Feb 23, 2016

Behind The Lens: Elliot Kennedy

British photographer Elliot Kennedy’s passion lies in capturing people, their stories and unknown subcultures. After graduating from university, he developed his craft through assistant work and now boasts an impressive portrait portfolio featuring Flying Lotus, MF Doom and Josh Homme that is still expanding. Read our interview with Elliot below and follow our Instagram account (@veryrarestudio) where he will be taking over to post a selection of his best work.

Hi Elliot, where did you grow up?
Jersey (Channel Islands).

elliot kennedy behind the lens

Where did your passion for photography start?
I started drawing and painting from a young age which then developed into exploring other media such as sculpture and photography. I found myself interested in the process of creating, so I guess my passion for photography came from the process of shooting and then seeing it come to light in the darkroom (excuse the pun).

If you could describe your photography in just one word, which word would you choose and why?
Honest.

elliot kennedy behind the lens

At what moment in your life did you start taking photography more seriously?
After my photography degree in Manchester I began assisting a photographer that taught me my foundations. I learnt a lot from him and when he moved to the states I thought it was time to make the move to London. I assisted a variety of photographers and with each of them I learnt something new, whether it was a new lighting technique or just how to act with a client. Throughout the whole time I was shooting my own stuff and always looking for work with new publications etc.

What does a day in your life nowadays look like?
When I am not shooting I spend most of the time at my studio doing admin, editing, emailing, the usual. I am currently in the process of working on my professional portfolio which has been refreshing to go through.

I try to avoid looking at the work of other photographers because I find you lose sight of what you are doing.

elliot kennedy behind the lens

What do you think of the Instagram generation that’s going on right now?
I’m relatively new to instagram as I put off getting an iPhone for years to try to avoid relying on it, which inevitably I did once I got one. I’m into the Instagram generation. It is a completely different way of showcasing your work and it opens up so many different avenues with the audience that see it. It’s a great platform to showcase your work and to network.

How well do you get along with other photographers? Do you have any favourites?
I have a lot of photographer mates. It feels good to be surrounded by them however I try to avoid looking at the work of other photographers because I find you lose sight of what you are doing and what you are about. Don’t get me wrong, I do reference what people are doing at the minute but I think it is important to try and not look at what other photographers are doing as hard as it may be.
I would say at the moment Richard Avedon and Chris Killip are a regular point of reference for me.

elliot kennedy behind the lens

You mainly shoot portraits. What is it that you like so much about shooting people?
I would say I am just drawn to people. I am intrigued by their story, where they have been, what they have done and what they have seen.

Do you have a favourite portrait?
Josh Homme was a real pleasure to shoot, I was sceptical about how that shoot would pan out as he was running late to the shoot and I was informed that he was feeling a little worse for wear. But after a playful sparring session he warmed to us and later got us on guest list to the gig he was playing that evening at Rough Trade.

elliot kennedy behind the lens

I am just drawn to people. I am intrigued by their story, where they have been, what they have done and what they have seen.

elliot kennedy behind the lens

Are there any other subjects you love to capture?
I love to photograph British subcultures or any form of subculture to be honest. I am interested in capturing a part of a culture which may have been overlooked and not really given a platform for people outside of that group to see.

Do you have any creative rituals?
Bit of a silly one but the only ritual I would say I had was getting my hair cut monthly, I got it in my head that by doing this at the beginning each month or before a certain job it resets you creatively. Not sure where I pulled that one from ha!

elliot kennedy behind the lens

What is the number one habit that helps you to be productive?
I write in my diary. Being freelance can be hard to find a routine but I find writing in my diary helps keep me on track.

What would be the number one tip you would give starting photographers?
Shoot often and be persistent! There is a lot of strong competition out there but I honestly believe that if you keep your integrity and you are persistent with it then you will get to where you want to be. I have a long way to go and have a lot of things I want to do but I keep this at the back of my mind always.

elliot kennedy behind the lens

I honestly believe that if you keep your integrity and you are persistent with it then you will get to where you want to be.

elliot kennedy behind the lens

What do you love most about your job?
It’s got to be meeting the people I photograph. My job gives me the opportunity to gain access and capture a part of something I would not usually have access to.

Is there anyone who inspired you to create what you’re creating right now?
That’s a tough one to answer. For me inspiration comes in many different forms and from a variety of people. I take inspiration from photographers, painters, illustrators, and the people within my surroundings. I feel that if I take a little piece of something from here and there it helps to shape and sculpt the work I am producing.

Written by: Fares Masharawi, Amie Galbraith.

To see more of Elliot’s work visit his website elliot-kennedy.com and follow our Instagram account below to see his takeover.

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