: A little, I took a GCSE but gave up before the exam, then as part of my foundation in art it reared its head again but no fireworks that time either.
Q: How do you feel about digital manipulation and to what extent do you utilize it?
A: In all cases, it depends on the image and what the material requires. A good example on the latter point is that one of my images which I nearly deleted ‘Diablo Cat’ was only striking after I retouched it in photoshop.
That line of thought goes right back to my early art training when my then lecturer told me that if I have an image which isn’t any good, I might as well do something with it because it might lead to new directions – he was right! I utilized it in the early nineties by drawing on photos and now experimenting with colour, crops and settings on the camera itself.
Q: Where is your favorite place to live and work as a photographer in the World and why?
A: Well, Paris is always good. Just about everything viewable with the eye is a potential photograph, you could go nuts in Paris! And Cardiff in Walesas it’s less known than most world cities.
Q: Define the word “beauty”!
A: Isn’t that in the eye of the beholder?
Q: What is your most favorite and least favorite word in photography or life? How do they make you feel?
A: ‘Unsuccessful’ – How can you be unsuccessful if you haven’t been given the chance!?
Q: How does your personality change when you look through the camera?
A: It doesn’t, I am mostly a critical guy and the same frustrations come out when taking photos, why does that bloody sign have to be there – that kind of thing.
Q: How do you feel about missed shots which cannot be recreated?
A: Only one word.. gutted, even now I think about the evening in New Zealand when the snowy mountains of the south island presented themselves against a pink sky and I had left my camera at home (quite purposely as I’d got sick of lugging my bag around). It was a lesson in ‘you never know what you’re going to see.’ Now I always carry a camera if only a point and shoot.
Q: Ever concerned about failure?
A: I’ve not really encountered anything but so it’s not a concern per sé but a nice surprise when an image I thought was good gets picked out.
Q: Who are your influences?
A: Don’t really have photographic influences as anyone can take a beauty. However during my foundation I was introduced to the work of Barbara Ess, Helen Sear and Rene Jacques but photographers can shift style very fast so both Sear and Jurgen Teller for example are only relevant with specific shots or bodies of work.
Q: What is your favorite image, either your own or someone else’s or both? Describe its creation or meaning to you?
A: Mine are pretty much covered in the WOW question above, but I like Rene Jacques black and white shots of Paris purely on a level of mood and the enigma they evoke.
Q: Describe a day in your personal or professional life/What are the biggest personal or professional challenges you face on a daily basis?
A: What to take pictures of today (particularly when in the same place) and the biggest blights: what will the weather be like and how many security people will I have to deal with!
Q: What has been the single biggest obstacle against growing as a photographer in whole?
A: Not having a good enough camera, specific agency requirements and in marketing my work.
Q: What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
A: Landscape/Nature, Cities/Buildings, Animals.
Q: Have you ever thought about or actually stopped doing photography? What were the circumstances?
A: No, only just started. I do wonder occasionally about what medium I might work in next though.
Q: Do you ever have photographer’s block and if yes how do you deal with it?
A: Not really though there are days when I don’t feel like shooting anything. The need for a new environment is always a good stimulant.
Q: What types of assignments are you attracted most?
A: Ones that pay!
Q: Do you think of yourself as an artist and what do you think of the word artist?
A: Yes, always have been. Artist is by its nature a little limiting in that it relates mostly to painting/fine art. Creative or artisan are perhaps a better choice of words.
Q: How do you describe your photographic style?
A: Don’t really have any one style..I shoot to suit.
Q: What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction to your photographs?
A: That I actually got selected with an image I thought was a winner.
Q: Tell a little secret about yourself that no-one knows …
A: I wish I was French or Australian.
Q: Who or what would you love to shoot that you haven’t already?
A: Some of the women you have!
Q: What would you have done differently during your photography career so far and could this be an advice to others?
A: Invested in a better camera sooner but all life experience.
Q: What are your thoughts on the paparazzi and their effects on photographers and photography?
A: I suppose they serve a purpose for a particular market, but it’s not relevant to me.
Q: What other thoughts would you like to share?
A: As Calvino would say..nothing and not much! target=”_blank”