Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Art of the Self Portrait - Feature interview: Kalie

This is the third interview for the feature The Art of the Self Portrait, meet Kalie...

1. Fill me in on your background, where are you from and how did you get in to photography?

Well I am originally from North Carolina but I moved to Georgia at a very early age and grew up there all my life and am now going to college in Pennsylvania. I first took interest in photography three years ago (hm maybe it was four) all I know is that it was Easter and I randomly picked up our crappy point and shoot camera and starting shooting. I will say that I didnt fall in love with the art until this past year.

start over., originally uploaded by Allyson Kalie.

2. Who has influenced you the most in terms of photography?

Wow, there are so many answers to this. I really do not have one specific person or being that has inspired me, instead I have more of an abstract idea I suppose. Ever since I began to take photography seriously, I have always said to myself "I want to make you feel me with my photos." With that said, it has been my emotions that have been the drive behind all that I do.

, originally uploaded by Allyson Kalie.

3. Why do you prefer to take self portraits?

As I already touched on, I see photography as incredibly emotional. I prefer to take selfs because I know what specific feeling I want to be portrayed in the picture and therefore know exactly how to move my body. Its easier that way for me. My photos are similar to a diary...I use my camera as my outlet.

4. What is your process when taking self portraits from getting ideas to editing?

The majority of the time, I go into a shoot with a specifc feeling that I want to get across. Its not so much "oh yes, I want to go shoot myself standing in a field with the sun setting behind me." Its more of "okay, today I want to show a sad lust" and then I go from there. I do hope that makes sense. And as far as editing...I love editing more than you can imagine. Its very therapeutic for me. I listen to music when I play in photoshop and my photos will change due to the music I am listening to at the time.

5. What are your tools of the trade?

Tools of the trade? As in what do I use? Ha. Well I have my Canon Rebel XTi, the kit lens, a remote, my cheap, beautiful little 50mm lens, a Bogen tripod I "permanently borrowed" from my art teacher that is over ten pounds and at least 40 years old.

6. Where do you hope to go with you photography and self portraits?

Mm I dont know, I dont even know if I could make any profession out of shooting self portraits...I dont even know if I will continue to shoot myself as my main subject in the future. I hope that I branch out more to be honest.

7. Why do you think people are drawn to self portraits and what is you impression of the people that think it's just narcissistic?

I know that I have always been drawn to self portraits simply because I always want to get into the artists mind as much as I can. Yes, when I see a photo of say a beautiful tree I am able to get a slight glimpse of the artists mind by observing how they edited, what angle, so on and so forth. But when an artist shoots themself, I am able to see not only their mind but a piece of their heart and body as well. I know that sounds corny but I mean it.

As far as the people who call self portraits vain...I have gotten over caring what they think. It used to bother me a lot to be called vain but then I realized, I am making photographs for myself-why should I have to justify that?

, originally uploaded by Allyson Kalie.

8. Who are some other self portrait artists that you admire?

On Flickr, I would say Kat Burns. I love her mind and her style with photographs. I have gotten the chance to talk to her quite a bit and she is completely inspirational.

Originally uploaded by kat burns

9. What is your best tip to taking a self portrait?

I guess I have many, but the very first that popped into my mind: dont care if you look ugly. It sounds so simple but it is key. 80 percent of emotion doesnt come out "pretty" on a camera to the models eye, but I believe raw feelings, "ugly feelings" are the most beautiful. Shoot what you feel. The end.

10. Your photos seem to incorporate your surroundings, is this a big part of your style?

I never go anywhere very exotic (seeing as I lived in GA) but I do love finding spots to photograph. When I was back home, I used to just go for drives looking for my next spot...the traveling was part of the experience. However, I have many many shots that are taken, for example, just as I was sitting at my desk and I decided to pick up the camera, hold it out and click. I dont believe location is everything, but I agree that it can be important.

11. Who has been your biggest influence in your photography work and where do you look for inspiration for your work?

I have many answers for this. But I suppose I will talk about how music influences me. The majority of my photos have a sort of "blue-green" tint to them, the reason behind this is because of the Icelandic band called Sigur Ros. Their music has always been the backbone to my work and if you watch their music videos, you will see their work also has that cool colored tone to them. Other bands that have inspired me in more ways that I can name: Bon Iver, Wild Sweet Orange and Frightened Rabbit.

12. What is your favourite self portrait you have taken? (Link and describe why)

Oh wow. Ask me this again next week and the answer will have changed. I change my mind so often. Hm, well I am going to cheat and put up the link that shows several of mine because I love them all working together as one piece:

selah in the hardest times., originally uploaded by Allyson Kalie.

I love these photos because I remember exactly what was going through my head in all of them. I believe they are some of my more emotionally charged photos...I cant explain to you why I love them without telling you why I took them in the first place, and no one has enough time to read all that. Also, I said this to someone else, I just love when my tattoo makes its way into my photos. Its a reminder.

13. What are some of you favourite films, books and musicians?

My favorite author is Jack Kerouac and I love the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I have yet to see Where the Wild Things Are, but I know this will become my favorite movie. Into the Wild is a beautiful film and book as well as the movie Good Will Hunting.

, originally uploaded by Allyson Kalie.

14. What has been your biggest achievement so far with your photography?

I dont really have achievements in this art...well, I suppose finishing the Flickr 365 project was pretty huge. That took a whole lot of effort and honestly, starting that thing was one of the best decisions I have made so far.

15. Which self portrait artist do you think i should interview next and why?

Kat Burns (as I said before)
Shes brilliant.

, originally uploaded by Allyson Kalie.

Thank you so much Kalie :)

See more of Kalie's work here


  1. I wish I could have an Interview with her, she is an amazing photographer and one of my biggest inspirations.

  2. Kalie's photo's are extremely inspiring. thank you for interviewing her, i have always been curious as to whats been in her head, and where her ideas generate from.