Creativity is a perpetual journey of personal exploration, trial and error, and amassing as much knowledge as possible along the way. Kevin Chambers is quite familiar with this process and his art is a candid representation of continual evolution. As a photographer, designer, musician, and delegate for all things art, Kevin’s eye for imagery, ear for sonics, and taste for design create a harmonious congruency between each facet, meticulously connecting one to the other, while establishing multiple platforms of imaginative works indicative of his distinct originality. The D.C. visionary’s strength in various avenues make him an artist wearing many hats, positioning him as a rising curator of audible and optical intrigue. We sat down with Kevin for our Photographer Of The Month segment to discuss shooting, his music, designing for artists, and how his imagery and sound can’t exist without the other.
RESPECT.: Let’s start with discussing your passion for photography and art as a whole. When did it become something that transformed from a hobby to full-time?
Kevin: “Well everything started because of my sister when she was in middle school and I was elementary in Atlanta. She use to draw heavy and I found it amazing that she could do these things to express her feelings and style with visuals. One day we had a big argument and I ended up ripping up one of her designs. That crushed her in a sense and she told me that, I would have to become something like her in the field of multimedia to get forgiveness. Years later I started to draw Dragon Ball Z characters because it was the wave back then. It was popping on Toonami. Eventually, I got good at it and started showing her my work and full forgiveness was granted because I actually achieved something she thought I wasn’t going to do. While I was in the midst of all this, I started doing graffiti and got caught numerous times and ended up in trouble. I went digital in my Sophomore year of high school to stay away and built a passion for art as a whole. Photography started about 5 years with a canon t1i. Being stupid with running and gunning and not knowing anything until Erick Arc Elliott inspired me to be better with his work in our early days with “THELOVEINUS.” I started to take it serious when I started to read about it with Print Magazine, BOOOOOOOM!, Change of Thought, and more. Honestly, I always wanted to do this but didn’t have the knowledge. It’s still inspiring ’til this day, still learning. Now turning it into a full-time thing was only three years ago. I’ve started to read more and teach myself new techniques to be my own person and stand out from all my knowledge I’ve built over the years. Here I am now, not working or working the minimal hours with a 9 to 5 to keep it full time with my designs as well.”
RESPECT.: Talk about what you ideally prefer to shoot. Do you have a specific process of just grab inspiration from all over?
Kevin: “I like to photograph landscapes and people while I’m out doing street photography. It’s just something that you can’t capture after it’s gone and that’s the current environment at that current time. The essence still exists heavily by capturing the emotion. Now inspiration is the current lighting at hand when I shoot. I’m more of a cinematic type of guy, so the right lighting can trigger me to shoot.”
RESPECT.: Photographers always have their camera/lens preferences. Detail your preferences and why what you shoot with is the best personal fit?
Kevin: “We all do in sense when it comes to preference. I have different cameras for different settings. Studio photography I’ll use a variety of Canon models depending on the object I’m shooting. If I’m capturing an aggressive look, I’ll use a Canon 5D II, Nikon D800E. Less aggressive looks (mainly females) I’ll use a Canon t3i or 7D. The skin tones and contrast/brightness is softer and not as sharp as the other cameras I mentioned. My favorite lens to shoot with is a 35mm Vivitar 2.8, (prime and vintage) which is not a traditional lens to do portraits and other style, but somehow it works when I use my eye. Settings are always changing so I don’t have a specific go to aperture/shutter speed/ISO. I really do believe that it shouldn’t be changed. A slight facial expression change will change my setting.”
RESPECT.: What’s been the most impactful shoot for you personally?
Kevin: “It was my Chino (Dreamchasers/MMG) photoshoot that I did in New Jersey for a brand called Bespoke that makes phenomenal helmets. It was my first time doing sports bike photography in a casual setting. I had too much fun that day and would love go further with doing that and building my never ending portfolio. Would love to jump into F1 Racing photography in a cinematic way.”
RESPECT.: “You are also heavily involved in music and design. Talk about both and where you are in your career with them to date. Do you prefer one craft over the others?”
Kevin: “The music is always compared to my graphic design by aesthetic for my genres of Downtempo, Ambient, Electronic Jazz and Hip-Hop. I produced a lot of Diatonic scale sounds so my current emotion is always showing in my production. I love to produce music that grabs your mental and hypnotizes you to relax and gives off a sense of fulfillment of a hardworking day. People hear my music and see my designs and always think that I do drugs but I don’t. Guess I’m an emotional guy and know how to convey it to people. My career in music has been steady since 2013 for the most because of my past. Spent time with a lot of people that wasted my time and I was ignorant to it because I wasn’t worried about money, just wanted my music out there. I sat back and taught myself the business and released “Cascade Dreams” in October of last year, which is now on Tidal, Spotify and more, It’s been better. Done a massive amount of shows with Bombay Knox and helping the community. It’s been great this year. My latest album placement with Carlitta Durand on “I’ll be Gorgeous When I Die” has been great. But I choose both. I can’t do one without the other.”
RESPECT: Having your hand in so many different avenues, what individual projects are you currently working on?
Kevin: “Right now I’m working on my second album called “NON FICTION.” It’s an environmental, ambient, Progressive House, Hip-Hop album. I’ll also be rapping and singing again and speaking on my past to what made me. I’ve mainly been behind the scenes for years and people haven’t gotten to know me personally. It’s about time to express it. I have a show on June 11th with Until The Ribbon Breaks at Black Cat in D.C. I’ll be performing songs from “Cascade Dreams” and “NON FICTION” in a extensive, creative way. I’m compiling visuals and building a set for it now with plants, lighting, projection mapping, and MIDI mapping to trigger my sounds live. Hopefully it will be done before then, but rendering is so time consuming for the videos. If not, the music will back me up. I’m doing more 3D composition for DJ’s and artists, similar to the stuff you see Skrillex and other DJ’s use for the visuals. Also designing more merch for labels, artists, and more.”
RESPECT.: You can either shoot, design, or do music. Which route do you take creatively and why?
Kevin: “I’ll take all routes. I’ve been a one man army for a while now. It would be so hard just to drop one. I like having control over my look. I’m my own brand.”
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