In February we had the pleasure of interviewing Melbourne based street photographer Kimboid. Kimboid's work is unique and unlike most street photography you see - as you scroll through the thousands of photos each day on social media. As soon as you see a Kimboid image you know who the photographer is! She's just a little bit obsessed with taking photos of train windows and doors and you can read all about why below. Enjoy!
Please tell us a little about yourself - where do you currently live and what is your background in photography?
I started learning photography when I was a teenager when my father showed me all the wonders of working in a darkroom. He showed me how to process film, print my own images and gave me an understanding of how to use a 35mm camera. I found it completely fascinating and was hooked straight away. As soon as I left school I went and studied a Diploma of Photography at the Southern Queensland Institute of Tafe under Doug Spowart. About a year after finishing, I moved to Melbourne and worked with a few photographers, learning more of the business side of things. It was at that time, that I really learnt the reality of what it takes to be a self-employed photographer. For me, it wasn’t the right path and I found my creativity and passion was vanishing before my eyes.
I don’t think the loss of my love of photography was caused by the reality of that work, but it did have a significant impact. I think it highlighted the amount of growing up that I needed to do and the importance of life experience, of which I had very little. I knew that the images I was creating had little maturity, and although there are still some that I am very proud of, I find they are missing depth as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say.
Skip forward a lifetime, and a number of years ago I started picking up my camera again, and began to work on creating images once more. I started thinking about why I loved photography as an art medium. I really surmise my work as “The Beauty of the Inconsequential” It nicely captures the drive I have for the simple, the mundane, the everyday and then presenting those images to the viewer to evoke an emotional or intellectual response. People see these things everyday but miss most of it.
Although I am yet to have art as my income stream, in the last couple of years I have had my work displayed at the Scope Miami festival, and in the Paris Louvre as part of the See.Me Exposure Awards and published in a number of photography books.
How did you get involved in street photography and what draws you to it?
To be honest I started due to time factors. Not a very glamorous answer I know, but between a full-time job, and my personal life it was very difficult to find time to just go and create. So I challenged myself to start taking images during my commute. It started as a temporary fix to a problem but I suddenly found this whole new space full of possibilities.
I find it amazing that every day thousands of people commute on trains to and from their workplaces, they bustle onto metal tubes, rushing to get a seat but then once they get onboard there is this strange phenomenon that happens. Silence. Pure silence. People revert into themselves, there is little noise or talking, individuals sit on their phone, they place headphones on, and we seem to be incapable of being bored, and crave that constant feeling of technology in our hands.
This world gave (and continues to give) me the opportunity to explore a space where the most mundane moments of our day take place. But yet, when you step back you notice that this time of the day expresses what we have become and created as a community.
For me, that is the power of Street Photography, it is the gift, and the chase of capturing that social commentary.
What do you think are the most challenging aspects of street photography?
I think the hardest part is finding that inner balance of respect. Respect for your subjects, and how you capture and present them to the world. As a street photographer you capture the general public, and although you may not be doing anything illegal, you have to make a choice as to which images are appropriate to publish. In my case, I don’t get to meet my subjects, so I have had to implement some rules which satisfies my ethics but allows me freedom to create imagery.
The other challenge is how to be naturally unobtrusive, I think you get better as time goes on, but every situation is different so you need to be flexible.
Do you think it is an advantage or disadvantage to be a woman or non-binary street photographer?
In many ways I think it is an advantage, people tend not to look at a woman with a camera as anything but a tourist. I think it allows more people to go about their business because I find women are fantastic at “not really being there”. For generations women have needed to be present but quiet in many situations, and all that training from the Patriarchy has paid off!
The disadvantages though I think are more aligned with the same challenges that any person that doesn’t identify as male has. This all to do with the internal battle we have daily around whether we are good enough, the self doubt and criticism. I am not saying males don’t suffer from these issues, not at all! But I do find women more broadly need to really give themselves a break more.
Do you think it’s an advantage or disadvantage to be an Australian Street Photographer?
Street photography is one of those things where it always feels like it is an “emerging” art. If you take portraits or wedding photography images for example, simply because they are more established, and have strong industries behind them, it seems to be easier to sell them as art. To find a market in street photography, you need to work harder to mould perceptions.
What’s your favourite place to shoot and why do you like that particular place? (if you have one)
How could I answer this any other way? Trains. Haha
Trains and commutes can be very peaceful places to be in. It is a chance to think about just you, without a million other people vying for your attention.
Who are your favourite street photographers and tell us a little about why you like them?
Ok, so I live in an Instagram world so I am going to quote handles here.
I really love and adore @knoxbertie their work is dark, moody, subtle and can absolutely nail a scene.
@glenndavey captures such fantastic expressions and always has beautiful angles in his images.
@janezhangphotography Her work is absolutely divine. They are simple, and her work with colour just drips off the page
@babicrotti just beauty in her capturing of history. You can watch a story from the other side of the world on her Instagram account. Wonderful!
Is there a particular photographer who has influenced your work?
I think every photographers work influences my own. I don’t think we can really help that. We absorb everything we possibly can.
Are you working on a particular project?
Mirror, Mirror which is the project I currently class all my train projects in will never stop. I just can’t imagine not taking them.
This year however I will be exploring a different style and area of street photography, so that should be equally exciting and terrifying!