Q: hi keith, lets start off with a few basics..you know, age, place of birth etc.
A: 58 years old (just about :-), born in Manchester UK.
Q: how did you come to photography?
A: i left school at 16 and became a hairdresser, wandered off to london and wandered back again with my tail between my legs, a lot of lessons learnt but all in all it was a great experience. i worked for Vidal Sassoon which took me to Hamburg in the mid eighties, and there i came into contact with my first photo studios… not long after i went freelance and worked as a hair and make up artist until my early thirties. I remember buying my first „proper“ camera, a Canon AE1, thinking ill just give it a try, could i capture on film what i saw with my eyes? The answer was yes! The late wonderful Photo Agent Beate Thomas Klein/ Kleinphotografen phoned me up one day and said „keith, i hear you’re doing nice pictures, why don’t you come around for a coffee“I did, and after that i never looked back, Thank you Thomas, forever grateful, love and miss you.
Q: So you learnt your photography on film/analog ?
A: yes… it was wonderful… still is!!! I’ve learnt to enjoy the digital process, it took a while though, I was THE generation of photographers who went through the „upheaval“, the process of changing from analog to digital. When i look back everybody was swimming around pretending to know what they were doing, it was pretty awful.. and i confess to losing my „style“ a little during this time, when i look back on my images during this period …mmmmhhh.. not great … too much photoshopping.too much everything… but i think and believe i,m shooting more analog style now then i ever have done since the „digital revolution“.
Q: so how would you describe your style?
A: good question:-) Thomas (klein) used to say i was a great storyteller with my pictures, which probably nowadays translates into that much loved and overused word authentic? authenticity and fashion photography barely mix, so i,ll say this..i,m always interested in the person/people in my pictures, they are not just there to show off the clothes.. i,m constantly looking for that contact, that moment that separates THAT picture from all the rest…it,s a process.. from blank canvas to finished picture…. i still haven’t really given an answer right ? ok..mmmmhhh.. modern classic ?
Q: Your strengths and weaknesses?
A: this is getting tougher:-) i kinda liked the first question- age, place of birth etc Strengths- i,ve never been a quitter, i stop when i,ve gotten the picture and not before.. and i mean the picture THAT I LIKE, and not what perhaps everybody looking into the laptop thinks. And also perhaps that i,ve never believed and still don’t that i know it all, i,m always prepared to look at everything from a different angle, to take risks and keep on learning.Weaknesses? ha! ask the clients who only booked me once:-)
Q: and „Dog walker“?
A: yes.. George & Guinness. two wonderful dogs.. and walking with them is my meditation.. dogs.. can’t, don’t and won’t live without them.
Q: l studio or daylight?
A: when i started out, definitely daylight!!! probably due to lack of technique at that time on my side, but i do confess over the years i began to really enjoy the studio side of things and still do, it truly is creating from scratch and i,ve developed into a definitely halfway reasonable studio photographer:-) I’ve always felt comfortable working outside, come rain or shine… i shot in scotland a while back, it poured down non-stop for three days.. had a fantastic time, and the pictures turned out great as well, i suppose that says it all :-)
Q: last question- over 25 years experience as a professional photographer, anything you want to pass on?
A: makes me feel like a dinosuar.. close to extinction :-) but ok.. my way? don’t look too much left and right, it can be a distraction.. yes it’s ok now and again but concentrate on your own stuff, your thing ! listen to what your stomach is telling you is right, stay true to yourself and you can’t go wrong. I’m not saying it will lead to success.. but it’s what i believe is the only way to go.. in a nutshell, as a photographer, even if it’s team work, it’s sometimes necessary to put on the blinkers, block out the chitter chatter and do what you know is necessary to get the job done.