Friday, October 13, 2017

Featured Photographer: Kelly Dawson

"I grew up in a half-American, half-Taiwanese family in Hong Kong, fully encased in the expat bubble.
 I spent summers in the US, because my dad wanted me to be American. It was an interesting childhood, 
and in some ways I feel like I'll always be an expat, no matter where I live. 
These days I live and work in Beijing, which is grimy and inspiring. 
I try to travel as much as possible, but also do all the usuals: read, watch movies, spend quality time with people I care about.
 My hobbies have changed over the years, and have included playing with clay, collages, audio stories, dance... I'll probably always be a bit of a dabbler. "

"In high school I took a few dark room courses in school, 
and found the process of developing black and white film to be really peaceful. 
But even then, I was never much of a technical photographer. 

I take a lot of photos of small moments I see on the subway, walking around my neighborhood, traveling, people watching, etc... Many of these photos aren't really about photography at all, but simply a way of cataloguing everything that's caught my attention over the course of a day. Later I'll look back and realize that a few of those moments feel like something genuinely resonant, but it's rarely something I plan. "

"When I was younger I worked with film cameras, and then point and shoot digital. But these days it's all about my iPhone, for the ease of use-- and because I can take photos unobserved. Occasionally I take portraits in which I've asked the person's permission, but generally my photos are observational. 
Since I moved to China a few years ago, I find the most inspiration on my commute and in just going about my daily life. But it does help to travel--- a change of scenery is always incredibly inspiring. In recent years I've been fortunate to travel around China, to Myanmar, Iceland, Indonesia and more. When I was based in the US, travel felt more out of reach. "

"As someone who thinks a lot about emotion and the way in which we relate to one another, I'm drawn to the human interactions on display all around us. 
The photos I'm happiest about are the ones in which you can imagine an interior life for the person or people in frame. 
I'm inspired by expressive people and unusual scenery that makes me feel small.   
The best route through creative block is to create something you expect no one will ever see. "

"I like to wake up rested, a rare feeling. A lazy morning, with coffee and the option of remaining horizontal with my phone and/or a book. Wandering around a bit with no plan, somewhere I might be inspired to take photos or see something creative. Dinner with loved ones, a movie I'll want to discuss, and bed not too long after midnight. "

(Interview by Carli Vogel)

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