A B O U T
Let's face it; 'About' pages are the worst. I don't want to write one, and you don't really want to read all about my favourite colour (it's blue) or what I like to do in my spare time (nap).
So instead, I asked a friend to 'interview' me about my photography. I don't know whether this will be any better, but here goes...
What's your name?
You know my name.
Are you going to be like this the entire time?
Sorry. It's Elizabeth, but I usually get Liz. Unless I'm in trouble, and then it's Elizabeth.
Are you often in trouble?
The company name is weird. What does it mean?
Kairos is an ancient Greek word and it means the right or opportune moment. Or maybe 'the appointed time' would be a better definition? It relates to that idea of capturing something timeless, something you can go back to again and again, even as time moves on and things change.
Are you being sarcastic?
Okay. I was worried it might be a bit pretentious, but I like it and feels right. Also, it's really hard to come up with a name that hasn't already been used!
Okay, so how did you get into photography?
My Dad is a keen amateur photographer, so I grew up around cameras and started using them early. But I got really serious about it when I was doing my A-Levels. We had a dark room at school (well, more of a dark cupboard really; we weren't posh) but I started developing my own film in that smelly little cupboard and was hooked immediately. I used my Dad's old Rolleiflex SL 35 E with black and white film. Learning photography with a manual film camera means that you have to get it right first time. You have to know the basics of exposure, aperture and shutter speed or you'll just end up wasting roll after roll of film. You can't look back at the picture you've just taken to check if you're getting it right. You just have to plow on and wait until you can develop it.
What type of pictures did you enjoy taking?
Anything but people back then! I did mostly landscapes and architectural photography so people weren't on my radar. I was all about making 'art' so you can imagine how insufferably pretentious I was. But in truth, I just didn't really have the skills or confidence to take good pictures of people.
How is taking pictures of people different?
Taking great pictures of people is mostly about the person in front of the camera, not the one behind it; you're making something meaningful for them, not for yourself. So fancy gear and technical expertise will only get you so far. To begin with, people often have hang-ups about having their picture taken and will tense up as soon as they see a camera. So you have to be able to put people at their ease quickly. A shoot should never be an unnecessary source of stress, so it's essential to make sure you're communicating effectively and listening intentionally to people's ideas and concerns. It's much more of a collaborative process and I really enjoy that; it's not just me turning up and taking charge. It's a partnership.
What's your favorite thing about photographing people?
I love the creativity of it. As you're taking the picture you have to think about light and colour, composition and background as well as a whole host of other factors in a split second, all whilst planning your next shot. But pressing the shutter is only part of it; I love the editing process. Often a small alteration to light or colour can change the entire feel of an image so that it becomes a better reflection of the subject or the moment. That's hard to explain, but I suppose it's a mixture of instinct and practice that allows photographers to see that.
But mostly I just love the people I get to meet. And the absolute best part is when I get to work with the same people over and over again. Maybe photographing children as they grow up, or shooting a wedding and then doing a newborn session. Photography is an intimate process anyway, and being trusted to that extent feels like an amazing privilege.
Anything else I should ask?
No, I think that’s it. Do you think I should post a picture of myself?
Absolutely. It’ll help people prepare themselves to see your face for the first time.