As you may have noticed, we have really ramped up our photography and styling at Braid Barbers with the help of professional photographer, Kim Hardy. Kim has been a close friend of the Braid family for many years, so it made sense for us to utilise his eye behind the camera to create new and exciting imagery each month for Braid Barbers.
We sat down for a chat with Kim to discuss how he got started in photography, the challenges he faces on a shoot, his future plans and much more. As I'm sure you'll agree, he's one talented individual and we're really excited to be teaming up with him every month at Braid Barbers.
When did you first get into photography and why?
I have played around with cameras ever since I was kid, but it wasn’t until 2011 that I first started to make a living from it. It all happened very quickly to be honest. Since I have a background in acting, I started taking portrait shots for a few mates of mine and the ball started rolling. One minute I was photographing a few lads I went to drama school with, the next thing I’m photographing Kevin Spacey! Looking back, it wasn’t the overnight success story as it may have seemed from the outside, as most of it was pure obsession. I tinker away for hours, getting into the geekiness of it all. I think this has a lot to do with my music producing days and I really think you can parallel some of the technicalities of photography and digital music production; sound and light behave very similarly in many ways, the spectrum of sound and light blah blah blah. You see, that’s the obsession bit!
I love the creativity of it all. I think that everybody can relate to a good photograph; it’s a whole form of self expression and it’s wonderful to share something you have created with the world. There's an instant gratification that comes when you take a good photograph, but most of all it’s portraiture that I enjoy. Working directly with somebody face to face, the interaction and ultimately the joy that people feel once you create something unique together. It’s always evolving and never boring.
How the the link up with Braid Barbers come about?
Robert has been my mate for years. In fact, he has been cutting my hair since I was 10 years old, so we go way back. We are very similar in a lot of ways; we both have a drive for creativity and self-expression. There is a nice link that we share with photography, as 15 years ago Rob took a year out travelling with a 35mm camera and took some incredible pictures of his adventures. Namely Burma; it was breathtaking and I remember sitting with Rob at Braid Barbers flicking through his printed portfolio. It was awe-inspiring! Temples, sand dunes, Buddhist monks and lost ruins; that really remained with me. In fact, my father's heritage has its roots in Burma, so I have recently visited myself and went on my own journey.
What do you find the most challenging thing about a photoshoot?
Being underprepared! You really have to do your homework before the shoot otherwise you're playing catch up and not really letting go. You become too self-involved and are basically in your head panicking, wasting precious time. This is something that doesn't come naturally to me, sometimes my studio is like a big kid's bedroom. I have to now keep it organised and do my prep beforehand, otherwise, it's like doing a hundred-metre race with your shoelaces tied together!
What are your future plans in photography?
The big dream; commercial portraiture and editorial portraits for celebrities, inspired by masters like Joey L, Lorenzo Agius and Annie Leibovitz. I’ve got my work cut out for me then! I want to take my work internationally ultimately; I see myself hopping around the States and ending up in New York or L.A. That's the long term sightlines. For now, I think personal projects are the most fruitful collaborations as you always grow from the experiences and expand your portfolio.
Is there anyone that you would really love to photograph?
Mads Mikkelsen and Michael Shannon have incredible features and would work with my gritty style. I feel I could do something quite impacting with those guys, they are quite mysterious actors and very intriguing to me. Along a similar line, Benicia Del Toro also has that quality and depth, a sort of earthiness to him. Apart from gritty 40 to 50s-year-old dudes with lived-in faces, I think on the opposite end of the spectrum Amy Adams and Rachel McAdams are both incredibly talented and exceptionally beautiful people. Yeah well, I seem to have a list!
Are there any destinations that you think would make the perfect photoshoot?
Just a derelict rusty power station, thank you very much! There is something that fascinates me with urban exploration and I’ve been fortunate to explore some of the best locations due to my desire to discover. It’s such a rush! I snuck into Kelenfold, an abandoned power station in Budapest that features a control room that looks like something out of a sci-fi B - movie. It’s hard to describe the feeling of walking into a place like that, knowing you could get caught at any moment. I’ve often thought that doing some sort of portrait shoot on a location like that would be pretty cool.
Tell us a little about your Burning Man experience.
Chaotic! The delirious kid in a sweet shop material! I was sick with creativity and paralysed with options. Burning Man is indescribable. I didn’t sleep much for the first 4 days and loved literally every moment. Rob and I went together with our cameras and I had to resist taking them out of our RV for the first few days. Two things happen when you have a camera. Firstly the positive; you’re more aware, absorbing what is happening around you, taking in all the little moments, feeling the rush of capturing them as they happen. There is something happening at Burning Man 24 hours a day! It’s beautiful, I believe there is more creativity per square foot in BM then anywhere else on earth. The negative; you are a voyeur, never quite 'IN' the action. That can be quite distancing and isolating, so it takes an amount of discipline to hold back and leave it at home. We were very lucky to make friends with a camp who introduced us to some incredible people, we ended up on the tallest mutant art car the PerVertical that was basically a triple-decker moving scaffold to watch the man burn. It was epic.
What are you plans with Braid Barbers moving forward?
There is something very rewarding that happens when we bounce off each other. Our collaborations inspire us and challenge us to take our work further. I see us developing our style together and creating more advanced material that we can push forward into the editorial world. We both have a taste for portraits that have a cinematic appeal to them. I see our shoots gathering more and more momentum as we have a lot of ideas and are constantly discussing them. We are currently photographing once a month and each time we meet, we hope to learn from our work and constantly refine and define what we do and ultimately get it out there!
Check out our collaboration with Kim Hardy and be sure to check out his website if you are looking for some cost-effective headshots. His prices are very reasonable for the excellent standard of photography.