Life Is a Photo Op | Kelsey Gerhard


Kelsey Gerhard |Kelsey Gerhard Photography

Where are you from?
I am originally from Northern Virginia (suburb of DC), but I also grew up in Incline Village, NV (Tahoe), San Diego, and Santa Barbara, CA.

Where do you currently live?
Back in Northern Virginia / DC – not far from where I was born.

How long have you been shooting?
I started taking photography classes seriously my sophmore year of high school. That was more than 20 years ago.

Are you self-taught or schooled in photography?
I guess I’m schooled in photography, although I have more of an art background. I have a BA in Art from UCSB, and an MFA in Photography from CalArts. My photography education, however, is heavily rooted in art theory, history and criticism. Less so in the technicalities of photography.

Do you photograph for a living or is this a hobby?
Both, but I have only been photographing for a living (part time) for a short while.

What is in your camera bag?
Nikon D700
50mm 1.4G
105mm 2.8G
20mm 2.8D
Lensbaby Composer pro
SB-700 speedlight
Minolta light meter
Polaroid SX-70
Hassleblad 501CM
4×5 Calumet.

Oh, and an iPhone 4S. But the Hassleblad has its own separate bag, and the 4×5 is in a huge metal case!

Do you shoot digital or film or both?
Both. But my film cameras are collecting a bit of dust lately.

If both, what do you find both positive and negative about shooting in both formats?
Each of my film cameras have such unique qualities that cannot be recreated digitally (and the larger format cameras produce incredible sharpness and detail). But film is expensive, and they are impractical for chasing fast moving children or traveling with said children! Digital gives me so much more freedom in post processing and portability, not to mention instant gratification. I am kind of obsessed with that at the moment.

Why do you love Digital or Film?
The convenience of digital is ideal for me right now and, other than being stuck in a desk chair, I really enjoy the editing process. I love being able to create more than one version of an amazing capture (which is much harder to do with film!). But I have always enjoyed manipulating images in the darkroom, or when developing negatives, too. Go figure!

How did this project come about?
When my husband (then fiance) Torrey and I were in graduate schools in separate states, I did an entire Masters thesis show based on my half of our lives apart. It mostly featured our yellow lab, Jules, and all of the things I was doing where she accompanied me. I was also living in the same town as all of his family and planning our wedding hundreds of miles away from him. I constantly photographed the daily bits of life around me in California that I didn’t want him to miss while he was studying in Oregon. While it was predominantly Jules in the photos, not me, it was still my narrative. I was documenting my version of our life apart. Today, I find that I continue that sort of documentation with my two young daughters. While they are the subjects in the photographs, I think it is really my experiences being told through them.

What is it about this project that speaks personally about you?
They are pieces of my life, and the memories I want to keep.

What would you want this project to say to the viewer?
I want the viewer to feel what it was like to be there with me at that moment. As a family, we love to explore the outdoors wherever we are and many of these photos are taken while traveling. They aren’t terribly planned, but when I capture the perfect image through my camera I know it immediately. Something special happens when the wind catches my girls’ hair in just the right way, or when the light casts a golden glow across the summery green of our back yard, and my youngest runs through it. I want to grab onto that. I want to remember what it was like to experience that with my family, and I hope that translates to the viewer as well.

Are you currently shooting or planning to shoot another personal project?
I am always shooting personal projects! I just may not know it at the time…

If so, what is the goal you are trying to achieve from that project?
I’ll let you know as soon as I know.

How do you keep challenging yourself photographically?
I love to work with equipment that has limitations. In fact, many of the images in this post were just taken with a Nikon D80 (that I no longer have) and a 50mm lens. I have created some amazing pieces of art with my iPhone! Sometimes it is also challenging just to keep getting the camera out and bringing it with you wherever you go – but the rewards are endless.

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Featured on Beyond Snapshots: Life is a Photo Op » Kelsey Gerhard Photography *the blog*
May 7, 2012 at 7:39 am

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

kati May 3, 2012 at 11:42 am

beautiful, kelsey! xoxo

Breanna May 3, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Beautiful Kelsey!!!

sharon May 21, 2012 at 1:31 am

Love your work!

Kelsey Gerhard May 30, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Oh, I just now saw all of these comments… Thank you ladies! :) xo

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