A Talk with Brett King
INTERVIEW BY KRISTEN LEER
August 26, 2015
August 26, 2015
“My name is Brett King, I am 20 years old.
I am a professional photographer and videographer that specializes in fashion and landscape.
I am currently based in Portland, Oregon where I have been for 2 years.
I was born and raised in the most beautiful and majestic state of Oregon.”
To be able to comprehend how one is to live, to work, and what to do is a struggle that begins during the brink of high school. Teachers, parents and even strangers ask the question constantly, “What do you want to do with your life?” Bring upon a common tabla rasa in the mind. Some are able to find their niche at an early age and some find it in their thirties or forties. What gets these individuals to find it is that motivation or push.
“It's a long story,” King said. “I have always loved cameras. I can remember back when I was 10 years old making "magic" movies by stopping and resuming recordings to give the illusion of me teleporting, I used this technique for multiple short films I did with my friends; I thought I was a camera genius. Although I have always had and used a camera, I never pictured it as a profession - I didn't even know anything outside of auto mode until I was 17.
“My real passion growing up was writing, so when I was 16 I applied for a journalism internship at the local newspaper. After about 6 months of internship, the head sports writer quit. I decided to apply for the position that he abandon, but being a 16/17 year old, I never thought I would actually get it. Fortunately to my surprise, they hired me as lead sports writer. For my first day on the job the editor hands me a Canon Rebel and tells me to snap some photos while I am at the volleyball tournament throughout the weekend.
“‘This wasn't in the job description,’ I thought to myself. I went to the tournament, during multiple games inside the gym. I tried snapping photos and as all photographers know, gym lighting is some of the hardest light to photograph in. All my photos were either blurry, too bright, too dark, or something was wrong... After the 1st day I noticed none of my photos were usable - I was scared to hear what my editor would have to say. But lucky me, I had day #2 to attempt this photo thing again.
“The night before day 2, I stayed up all night researching how to operate a camera in gym light. The next day I managed to snap some clear images, granted, they were terribly composed, but they were clear with no blur: that is all I wanted. After that, I just kept wanting to improve my skills as a photographer and went on to a bigger newspaper as a part time photographer. I saved up, bought myself a professional camera and lens, and somehow ended up where I am now.”
King’s Photography Now
“Most of my recent personal work is taken when friends and I are camping, exploring, or hiking”, said King. “With the vast landscapes we have in the northwest there is always something new, exciting and fun to photograph. So, the only thought we put into it is drive into the forest and we will see what happens. During Fall and Spring season, my friends and I practically live outside - we, and most PNW photographers, love chasing fog.”
Looking at King’s work, natural settings aren’t his only specialty. Focusing a lot of his photography on humans he was able to step his foot into the fashion industry. “I am friends with almost all the models I work with”, said King. “I work with new talent all the time, but we always end up getting along. Before a fashion shoot, I always check with the models agency and discuss what they are looking for in the models portfolio. From there I incorporate that with my own style. I always (or try to always) put together an inspiration board from images found on Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, etc. This gives us a guideline. But I never stick to those specific guidelines or rules, I always let art take over.”
Hobby or Career?
“Right now photography is both a career and a hobby”, King explains. “I feel very honored to get paid for what I love to do. The only downside to being an independent artist is that income isn't secure; some months I get a ton of job offers, while other months none. I feel like all young professional artist go through this. Although, I know I will only move up in my career.”
“People”, King said. “All humans are unique. It still amazes me how many faces a single person can make.
“Nature. Being outdoors is so refreshing. It gifts me with a clear mind, which allows me to solely focus on art and myself. Nature is so complex- there's millions of acres of trees, but no two trees are alike. There is always something new to photograph.
“Music. Almost all my film work and ideas originated from a song I heard while driving.”
“Comparison”, King said. “Sometimes I find myself comparing my work to others and their successes, often these are people I look up to. Comparing your work to anyone will kill your creativity. To overcome this, think to yourself, these artists are doing something right - their work is great, they are established, so what can I do to become even better? Imitate and improve! Don't try and be like your idols - be better, put your own flare to it, make it yours.”
Photos all by Brett King