The aesthetic, familiarity and unpredictability of film photography
Kirstin Kerr is 22 years old; a photographer and a creative she lives and studies in Glasgow. She is currently in her final year as a Visual Communications student at The Glasgow School of Art and specializes in photography. Kerr keeps her friends close and her Canon ae-1closer.
Her strong aesthetic comes from an obsession with documentation and the surprising results of using film photography. There is a low-key but exciting buzz around her work.
She has collaborated with fellow Scottish designer Isolated Heroes and with tattooed next-big-thing-model, Jack Royle. Kerr hopes to get even more involved with the creative activities that she admires so much in her home city of Glasgow.
When did your interest in photography start?
I guess that obsession has been around for a while. I remember when I was really young, trying to steal my parents point and shoot camera to take photos of the sky. When I was 13 I asked my parents if I could take a black and white photography class and fell in love with the dim red light and foreign smells of the darkroom. As soon as I first saw one of my images slowly appear on a previously white sheet I realised nothing could stop me wanting to do this forever.
Why did you choose to study at The Glasgow School of Art?
The school has such a good reputation and I have always loved the work presented at the degree shows. I chose the Visual Communication (now Communication Design) course, as it’s well tailored to the areas of art and design that I’m interested in. It’s a general course that focuses on photography, illustration and graphic design for the first two years. This really appealed to me as I think it’s hard to know what form your work is going to take when you go into higher education so young. The final two years you narrow your choices and begin to specialise. I took Graphic Design for a year before recently settling on the Photography department.
You shot a lookbook for Isolated Heroes. It has a very distinguishable style. Where did your inspiration come from?
I had been following Isolated Heroes for a while, it was clear that Samantha McEwen had this amazing drive. She is always pushing her work and vision. I really admire that.
We had been talking about doing a shoot for months, but I was living in Toronto and Samantha’s schedule is always hectic. We e-mailed back and forth for months. The only date we could both do was the day after I flew back from a trip abroad. There were a lot of frantic messages back and forth as we tried to put a team together!
I love that Isolated Heroes is unisex and I really wanted to play on that idea. We both had this vision of a really androgynous boy and girl. We were pretty excited to find our models, Stevie and Ruta. The only outside input we used was for hair and make-up. I knew of a girl running a new nail business, DIY Nails, and had recently met Lou Clavé of Hair for Heroes. Samantha had also managed to pull in some of her friends to do henna on the models.
I think that the inspiration really came from all the creative people involved and working together. It was such a strong team with hours of prep … I remember being so nervous about letting everyone down!
Why do you shoot on film?
For its aesthetic, its familiarity and its unpredictability, which you do not always have digitally.
When you shoot, do try and plan the end result or do you like to work in a spontaneous manner?
I like to try and be organized, but I don’t think I ever end up working that way.
How did you get to work with Jack Royle?
Last summer I was visiting some friends in London, and Jack happened to be staying with them at the time. We all sat one night talking nonsense. Jack and I were keen to do something together. The next day we just took a walk around the neighbourhood with my camera. He was telling me stories and pointing out buildings he would love to live in one minute, then running off to climb things the next. He’s a fun and energetic person. I can’t imagine anything being able to grasp his attention for any length of time. He’s always chasing after something.
What projects do you have planned for the future?
Lots of collaborations! There are so many talented people here and the music/clubbing culture is such an integral part of the city. I’ve always worked a bit around the music scene, from taking photographs in clubs to doing press shots. I’m really keen to carry that on and possibly develop it further.
Kirstin Kerr was interviewed by Fiona Jones during the first half of 2013 for a project between Heriot Watt University and Modeconnect