Digitalab Featured Photographer: Layne Kennedy
At Digitalab, we appreciate the power of photography, whether it’s personal or professional. We asked Layne Kennedy for one of his images and posed a couple of questions to find out exactly what it is he loves about photography and what he’d say to any enthusiastic photographer hoping to make a career out of their passion.
Tell us a bit about this image and why you chose it to be featured.
Photography is all about instincts.
Reacting to those instincts and not ignoring them puts a photograph in position to capture something meaningful. I was photographing soldiers gathering in Moscow’s Red Square when my eye caught this young girl amidst a sea of military men. All seemed nervous, anxious for some reason. Not unusual in large gatherings.
She clung onto her father’s hand and seemed quite shy and intimidated by all the big people. Suddenly her eye caught mine. She didn’t look away like most kids might when being looked at by a stranger. Somehow, in that moment, we both agreed the distraction was a kind one. It took our minds off the crowds. I snapped off a frame. She smiled, I smiled then moved on.
This is why I carry a camera.
Which styles of photography most interest/inspire you?
I’m in the good position of being an editorial photographer. This means I primarily shoot magazine feature stories. But, it’s not news photography per se. So, in many ways it allows more freedom to use photography as a means of communicating what you are trying to say about a subject. Exploring for powerful visuals in a story can often lead to a fine art approach on some subjects.
That really opens up the floodgates to creativity. As long as you stay within the focus of your story, personal interpretation can be a rewarding visual option within a series of photographs.
What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring photographer?
If your destination is to be a photographer, be a photographer. Find themes or projects to force you to shoot a variety of subjects. It doesn’t mean you’ll end up dong that, but you will learn the medium. You will learn what you enjoy and what you don’t like. I’ve always told young shooters, get a job on a newspaper if you can. You learn every aspect of the medium and learning to make quick, instinctive decisions is daily practice. It trains you to be precise in your shooting, eliminating the extraneous information.
Aside from newspapers (which sadly are in decline these days), work as an assistant or take a workshop in a location where the visual spirit calls you.