SA: Thank you so much for taking part in this interview project. You photograph almost exclusively in black and white. I think you have a very distinctive style. What is important to you when you take pictures?
KC: Thank you for featuring me in this project! In my street photography I focus on quiet moments in the chaos. You’ll notice that most of my images feature a single subject, isolated in a calm environment within the context of a hectic city. It’s important to me to slow down and appreciate the smaller moments in life that we often miss while consumed in technology or everyday stresses. The appreciation I now have for fleeting moments, from the way light hits a building to a child playing at the beach, is one of many reasons why I love photography!
SA: I and many others will be interested in how and when you came to street photography?
KC: About 1.5 years ago and 6 years into a degree in mechanical engineering, I experienced a lot of burnout and lack of a creative outlet. A photography class seemed like the obvious complement to fluid dynamics and biomechanics! In my first series, I photographed my shoes everywhere I went—it was both an interesting way to document the everyday, and to explore my love of fashion. (Yes, you can be an engineer and still be fashionable!) At that point, I had never even heard of street photography, so photographing other people’s shoes on the street didn’t come to mind. Now that I’ve been doing street photography for about 6 months (I photographed on and off for the first year—about 6 months ago I got serious and started shooting and studying the photography greats every day), I want to focus more on the details of everyday life. Time to re-visit the shoe series!
SA: You write in your biography that you do street photography and documentary photography. What is the difference for you?
KC: For me, street photography is about appreciating the small moments around you—that might be someone’s shadow hitting the ground in an interesting way or offering your perspective on a heavily photographed scene. If it’s well shot, it will evoke some sort of emotion. But for me, documentary photography goes to a much deeper place. It’s commentary on an issue, has the potential to change perspectives, and can give a voice to people who might not otherwise have one.
SA: Do you have a tip for photographers who are new to street photography?
KC: Every month, print 100 images (I’m talking cheap Walgreens prints) and spread them out on your floor. Don’t just print your favorites—print photos you’re not proud of or photos you’ve changed your mind about over time. One thing I’ve discovered is that you have to figure out what you don’t like in order to figure out what you do like. You can do a few things with these prints… 1) self review: put post-it notes on each photo and critique them 2) arrange them into groups—this will help you see where you might have a series (this is how I discovered I had a ‘youthhood’ series) 3) this is a good way to get critiques from family and friends who come to your place! Shoutout to Alan Schaller for the printing tip!
SA: Congratulations for your new project! How did you get the idea to create the page @documentingyouthhood to create?
KC: Thank you very much! As mentioned above, I realized in time that I love photographing kids. There’s something about their sense of wonder that I think we can all learn from as adults. The ‘youthhood’ series contains some of my favorite photos of my own work, so I thought why not curate an account where others can find inspiration from the same type of photos. One of the best parts of running the account is researching and discovering so many incredibly talented photographers around the world—that has been a huge source of inspiration and exploration in my photography.