Photo OP -What inspires me to do this day in day out is pure Passion! – Kevin Michael Feature by Sakuni Kalyanaratne
This week’s photo-op focuses on the latest addition to our very own fam bam of Chokolaate photographers, Kevin Michael. I met Kevin during our recent get together to celebrate the new office opening of Chokolaate magazine and we managed to have a little chit chat about his life, photography and his dreams. An Old Peterite and a former accountant who loved photography too much to be dealing with a boring numbers job and a father of a new born baby boy, here is what Kevin had to say.
Q: What sort of photography do you specialize in?
Kevin: I specialize in dramatic portraits. I am very interested in shadows so this genre is kind of a personal feel for me. And yes I do cover events, sports and to relax, I shoot landscapes and wildlife.
Q: How did you get into Photography?
Kevin: I knew about photography because my father was an amateur photographer. So from childhood I was a little bit familiar with it. But it was not until in my mid 20s when I bought my first DSLR, a Nikon D3200, I got really interested and started to get involved.
Q: Did you go to a school to study photography? How long have you been a photographer?
Kevin: Not really, though I did a Certificate course at the Photographic Society of Sri Lanka which was a basic course. I have been shooting for nearly 4-5 years and doing full time for the past 7-8 months.
Q: How would you describe your style?
Kevin: I would like to put forward my style as emotional. I try to convey emotion through my images. Either it is a Portrait, Wildlife image or Landscape I try to show something which would connect the subject and the viewer. This is where the dramatic lighting comes to play, as I believe the contrast between light and shadows conveys a message.
Q: Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photography, and career path?
Kevin: Mostly it was western photographers in YouTube who were my inspiration, especially Jason Lanier, because he too quit his well-paying job to run behind his photography passion. Also Irene Rundyk, Jessica Kobeissi, Thomas Heaton all inspired me through their amazing work .Looking at their work and their testimonies I knew that through hard work and dedication I can follow my passion successfully. My career path was shaped by one of the good mentors I was lucky to have in Mr. Panduka De Silva, who was the teacher at PSSL and he refined my skills and nudged me in the right direction in photography. I would also like to mention Francisco Hernandez. This guy is amazing and his tutorials literally taught me my style.
Q: What does photography mean to you? What inspires you?
Kevin: Photography is a form of expression to me. I can make someone see what I want them to see through my photography. It is one of the most important things in my life. This might seem a bit odd but a little bit of restriction or limitation inspires me, because what is the point of having the best equipment in the world and shooting the best model in the best location? But if there are limitations then your brain has to work around the problem and solve it. This makes me prepared and sharpens my skill set.
Q: Exactly what it is you want to say with your photographs, and how do you actually get your photographs to do that?
Kevin: It depends because I can say different things through even a single image. I want the viewer to see something different than the usual well light flat faces they get to see on their phones and stuff. By controlling the lighting I convey my message to the viewer. I light the parts which I want the viewer to see and put the rest in shadows to show mood.
Q: In your opinion, what makes the good picture stand out from the average?
Kevin: The main thing is lighting. That is the most important part of making a good picture and the rest is a combination of good posing, camera angle, addition or subtraction of the surrounding location and a good set of editing skills.
Read more in issue 49 of Chokolaate Magazine, In stores now!