Interview With Conceptual Photographer Kelly Balch Of Camarillo, CA
Q: What has been the single biggest obstacle against growing as a photographer in whole?
A: Not being able to advertise my work. I am the type of person that doesn’t like talking about myself. Ha, ironically, I am in a business where I need to advertise myself and work. I have grown into getter better at it, but I definitely have some more growing in that genre.
Q: What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
A: Landscape, and conceptual subjects.
Q: Do you like to talk about yourself or your pictures? If yes, about what aspects of photography? If no, why?
A: In a way I do. If the topic were to come up of what I do for a living. I am a professional freelance photographer, and I can shoot anything; head-shots, weddings, events, gallery work, music videos, etc. It is a passion of mine and enjoy every minute of it.
Q: How would you describe your attention span?
A: Haha, I think my attention span is somewhat minimal, but my when it comes to photography that’s my Ritalin.
Q: When did you decide to become a photographer?
A: My senior year in High school. My dad gave me an old Canon AE-1 and I never put it down.
Q: What does photography mean to you?
A: My passion, my escape…my poetry.
Q: Can you recall the first photo you took that made you go WOW!?
A: Yes! It was with that old Canon AE-1. I hadn’t realize it had photos my dad took back in the early 80′s of my older sister when she was two. I rewound the film and started snapping away of plants and flowers.
Not until I had gotten it developed; the whole role was double exposed photos of my sister and a beautiful flower overlapping near her, smiling…it was beautiful. That was when I realized I can create anything with a camera.
Q: Do you have any formal training regarding photography?
A: Yes, I had classes in college of photography, lighting, digital photography, and digital media. Which concluded into me getting my Bachelors of Arts. During my 4 years of college I have been creating my portfolio and successfully assisted two well known professional photographers.
Q: How technical is your photography?
A: It’s not as technical as it could get. Usually I go by what my client would like. Editing on Photoshop is the most technical my work has gotten.
Q: How do you feel about cropping?
A: It’s a completely different picture once cropped. Another perspective.
Q: Where is your favorite place to live and work as a photographer in the World and why?
A: My favorite place would be Oregon or Italy. Where there is nature, and history; two things I love the most.
Q: Define the word “beauty”!
A: Something created out of the inordinate, yet simple.
Q: What is your most favorite and least favorite word in photography or life? How do they make you feel?
A: Most favorite; serendipity. Every shot that I have taken that has been said to be a beautiful shot, was completely by accident…That makes me feel that I’m doing something right, that the career I have chosen was the right path God has laid for me. My least favorite; hate. It’s so final and make someone feel like there is opportunity to change their opinion.
Q: How does your personality change when you look through the camera?
A: I feel once I pick up that camera, and look through the viewfinder, that all rules are undefined, I can create anything — I can do anything. And I see beauty no matter the subject, therefore, making me take the picture and save what it was I found beautiful in that moment.
Q: How do you feel about missed shots which cannot be recreated?
A: If I missed the shot, then I was not meant to take it. . . there may be an even better one that will be created.
Q: Ever concerned about failure?
Q: Who are your influences?
A: God, Scott Indermaur, everything around me.
Q: What is your favorite image, either your own or someone else’s or both? Describe its creation or meaning to you?
A: I had a few minutes where I actually had to think of an image. I came to the conclusion where it is not a single image but images with all the same conception. Scott Indermaur’s concept his “Revealed” project. His images are a single body shot of a person and a 4 by 4 wooden box.
What the one person decides to put in their box is their representation of what spirituality they have and what lies beneath the surface of them. Each image I have seen him take gives me the chills each time.
Even now, just typing about it. It means allot to me for the single fact of my own spirituality and draws the question what would YOU put in the box in each viewer.
Q: Describe a day in your personal or professional life.
A: Wake up early, usually 7 or 8 o’ clock; whether I have work or not I could never spend a day sleeping it away. Then i have a morning ritual, which is pretty standard: make my bed, eat, and work out.
If I have a photo-shoot that day I prepare my equipment and head to wherever the location is. If not, I usually spend it writing, or finding another photo-shoot to schedule. If I am not taking pictures I am writing my second book.
Q: What are the biggest personal or professional challenges you face on a daily basis?
A: Not having enough time in the day. : )
Q: Tell your funniest, scariest, most bizarre, most touching story from a photo shoot!
A: When assisting Scott Indermaur we had a photo shoot for Entrepreneur Magazine about this lady who was the best seller and buyer on eBay that year. We drove some small town in Kansas and met at her house to do the photo shoot. It wasn’t the actually object that made the photoshoot, but the conversations and learning I had in that 4 or 5 hours with Scott that significantly touched me. I will forever remember that day.
Q: Have you ever thought about or actually stopped doing photography? What were the circumstances?
A: No. Never. Again, it is my true love and passion. I believe you can never stop true love and passion for something.
Q: Do you ever have photographer’s block and if yes how do you deal with it?
A: Gratefully, I have never had photographer’s block. Each photo-shoot or challenge I’ve had with a photo-shoot I evolve and create something else. There is always a way for something.
Q: What types of assignments are you attracted most?
A: Making music videos. I enjoy and am easily inspired by music. For most people, music is my muse. If I am ultimately moved by a certain song, I love to shoot my own still frame by frame music videos to it.
Q: Describe what black and white photography means to you?
A: Classic, somehow, in some way, it can make a simple candid or simple object more beautiful.
Q: Do you think of yourself as an artist and what do you think of the word artist?
A: Yes, most certainly. Artist to me, is someone showing emotion through creating something, whether it be music, drawing, painting, building something, and writing.
Q: How do you describe your photographic style?
A: Passionate, emotional — all sorts of emotion. Spontaneous, and tells a story.
Q: What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction to your photographs?
A: For my final senior project in college the art students had to hold a gallery night the last week of school. I was surprised to see the turn out I had and the overwhelming positive responses I had from my peers, and professors.
It was very satisfying and surprising to see so many people enjoyed my work. My work is me and putting it up for my whole college to see had made me somewhat vulnerable. I felt really blessed to hear such amazing feedback from them.
Q: Tell a little secret about yourself that no-one knows …
A: My own secret may be so deep in me that not even I would know of it…I tell my mother everything. I feel I don’t have one secret I left untold to her, or my friends. I feel I am an open book to my family and close friends. I am really stumped right now…
Q: Who or what would you love to shoot that you haven’t already?
A: The world. Okay I’ll be more precise, the Northern Lights, Egypt, Greece, Bend, Oregon, Jackson Hole…see like I said, the world. : )
Q: What would you have done differently during your photography career so far and could this be an advice to others?
A: Promote, promote, promote. You’re not being cocky when talking about yourself or your work when you ultimately are confident you’ll do well at it. Go out and make business cards and a website and start talking about your work.
Q: What are your thoughts on the paparazzi and their effects on photographers and photography?
A: That’s funny. I was a paparazzi photographer for about a week and had to stop immediately. I felt like I was a leach. Though, it definitely help me be quick with my finger in snapping a picture, and help me realize I didn’t care about celebrities personal lives so much.
Paparazzi and their effect on photographers and photography is strictly a business industry. Just as a wedding photographer needs to shoot weddings. They are simply doing a job…although they are annoying, and not the best artist out of the medium, they somehow still are able to capture great moments.
Q: How do you feel about digital manipulation and to what extent do you utilize it?
A: To be honest…I dislike it a bit. I feel like it takes away from the simple picture. I do see where it can utilize a picture by making a subject more pronounce and interesting. So, I do use it in some of my pictures. However, I feel like it totally is rising in a new genre of its own.
Q: What other thoughts would you like to share?
A: For anyone who really enjoys photography as a hobby, a career, or just to document things, they should never stop. Capturing a moment from what someone feels is worth taking always should be shared. You never know when someone will enjoy the same picture as well. When that happens, the connection that occurs, in itself, is priceless.