KALEY KOCINSKI - 14 QUESTIONS
Here we have our second installment of 14 questions with an incredible talent out of the midwest. Kaley from Kansas was kind enough to take some time to share some of her gorgeous work and insights. Enjoy.
Ah, so much right now! I have been traveling a lot more, my husband and I just celebrated one year of marriage and soon enough, we will be looking for our first home. Other than that, I've just been working on establishing a healthy balance between us both working from home, finding time to actually date each other and keeping our faith and friends close.
Who were you before you picked up a camera? How’d that moment change the course of your life?
I was a shy pre-teen who would use disposable cameras to freeze memories. I've always loved photographing people...at least in some capacity. I used to use my families point and shoot but what I remember most is using disposables to remember friends and bottle up those memories because I moved around the city a bit as a kid. I knew I would most likely never see these people again and wanted to hold onto those memories. In college, I photographed a ton on film but mostly the environment, still life's - it was a fine art degree so that was expected. I photographed a friend's wedding my senior year and I fell in love with people again but this time, I wanted to document moments for others, not just for myself. That changed everything.
What motivates you?
Jesus, my husband, any human that steps in front of my camera. Happiness motivates me--drive, passion, making art. Making honest photographs. My client inviting me into their every day, their biggest day(s) and allowing me to create from that - to give them just a tiny bit of their life back in an image to cherish and re-live whenever they need or want. How wouldn't that motivate you? I get to hand over memories in the most honest, documentary, original way that I know how.
You document a lot of weddings and and some editorial, do you prefer one over the other? Does the creative freedom of editorial feel more inspiring than working with the constraints of what a wedding day is, or does the challenge that a wedding places on a photographer motivate you?
I don't prefer one over the other but editorial work for me is so freeing, experimental and typically has no pressure or expectations. I always come out of it refreshed and inspired. I do a lot of collaborating when I shoot editorial so it's a chance to experiment with other vendors, models and friends. It's like an explosion of creativity - I love it. Weddings are a chance to not only give my client what they expect/want but I always always always give myself time to create for me, to experiment even if for only 10 minutes. It's typically during couple portraits. I try to approach every wedding day with an open mind and fresh eyes.
How do you see your life today as opposed to what you envisioned for yourself as a kid?
As a kid, I wanted to be all kinds of things but I distinctly remember playing teacher and house (of course). I would make actual class lists with names and I always had binders covered in inspiration all through school. Also, in the summertime, I would be playing in the pool with my Grandpa and would give us fake names. Ha! Not sure what my fascination was but they are so special and something you'll have forever. When I was in middle school and high school, I started thinking of the future a lot and needed to remind myself to slow down and live in the moment. There's no need for that added pressure when you're already dealing with being a teenager. Fast forward to now and I could've never expected to be this happy and to have found such a rewarding career. I could see the worry on my parents' faces when I said I wanted to go to college for art but now they realize that I am living my dream and you can actually make a living this way. They are so supportive! Thankful.
Who/What is inspiring you right now?
In short, using depth in new ways and just a fresh perspective. Other elements: entanglement, a neutral palette, shells, delicacy. As far as people/artists, I have a few who are inspiring me currently.
My husband, always - @benkocinski
Patricia Gutiérrez Monllor - @maggieontherocks
Nirav Patel - @niravphotography
Lisa Dengler - @lisadengler
Nicole Mason - @neekmason
Where do you call home? Does your location play a role in your creativity?
Kansas City, Missouri. I find certain inspiration here...the open skies, grassy fields, the openness but truly, I am inspired by vast landscapes, the desert, sand dunes, mountains, water. Not having mountains or the ocean near me is a bummer but that's one reason I love to travel as much as I do. All of that said, I always try and look for something different here in my city. I've used all kinds of weird areas/locations and my couples luckily don't think I'm crazy and trust me completely. The surprise factor is so fun for me - showing them what I actually see compared to what they see in that moment.
Anyone you’ve crossed paths with that made a major impact on you as a photographer?
Ann (Yan) Palmer - for completely blowing my mind with family photography. She was a huge inspiration when I was breaking into that market. I've spent a little time with her personally and she's just a beautiful soul, she's infectious and honest and brilliant.
You and Melanie - for leading your own path, never replicating anyone, showing off gritty grainy images and showing me a new take on weddings--For killing the game at black and white. For not caring and always doing you.
Katch Silva - for sharing her knowledge so effortlessly and whole-heartedly. I've learned a lot from her. She also always has the BEST attitude.
The Parsons, Jer & Ash - they are long time friends. They hosted a workshop way back in the day set in Colorado called, "Don't Give Up" and it was life-changing. I can't say enough about them. They are in my city and I'm so thankful. Just two of the greatest humans. Also, Ash is writing her first book, look out world!
Is it important to you to be a part of a creative community or are you more of a lone wolf?
I think it's crucial to be a part of your community in some capacity. I think because I've had so much success when it comes to collaborating and working with other vendors. However, every collaboration that I say yes to is something that I've dreamt up or helped out with immensely. I never take on work that I don't see my heart in or that I can't give my all to. When it comes to most of my ideas, locations, editing, etc I am a perfectionist and would rather do that solo.
What drives you to keep pushing forward?
Serving people, travel, making a family, goals, growing in my field, finding more and more of myself.
What is one of the biggest challenges you face?
Never stopping. Not knowing when to disconnect. I'm working on it!
Are you happy with your work?
Yes, I am. It's incredible watching yourself transform and having photos and experiences to prove it and learn from. I really love being able to shoot all kinds of different work and it's always evolving.
There's really no plan B besides adding in the Mother card. I can't wait for that adventure.
Hopefully creating my own workshop here in the city, starting to teach at various workshops and just becoming more and more fulfilled as a photographer, an artist, a human, a wife, all of it.