Not only am I lucky enough to call this man a friend, but I also had the pleasure of him joining me on my wedding day to capture the fabulous occassion. I have got to know Kris Askey pretty well over the past few years and when he hinted that he'd be interested in becoming a 'victim' of my interview series I jumped at the chance. We met up in a bar across from the studio for an hour before getting him in front of the camera and capturing some shots, which I honestly feel might just be the best ones I have taken so far. Inspired by American photographer, Billy Kidd, who did a wonderful set with the actor Ethan Hawke, we used a single softbox to get some honest and clear shots of a wonderfully talented man.
The full interview is below if you can't see the embeded PDF above!
Have you always felt that you needed to have a creative outlet, even from a young age?
Yeah, when I was at school it became quite apparent to me that I was only good at anything that allowed me to be creative – you get some people who say they were good at art; I was always good at the technology side of things (design & technology at school), I was also useful with computers. Anything that allowed me to have a sort of blank canvas I was great with – any subject where I had to know what the textbook said, where you go away and basically rewrite the words in the book, I didn’t really get on with very well. It was great when something was given to me, like an empty page or a model to make – these are the things I relished. I know these days its all computer based, but back then, I really enjoyed the craft side as well, so there’s always been this side to me that’s felt creatively connected.
Anything that’s allowed me to be creative I’ve tried to take on; that’s why I still do video stuff, I was into illustration and graphic design all of it kinda blended in together and its also why I chose the University degree I did, which was product design at Wolverhampton. The only reason I chose that course was because on the open day I was told you’d be doing sketching and rendering throughout the three years, model making, a bit of graphic design and it was really cool.
So, from there you started your working life as a graphic designer - was that something you always wanted to do?
No, not really – the whole reason I chose product design was because I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to do something creative, but it took me a while – I almost left University in the first year as I just wasn’t enjoying it, however, in the second year we did a module which allowed me to get my first distinction and I felt it was fairly easy. So I decided to stick with it a while longer; by the third year I came away with a first, so I was glad I had stuck with it, I still said to my lecturer at the end that ‘I really don’t know what I want to do with my life’! He commented that from what he knew of me as a person and a creative was that my visual communication and graphics were the strongest parts of my projects, hence the move into graphic design.
It was really hard to get the break in that career though, there weren’t any positions available – so, I was a little bit naughty. I used Adobe Flash to design a couple of websites, with moving bits and what-not, before websites were really moving forward that way; and then I just blagged a job interview as a web designer. I was given the job and was expected to know HTML and CSS and I didn’t really know anything about it so I ordered a book from Amazon and read as much as I could whenever I had a spare moment.
Over time, my role changed from a web designer to a junior designer, so I almost had to forge my own career straight from university. You imagine that you go to university to get the job you want, but I came out and then had to go and make my own route.
I guess there is the expectation when you are younger that University will get you ready for your profession, but the reality can be way off can’t it?
Without a doubt. In fact there was a college recently I did some work with and I spoke to their photography department, as I was working directly with them. The main guy, the person who was solely responsible for getting the students ready for a career in photography by the time they left, doesn’t practice photography that much anymore. Straight away that struck me as insane, it was a real eye-opener.
So when did your photography begin? The first photographs I remember seeing that you’d taken were when you worked with Free Radio, so you were taking shots at work – was that where it began?
Oh no, I used photography as an added bonus to help land the job interview with Free Radio in 2012, it was still very early on – I started with photography in 2011 alongside the web design job, but it came about because a girl at work was a club photographer and she was selling a Nikon D70. I had just got out of a terrible relationship and knew I wanted to start something new. Immediately after purchasing that camera I had a friend who was into photography, and was really the reason I got started in the first place. Straight away I realised it got me out of the house, in front of different people and shooting different things. In the first 2 months with the camera, I took a break with my friend and we were on the streets of Basel waiting for the keys to where we were staying and we had nothing to do. So, we thought, ‘let’s go into the city centre with our cameras’ – I had no idea what I was doing at all but it was great fun. I loved it and it was the most alive I’d felt for a good several years.
So the Nikon was your first camera?
Yeah, the D70; If you looked at it I think the mega-pixel on it was like 9 or I reckon even 6, which there is nothing wrong with as I look back on them now and they are still decent. Its all about the sensor though isn’t it!? I only used it for a couple of months because it did pose a couple of issues – I’d picked it up quite fast and I realised I needed something just to give everything a bit of a boost, so I got a Nikon D3100 from Curry’s in Wednsebury. (detail on this was obviously important!) So that was using an 18-55mm kit lens but I went and got a 35mm f1.8 which, basically, started my love for prime lenses.
Are the prime lenses your preferred lenses?
Everything, bar the odd subject, allows me to zoom with my feet allowing me to get closer and further away. I understand the importance of zoom lenses, when you are on top of a mountain and need to zoom in, even though it’s not, I feel personally it’s slightly cheating. I feel like the camera should only be doing a certain proportion of the work, whereas if you sat someone down with a camera on a tripod and got them to zoom in on something, then I don’t think that’s doing the work – obviously there are exceptions, like with wildlife photography, but the stuff I do I feel I have to zoom with my feet to be connected to the images.
As I’m aware of the way certain primes can distort an image, whenever I shoot a portrait session I only have two lenses with me, my 85mm which is a perfect focal length for headshots, and also the 35mm. Between the two there is a big difference on how the portraits appear and I really enjoy the mix that these two offer at the moment.
“I feel like the camera should only be doing a
certain proportion of the work.”
So besides your friend who influenced you enough to get you started in photography, are there other photographers who you’ve been captivated by?
It was hard to start with for me, as there was such a huge abyss of information, examples and styles and people to look at. However, I did start building a collection of people’s work which began with great portraits and quickly was added to by photojournalism and documentary work. Off the top of my head it was the Magnum books that were an inspiration to start with then onto Henri Cartier-Bresson, just for the simple fact that I think we are surrounded with polished, commercial, paparazzi images and his work contained the kinds of images that I had that were exactly what looked for, something that was more ‘me’. That’s where it all started from really for me.
When did the photography start to become more serious – more than just a hobby?
There was a little bit with work, but the stuff I was doing was all quite rushed, they didn’t quite put the same value on photography as other things and I wasn’t getting as much freedom as people thought. I often found myself in a live interview with only a few minutes to get something before they left the studio. So, it was hard to look at what I’d done so far and decide, was it a true representation of what I wanted to do with photography? Most of it wasn’t, and that was when I decided that I needed to start to shoot the kinds of things I wanted to shoot, but also try and open up some doors which allowed me to have a bit more time and practice with the camera - which is really hard when you work full-time. Its chaos! Generally because photography is such a physically and mentally demanding medium, in the way that you are working so hard to get single shots and planning to get them right. Whereas I feel you can run-and-gun things like video much easier – I think its harder to get really great looking images.
That was my problem to start with, I was planning too much, I was planning rigorously – but that’s part of who I am, both studio and especially street photography has taught me to step back a bit more and almost allow the creativity to flow. Rather than try to constrain things and say we can’t do this or that, I’ve tried to let go of the control and roll with it a bit.
“Studio, and especially street photography,
has taught me to step back a bit more and
almost allow the creativity to flow.”
Your first paid photography job – can you remember what it was?
Hang on, yeah I think I can remember, it was a complete disaster! I was approached to shoot two musicians, but I wasn’t dealing directly with them – it was a mother of one of them that approached me after seeing the work I’d done with the girls (The Glamaphones) back when they were called ‘The Pin ups’. They wanted some creative photography, when I look back on it I don’t think I will have any examples, but I used to do this crazy blending photography with graphic design kinda thing. One example was when I took a shot of my hairdresser and turned her into some kind of horror-scissor woman, and it was just a bit of fun – for me it was trying to pour my art and design mindset into photography.
Anyway, I agreed to the shoot and took images of them around Brindley Place. Looking back the shots themselves weren’t all that bad; it was more what they wanted me to do with them as I started to realise it was a lot of Photoshop work and I really didn’t think that was a route I wanted to go down, creating heavily processed work. I wanted to stick with the styles in the books I really loved, the more real and honest photography – but they’d paid me for the shoot so it wasn’t too bad!
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced with your photography so far?
Biggest challenges so far, I’d say (deep breath) well first and foremost I’d say finding the time for it when I had a full-time job, there’d be so many nights I’d be going to bed at 2am and have to be back up at 6am for work- that was hard. Also the amount of trial and error that’s involved with photography, there’s plenty of people out there who do one or two shoots over a long time and are happy with that, whereas for me I had more of a specific idea of where I wanted to be with mine. Perhaps I put too much pressure on myself, but also being confident in the work you produce as an artist is hard because you are so critical, so paid work as we’ve just mentioned, is standing by the price that you are going to charge, because everyone wants a great photography job for £50. It took me a while to understand this, it’s your responsibility to educate them as to why your work is worth paying this much for.
In terms of the technical side of things I picked up the camera quite quickly, lighting has been a struggle, but I feel like over the past couple of years I’ve really got it. As with everything its about trying not to overcomplicate things, there’s a lot of people in photography who try to make it sound like its harder than it is. In terms of the technical side, there’s a lot of hard work involved, but anybody can put the work in and everything is online – its on YouTube, tutorials everywhere so you can always find a way. So believing in your own work and finding the time have been the hardest things to overcome.
You talk about time being an issue, do you get time to photograph for fun; to relax and shoot things personally?
I’d say that from the very start when I went freelance, I said to Laura (my partner), one of the reasons I wanted to go freelance wasn’t because I wanted to work every hour of every day, it’s because I wanted to do more of what I wanted to, alongside making some money. I’ve learn that it is important, no, vital to make time to shoot your own personal stuff – the reason why, (not just for a photographer, but any creative), is if you don’t make the time for your personal work then your portfolio is always going to be full of other peoples ideas and demands. So, for me, an example of why shooting your own stuff is a great idea is because of the other doors that can be opened by doing this – I managed to get the project with The Birmingham Children’s Hospital after they’d seen my work on Instagram, I got an exhibition from all the images I’d taken on my daily commute. All this showed me that doing this personal work didn’t just lead to a page on my website called ‘Personal’ it could lead to some exciting opportunities I’d never have thought of.
Going back to the portfolio example, if I’d have just concentrated my samples around the work I was doing for Free Radio, everything would have been bright green! And that’s not good – you need the variation to show that you can be versatile.
You touched on your Instagram, do you find social media is more of a blessing or a curse? I mean in terms of exposure it can be great, but do you find it can also be time consuming?
It can be really draining, especially when you do far too much, when I was doing the street stuff on the way to and from work, I’d be on the train just after 8.07am and doing an Instagram post, that would post out every day at the same time, I’d then copy and paste onto twitter – then push out to Facebook too. But now that I’m freelance I feel that I don’t have the same regimented time frame to my day so I do find it harder to keep up with posting daily. It does get me a lot of work, but at the same time you need a balance with it, I almost think its better off if people see your best work rather than half-arsed work that’s posted more regularly – so think quality over quantity. It has to be quality.
“It’s better if people see your best work rather than half-arsed work that’s posted more regularly.”
Moving onto collaboration; do you get chance to do much or would you like to do more?
Well, the first things that spring to mind is the immediate collaboration on portrait shoots with models and makeup artists. I prefer to work one-on-one, I find situations with multiple stylists, hair stylists and makeup artists all clouds my mind too much. I like to work directly with a person. However, photography is quite lonely, so I think that collaboration is important, and I’ve only realised that over the last year or so. I began to get really integrated with Instagrammers Birmingham in 2016, and I’ve met so many people and made so many good friends through it and every now and again you get invited out; this weekend I‘ve been invited out to photograph the sunrise over Birmingham – just because! So, in that way it’s great to have other creatives around you. In terms of collaboration, apart from the modelling sessions, there isn’t much of an opportunity at the moment for me, at least not to collaborate on a level I’d like to be working to.
Actually, I have recently done some video work with Theo and Pete, who filmed me walking around Birmingham, so that was a fun project I got to work together on. Something else that’s been on my mind, probably as I’ve had a bit of a past with it, was I recently saw Jarrad Seng had done an exhibition, where not only were his photographs on display, but he’d worked with an artist/illustrator who had created kind of abstract art piece to work alongside. They worked as 2-piece art installations which were very cool. I saw it and thought it was a great way a photographer could collaborate with a designer, but there’s loads of other stuff out there. For me its about finding the time to work on the right project with the right people.
Do you travel much with your photography?
Well in terms of paid work it tends to be local, but I have been fortunate enough to have been on holiday over the six last years, around ten times, so almost twice a year, I am certainly of the opinion that you need to go out there and take the opportunities to travel whilst you can, because you don’t know if you’ll get the chances to go again in the future. Its enabled me the chance to go to places like the USA, Mexico, Italy, Spain, Skiing in France, Thailand and places like Switzerland a couple of times. I always take my camera, and in some way one of those trips has provided images that either get brought as a print or been in an exhibition.
Your education - have you found it’s helped with your photography
It’s almost like I have built up a system of working, I research a lot and when I come across something that really inspires me I latch onto it and I will pull together all the relevant information that could help me; whether it’s quotes to help motivate me, techniques or styles. Then you can’t exactly copy everything you liked, but you use it as inspiration so you can create something that’s yours. I feel my education has helped as at University I learnt that, for the most part, you are on your own. Some people at University were wondering why they weren’t getting more help from their lecturer or more support from others, I think I grasped that you need to become more independent.
It helps massively with photography as you are the researcher, the planner, the photographer, the editor, the curator and the person on social media and updating your website. It’s a real one-man band, kinda thing – you might be spending such a small amount of time actually taking the shots, unless you have some strong financial backing or you get established to the point where you can hire 5 assistants and have someone else edit your images. I don’t really think that’s being a photographer.
“...you are the researcher, planner, photographer, editor, curator, the person on social media and
also the one updating your website.”
You must have moments where things suddenly click – whether it be technical or not?
Yeah mainly because whenever I have tried things in the past I have gone in too complicated, I realised that stripping it down, taking smaller steps and trying to see the bigger picture. For example, when you are on a shoot and you get the lighting right and you take a burst or a few photos of someone, once in Lightroom you can edit one and then sync the edits with the other images in that burst – previously I was editing each individual image, but as I hadn’t changed the lighting I realised I didn’t need to do that!
Learning the camera stuff was hard, things they don’t tell you, like if you have a 50mm and a lower shutter speed than the focal length, say a 1/40 it’ll be harder to get a sharp image no matter how steady your hand. Photography is a long, hard learning game! But it’s so rewarding as, artistically, I’ve never felt more satisfied; you know when you feel you are progressing – I don’t care how long something has taken me to learn, once I have got it its invaluable and I have it in mind from here on in.
You made the break to go freelance, was that a decision you’d primarily made with design work in mind or with your photography head on?
I still do both, it wasn’t a move to go solely as a graphic designer – I knew I had design on my side and I could always fall back on, if somebody had £400 of design work that was needed I knew I could do that in my sleep. Fortunately, my design work was mostly based in branding, which relates to pretty much every single company on the planet – so rather than be an illustrator, who will be hired to do posters and adverts now and again, my portfolio was more corporate/commercial. I understand how text, fonts, colours and logos had to work together through a multitude of uses, so I’m was confident that I knew enough to have the design work supporting the photography when it was needed.
It was really a double-venture with the design and photography and it’s still swaying – one month I will have more of one that the other, but more often than not they go hand-in-hand.
Having met a few members of your family at your recent exhibition opening, it is obvious how close you all are – that’s got to be a massive help to you in your work; and your partner also being a creative must be a source of great understanding?
They haven’t really had much choice really! I’ve never been the sort of person to come home, sit down and watch the TV, so whenever they see me I’d always be doing something creative and because of that they all understand how hard I have worked to get things done. For me, I have always been conscious that you need to surround yourself with positive and creative people – surround yourself with like minded people and your life will be enriched, it’s all soul food basically, which I’m a big fan of. Anyone that’s a friend of mine is a friend for one of a the following reasons; they are positive, supportive, creative or generally a really great person to have in your life.
“I’ve always been conscious that you need to
surround yourself with positive and creative people.”
Are you creatively satisfied?
Now - yes. First time in a very long time. I thought I was creatively satisfied when I was designing and getting paid a lot of money, but with that larger wage I found I was spending more money too. Then I was moaning about the time I didn’t have to do the things I wanted to do, if anything freelance for me means I am getting paid a little less but I have more time to do those things I wanted to do. It’s the freedom I feel I have now which I didn’t have before and I think that’s given me more creative satisfaction.
Where do you think your future lies – for example in the next few years?
I think I’d love to keep the photography going; I can’t really imagine a future where I’m not taking pictures, I would like to do another exhibition – whether it be personal or commercial work. Having a portfolio that is a little more concentrated on what I want to do – at the moment I feel that my work still shows a little bit of a mishmash of jobs I am capable of. For instance, I don’t shoot gigs anymore – I don’t actively seek out work within the music industry either. More work with portraiture and lifestyle photography is something I’d like to do too.
What advice would you have for someone starting out? When we first met a couple of years ago you told me I needed to have my camera with me all the time – is this still true?
That is exactly the first thing that was going to come out of my mouth when you asked that question – I feel that I can only give advice on things that I have been through. So, for me one of the things I realised when I was working full time and moaning that I didn’t have enough time was that it was directly related to the fact my camera was at home, or when I had it with me, it remained in my bag. For me, I found that I was never going to have good images if I was sat at home in front of a computer with the camera on my desk.
You won’t know it all from day one, the fastest way you learn is through trial and error – both of these things mean that the only way you can overcome these obstacles is by picking up and using your camera. They say the first 10,000 are the worst you’ll ever take, but also the most important too. You take a photo of someone on the street with a slow shutter-speed, then when you get home you realise your images are all blurry – you know from that point that you won’t do that again. People are scared, this fear is a bad thing. Everyone is hell-bent on posting their best work online, and if it doesn’t get the appreciation or enough ‘likes’ they take it down or begin to feel ashamed by it. When I first picked up my camera the images I was producing were pure shit – that’s just the way it was!
So, always have the camera with you – I read somewhere that the KEY to life was Keep Educating Yourself, so I like to have that in mind as I go.
Tied into this question – if you could go back in time and talk to your younger-self, what advice would you give?
Confidence – I’d tell myself to be more confident. I have found that I have created a lot of problems in my head that weren’t actually there at all. Have confidence in yourself and your work, if someone contacts you to work for them, they’ve seen your stuff and they already believe in you. Then all you have to do is carry on doing what you do. You will be tempted to put more pressure on yourself to make the shoot the best you’ve ever done or make sure that this next job is better than the last.
I think that is because you care so much, the fact you care about your work and producing for others – creatives have this up-and-down relationship with confidence and with faith in their work, but every situation when I have had to give myself a pep-talk to ensure that I believe in myself, has seen the job work out well and has never been anything to worry about.
Risk-taking, aside from your leap to freelance have you taken other risks that either has or hadn’t worked out?
There’s been a few things in my creative process where I’ve either tried something and it’s either been the wrong time or just hasn’t worked out, and every time that has happened it’s given a confidence knock, which it would do for anybody. The biggest thing that came to mind was early on with my studio portraiture, when it was supposed to be fun and enjoyable, and I managed to turn it into more of a military regime where I was thinking I needed to be doing this and the time is up for this part, I need to get the next set done. The people involved might not have felt this, but personally, deep down, I knew I’d fucked it up.
That’s when I took a break for a while, I realised my approach was wrong and the product of it wasn’t even ending up being something I wanted to produce – plus I wasn’t even getting paid, so why was I putting so much pressure on myself?!
Do you feel a kind of responsibility to do something bigger?
Doing the work for Birmingham Children’s Hospital was a real eye-opener for me, but it also made me feel so good that I could use my creativity to, not only take on the job and complete the project for the hospital, but actually take it on to another level that they never thought was possible. I almost feel like that one of the reasons why I’m so interested in photography is because there’s an opportunity to create something that will out-live me, and almost create something that might become a tiny, tiny bit of a legacy and I am being given the opportunity to do that. So, for example, let’s say that in my lifetime I get the chance to publish a book; that book will out-live me.
The beginning of my street photography work was a by-product of me not being happy, so I was going out and doing something that I wanted to – but after a short while I realised that I wasn’t just taking shots of people in the streets, I was taking a snap shot of Birmingham. Already through some of my shots I have seen buildings disappear – much like when I have taken images of my Dad and Granddad, you don’t realise the importance of a photograph until it’s all you have got left. Something has gone but you’ve kept it - the camera is the only tool that will truly stop time.
One of the things that stuck with me from the project with the kids in the Children’s Hospital was that not many of those children with these rare diseases will live to see their fifth birthday. I’m 30 now and to get the opportunity to spend a day photographing these amazing people was one I just couldn’t miss out on.
"you don’t realise the importance of a
photograph until it’s all you have left."
How important is it for you to be part of a creative community?
I’m starting to realise that its massively important, on a personal level not only will it lead to more opportunities, but meeting new people and doing new things with others; I’ve never seen anything great come from people who are totally insular. You can be the smartest person or the best at it, but more often than not it’s about who you know, not always about what you know. It tells me that relationships with people is not only good for the soul, but it will help you become a better person too.
A typical question, but one that I think is interesting – what’s a typical day for you?
When I went freelance I thought if I am gonna have any chance at being successful then I need to do one step more than I was when I was working full-time. Straight away the commute was removed from the schedule, so, I try and get up at 6.30am which means I am drinking coffee and eating breakfast by 6.45 and by 7.15 I have already looked though my emails, responded and I’m ready for the day – that’s about an hour and a half before most people will start their working day. I am trying to be on the front foot – I try not to spend a full day in front of a computer as it is one of my pet hates. I try and break the day up in terms of marketing – whether it’s some light social media or other stuff, then editing and other work; walking the dog with Laura – which gives me a 30-45 minute break. But I feel like no day is ever the same, if I was to write down today’s schedule then it would be totally different to tomorrow. Today, I went to the gallery where I have work on display, to meet someone coming from Kidderminster – whilst the exhibition has been on I have tried to be there whenever I can, especially when someone is travelling a long way or would be good to meet; I actually ended up talking to this guy for over two and a half hours! So, that wasn’t in my schedule, but I love the way that freelance allows this flexibility.
Do you do much video work, and would you like to do more of it?
I’ve enjoyed doing video work in the past, I have almost had the ‘sit down and think’ questioning whether it is a natural progression from where I am now. But I think the amount of work that is involved in creating a good motion picture outweighs the return on investment for me. Some of the videographers I know are amazing, they will put in the time, effort and spend the money, sometimes £1,000 on a shoot to get that one bit of creative that they enjoy, or a great 3 minute music video. For me, I don’t get the same buzz from a video that I get from that single image that I’m really proud of. I think another part of it for me is that the video will never be a physical thing, it’s always on a device being played, whereas when you see your work printed, that’s something special.
It’s like those coffee table books, the books I saw as a kid, and eventually had the money to buy, I love the final product – it’s sometimes why I add grain to images to give it that textured/printed feel, and there’s this physical connection to the work. Don’t get me wrong, some people are incredible at making video work, it’s just right now I don’t see myself moving from being a photographer. If everyone moved into video, who would take the photographs?
Photography goals – are there any people/places you’d welcome the opportunity to shoot?
I think that places is something that is going to come with time, because I will always take a camera wherever I go. People, now that’s a really interesting one, because I always thought I’d love to take photographs of celebrities, but from my time working at Free Radio I know they are just normal people. Also, you are rarely given the time or opportunity to form a bond to create those great images.
I was given a Platon book recently and I have really enjoyed going though it and going though his sessions with celebrities, but for me I am more interested in capturing characters than ‘names’ if I see someone really interesting out in the street I’d much rather photograph them than some celebrity.
Goals, well the exhibition was a goal, it was based on something that was totally mine, I wasn’t paid to create these shots or asked to feature Birmingham life for a slot in a gallery; they were my images and work that I loved creating. I would really love to produce a book; a fully published book, that would be the thing – on what, I don’t quite know?!
You are, naturally, a positive person. Do you ever get frustrated or jealous by people around you; that they are doing work you would like to do?
I think it is in everyone to be jealous, and to look on the negative side of that. If there is someone that I know who has done something amazing, there’d have been a time where I would have been very envious, wondering why I didn’t do that. But I don’t think anyone really gets anywhere from feeling this way, I try and turn it round and say to myself ‘well, if he or she can be doing that then I just have to work harder to get to that level’. I try to be more inspired than disheartened.
There’s some people I know, and I can tell by talking to them, that they don’t have that mindset; they’ll be great at something but they will be jealous about what someone else is doing, and there’s only so many times you can tell them to focus on what they are good at. I do think people need to realise their strengths and push on with that. There’s too many people trying to be something they are not – everyone is good at something; it’s whether they want to be really good at what they can do, or not. The world of social media is hard too; years ago you’d have no idea what the person two towns away would be doing, whereas now, you know what almost anyone is doing! I think it can quickly become a burden on a creative, so it’s about having the mental strength to try and focus on what you can and want to do.
Say, for example, street photography. You get on a bus in the morning; if you are feeling that it’s a going to be a good day then there are possibilities everywhere, everyone on that bus inspires you. But if you are having a bad day, you might not even get the camera out of your bag – so it all starts in the mind.
Do you find Birmingham an inspiring place to photograph?
I never used to, the thing about it was because I saw it every day I almost became blind to it. I was always either going to a place to get coffee, lunch or going to work. Everyone around me was doing the same. Nobody stops and looks around, every day I would see the same things and pretty much, doing the same route every journey would be the same; the only things making that day different were the people. The offices rarely change appearance, if you take the people out of the city the you have empty buildings and no life. It was for this reason people became the focus of my photography; if you look through almost all of my work you will see people in the shots, even if it’s only one person in a window.
Birmingham is more of a challenge, if you go to London I think it’s almost easier to get good street photography as there is always so much going on, Birmingham is different. It challenges me more, it’s less crowded and so makes you work a bit more.
A massive thank you to Kris for the time on this interview and his honestly with the answers - make sure you check out Kris on his site, krisaskey.com.