Meet Judith Kimber of Judith Kimber Photography!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m from Belfast, Northern Ireland, a city full of energy, fabulous Victorian architecture, friendly people and constant reminders of recent strife. I have a demanding and rewarding day job as head of music in a girls’ high school, which gives me limited free time during the working week, but great holidays. A long-distance relationship – and my lovely long holidays – allows me to spend time in the US each year, which I love. As well as my photography, I enjoy designing and making jewelry, which I sell at craft fairs and online. I’m a prolific reader and a truly world-class procrastinator.
When did you fall in love with photography?
My grandfather was a keen amateur photographer, and as a child I spent a lot of time “helping” him in his darkroom. Looking back, he was very kind in allowing me to have a go at all sorts of things which were probably no help to him at all, but it stimulated a love of creating visual imagery which has lasted ever since. I loved art as a child, but never got on well in a school curriculum which was all about drawing. Mostly we drew apples. Mine always looked kind of overly organic and I got low, discouraging marks. I could see in my mind’s eye how my art should look, but drawing was not the medium for me.
So my studies took me in the direction of music instead, but in my thirties I started working with black and white film again, using vintage cameras and learning to do my own developing. I took a brave solo trip to Italy around this time and realised that having a camera with me somehow made it easier to travel alone, and that it was an excellent way to meet other people and strike up fascinating conversations. I also found huge satisfaction in being able to create the types of picture I’d always imagined. I printed and framed my best shot from my first Italian trip, a dark and moody view of the Duomo in Florence, shot from inside a cell in the monastery of San Marco – and fell in love with photography.
How would you say your style has evolved over time?
I find it hard to define my own style, but the more I work, the more a consistent style seems to emerge. I’m still drawn to the sort of architectural details that first attracted me in Italy, to elements of city life, including graffiti, and to the textures of old things. Living in Ireland, it’s hard to avoid being inspired by the landscape, but I find I have to work hard to make my landscape work look original. I aim for clarity of light in my images, while at the same time my colours are becoming gradually darker and subtler. Again, that’s probably the result of living in a country where harsh sunshine is not really a problem!
Tell us about your camera(s) and favorite lens(es).
I’ve recently acquired my first “proper” camera, a Canon Rebel T3. Having worked for years with much more restricting equipment, I’m enjoying learning to use it and am loving the freedom it brings in terms of interpreting an image in exactly the way I want. I’ve started out with a straightforward 18-55mm lens, but I have a wish-list of others ready and waiting. I love macro work, so a nice 100mm might come next. My plan is to save for excellent quality lenses that will last a lifetime.
Where else can we find your work besides your Etsy shop?
I’ve focused all my attention so far on my Etsy shop, although I sell at local craft fairs too. One of my aims for 2014 is to set up a website for my photography.
Any advice for those just getting started as a photographer?
I’m only getting started as a photographer myself now, so I have a huge amount to learn. I try to find a balance between gaining inspiration from looking at other people’s work online, reading books about photography, going to exhibitions and so on, and developing my own style, looking critically at my images and keeping them true to my own vision. It would be easy to try to copy other people’s very attractive ideas, but it’s not ultimately as satisfying as creating your own.
Ask colleagues for help. Google. Keep practising. Discard everything but the best. Don’t lose your excitement. Stay original.
Some recent favourites have been:
· Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Maria Semple)
· The Last Runaway (Tracy Chevalier)
· The Century trilogy (Ken Follett)
· Half of the Human Race (Anthony Quinn)
· Cheating a bit here: anything and everything by both Anne Tyler and Carol Shields, which I constantly re-read and re-love.