Cymru Culture

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Kimberley Collins interview

(March 01, 2012)

Interview with photographic artist Kimberley Collins


CC … What first interested you in photography and what inspires you to capture images?

KC … I have always loved art, since I was very young. One of my first memories was of doing art at home. I am always keen to learn more, different styles of art and techniques. A few years ago I was having a bit of a bad time in work and decided to go back to college, and did a National Certificate in Art and Design at Coleg Sir Gâr . One of my units was photography, and my passion for photography really started then. Before that course I had always been a painter, working in 2D, but that course really helped me see what I wanted to do. It showed me sculpture in a way I had never thought about it before, and it introduced me to Photography. All sorts of things inspire me. Sometimes I just see something that I need to capture, and other times it is a feeling or a concept that inspires me.

Kimberley Collins Canvas 20Taken from collection 3 Months, 2 Cameras, 1 Island


CC … Have you studied any other formal photography courses?

KC … I have not had any formal training in photography apart from the units I took as part of my N.C. But I do have a GCSE and an A-Level in Art, and now I am on a BA (Hons) in Fine Art Sculpture. Fine Art Sculpture may seem like a strange choice of degree for someone who is passionate about photography, but the great thing about creating photography in a more sculptural way is that I have a lot more freedom, and I can be less worried about the sharpness of this and the lighting on that and be more concerned about the concept, the idea that I am trying to explain. Sometimes, I blur certain parts of an image on purpose, and sometimes I over-expose my work on purpose; some people would say it is bad photography. I argue that this is not the case. There isn't bad photography, or photography that isn't right, it is just another idea, another take on what you want to say. Just like a painting, you cannot be told that it is incorrect. It is what is right for you. And this style of photography is what is right for me.


Kimberley Collins Canvas 07Taken from collection 3 Months, 2 Cameras, 1 Island


CC ... What advice would you have for any readers who are interested in photography?

KC ... Experiment. Using a 35mm film camera is a great way to start. Because you know that every shot you take is precious on film, it really makes you think about everything you are doing. I am more aware of the positioning, the layout, the settings on my camera, the dust on my lens, the lighting conditions, everything, when I am shooting in film. I tend to become a more 'lazy' photographer when I shoot in digital because I know that I can just photoshop things right. On film it is either take it as you see it, or spend a lot of time in the dark room, which I really try to avoid.


CC ... Photography is often associated with using expensive equipment and formal training. What are your thoughts on this assumption?

KC ... I think that you don't need expensive equipment to be a good photographer. I shoot mainly with a Nikon F-801. Great camera. I bought it for £39. The lens I mainly use was given to me because they didn't need it any more? Film costs me £1. And most of the time I try and process the film myself to save myself more money. My digital is a Nikon Coolpix L110, and it is a brilliant little camera. The macro shooting mode on that camera is amazing. I don't need a studio, outside is my studio, and it is free. I think that people need to appreciate the equipment they have, and use that to the maximum of their abilities. After all, it isn't the camera you are using, it is what you do with the camera. Sure, a better DSLR gives better clarity of work, and you can blow it up to bigger sizes. But you can do the same with film and a negative scanner. I think some sort of training can help, even if it is tutorials on the internet and asking your friends for their opinion on your work. I really think that formal training does make you think more about what you are photographing, and it is professionals that are giving you advise on how to better yourself. I think formal training it is beneficial … but maybe not vital.


Kimberley Collins Return to Innocence"Return to Innocence is an image that challenges people's views on the early sexualisation of children. The pure white of the veil is meant to protect her young eyes from the inappropriate things she shouldn't be able to see, but so easily can, as sex is basically thrust in our faces from the media."


CC … We huge are fans of black and white photography, here at Cymru Culture. Do you have a preferred medium in which to show your work, or are you equally comfortably working in colour and black and white?

KC … I am as comfortable working in Black and White and colour. It depends on what I am shooting to determine what I shoot in.


March 2012 - Kimberley Collins - BubblesBubbles, Kimberley Collins


CC … Tell us about some of the images you have been working on recently. Especially, your collection titled Retreat.

KC … My most recent image is titled I remember when I was a tree. It is an image that sits along with a sculpture of a paper tree. The photograph is on Polaroid to represent memories, and how they fade over time. Images on a Polaroid also fade. The retreat collection is black and white photographs; displayed on mirrors, in frames. They were shot with my Nikon F-801 on Ilford XP2 film.


March 2012 - Kimberley Collins - I remember when I was a treeI remember when I was a tree, Kimberley Collins


CC … What was the inspiration behind the Retreat collections of images?

KC … The are to show that when we are young, we crave to be older, and once we are old we want to be young again. My sister is at that age of wanting to be older (she is 15). I have been showing her the importance of childhood and holding on to it as long as she can. This is represented in the images by her holding objects that are seen as 'child-like', such as balloons and a pin wheel. They also represent myself at her age, as I always retreated into myself and into the forest to escape (these images where shot in the forest I used to go to). There is a sense of animosity in this image as far as her age goes, really trying to emphasise the message of older people trying to become young again. These images are presented in a 'vintage' style so that they can appear timeless - that these images are not a specific time, or movement. They are shot on 35mm because I feel that film adds a certain dynamic that digital can't quite capture. I think it adds to an overall feeling of 'capturing the moment' and holding on to what you have. As I said, the images are mounted on mirrors, so people can see themselves in my work - literally. Also I know that mirrors are an important part of teenage years … being a vain teenager once, myself!


Kimberley Collins Retreat RightRetreat Right


Kimberley Collins Retreat MiddleRetreat Middle


Kimberley Collins Retreat LeftRetreat Left


CC … You've had images exhibited in Canada, and have a sculpture being shown at the National Botanical Gardens. Both must be exciting experiences for you …

KC … I am very proud of these achievements, and pleased that I have been given the opportunity to be able to show in such great places as these.


CC … Is the viewers'/public's reaction to your work important to you?

KC … I guess it is. I would like to think that my work makes the public think about things that maybe haven't occurred to them before, or maybe things that they have thought about, but maybe I have presented the idea to them in an unexpected way. I have been told that my Retreat photographs makes people feel at unease, and I guess that is an adequate response, considering that the nature of the images is to make you feel, and think.


CC … Do you have any exhibitions planned?

KC … I do. I have a show with another photographer titled '3 Months, 2 Cameras, 1 Island', at the Black Mountain Centre, Brynamman, Carmarthenshire, during April, and then the same show will be going to the National Botanic Gardens of Wales during May and June. This show is a 'Photojournal' of sorts of 3 months that myself and another artist spent on Vancouver Island, Canada. Naturally I had my 35mm film camera. I also have a few exhibitions planned for 2013.


CC … Be sure to let us know when you have more details. Kimberley Collins, thank you.



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