Local Gems is a new feature to my blog where I am planning to showcase some of my favorite places around the Raleigh, Durham, triangle of NC. So, I think it is only fitting that my first “Local Gems” post will be highlighting my mom’s business, Kim Crenshaw Photography, as she is such an amazing photographer, and I have her to thank for nurturing my creative side.
My mom and dad divorced when I was a baby, and she started attending an Memphis College of Art and never looked back. She has been a professional portrait photographer since I was five years old, and i’ve been able to grow up watching her create this amazing business. She’s tought me that if you have talent and you work really hard, your dreams really can come true.
I had the pleasure of sitting down and interviewing her the other day over some awesome frozen yogurt. So here you go, a little insight from a super lovely photographer. Enjoy!
Question 1: Where did you study?
Kim: I was incredibly fortunate to be able to attend Memphis College of Art in Memphis, Tennessee. It only had 220 students when I went there and the classes were really small, which was great! Our professors became more than just “teachers” , they were our mentors, friends, and biggest cheerleaders. It was such a great atmosphere to learn in, and I loved every minute of it.
Question 2: What made you choose a career in photography?
Kim: I always wanted to be an artist, really ever since I was in third grade. Originally I wanted to be a cartoonist since I loved Peanuts comics and Disney, but I didn’t feel that I had that natural talent to draw or paint. Later on I found photography and fell in love with it. I felt that photography was a great way to express myself, and to capture what my eye could see, but in a way that meant I did not need the talent to draw or paint, I could make art with film and light . The other compelling factor for me later on as well was having a young daughter that I wanted to “freeze in time” and great photos can do that.
Question 3: What is your favorite subject to photograph?
Kim: Always, always, always people, but especially kids. Six year olds are the best, best age bar none, they are quite the little conversationalist.
Question 4: Who is your favorite photographer of all time?
Kim: I can’t choose just one! Henri Cartier Bresson for his ability to hit that shutter at the “decisive moment.” Annie Lebowitz early work, her portraits are amazing, and also Sally Mann because she took the most amazing portraits of her kids.
Question 5: What is your favorite medium to work with other than photography?
Kim: I used to LOVE to sew! I even thought about starting a line of children’s clothing when Ashlee was young. Now I love any chance to craft, whatever the medium, and especially if my daughters are crafting with me!
Question 6: Do you prefer film or digital, and why?
Kim: I would still be shooting film if Kodak hadn’t done away with all of their emulsions and papers for printing from negatives. Film has an organic quality that digital just doesn’t.It also has a three dimensional quality that digital does not, and it reproduces exactly what it sees color, light, etc, with proper exposures of course.
Question 7: What makes photography an art?
Kim: The person behind the lens. Buying expensive equipment or using fancy filters and tricks that are trendy doesn’t really make you an artist. Having an artists eye is something that can be trained, refined, and honed. But like a good singers voice, you have to have that ability in you to really be a fantastic artist.
Question 8: Did you have a favorite teacher or class?
Kim: Of course, my photography professor, Murray Riss, whom I am still in touch with. Also my history teacher Cynthia Pickock. She made history totally come alive, but more than that, she is a person I owe a world of thanks to. She gave me the push to start my own business right out of college when I did not have that confidence in myself. She saw the talent that I was not so sure of and convinced me to try and set out on my own. That was twenty five years ago, and I never looked back. I still LOVE what I do- so Thank You-Cynthia!
Question 9: If you could be a photographer anywhere in the world where would it be?
Kim: I think the home, studios, and gardens here in North Carolina are pretty perfect. I will say that I really love to travel, so anywhere in France, Italy, Greece, Spain, would be amazing. I know we plan to start a new photo business in St. Marteen in the next few years, so we will be looking forward to working a lot there!
Question 10: Any advice for young people who are interested in this line of work?
Kim: Yes, learn the process. Study photography as an art form, and create your own vision. Do not fall into the trap to pick up a camera, put it on auto, and copy the trendy works of everyone else. To do anything really well, it takes a lot of work, and a passion to express your own vision.
So there you have it, words of wisdom from a veteran portrait photographer, crafter, and mom.
To see more of Kim’s beautiful work, visit her website: www.kimcrenshawphotography.com and check out her galleries. The pets are my favorite!