I'm pretty darn honored today to be able to share this. As of the wee hours of this morning, I am featured on the Photographers Breakthrough website as the Winter 2014 breakthrough artist. Photographers Breakthrough is a photography education site run by two photographers and photo educators, Tony Rizzuto and Elizabeth Stone. I know both Tony and Elizabeth through Rocky Mountain School of Photography, where I have worked for the past eight years. In fact, it was Tony who interviewed me back then, as he was RMSP's curriculum director at the time. Both Tony and Elizabeth are outstanding photographers and have great reputations in the photo / photo education worlds, which makes it even cooler that they recognized me on their site. I encourage you to check out a selection of my images featured in an e-book on their site, and read my answers to some of the questions they threw my way. If you do, let me know what you think in the comments below.
With 2013 in the books and 2014 already looking to be as good or better, this might be considered just another obligatory end-of-the-year blog post. Sorry 'bout that. Nonetheless, I have been wanting to sit down and scratch out a few thoughts and comments on the year that just ended ... for my sake as well as yours. And because merely putting my fingers to the keyboard to recap the last chapter and focus on the next one just feels good. I'm going to cheat a little and start in September of 2012 when I finished shooting a creative project with my friend Lando (see here, here and especially here). Less than 48 hours later I took a rather decisive left turn by beginning a time intensive (200 hour), work-heavy and mentally-taxing Wilderness EMT course offered through Aerie Backcountry Medicine. I received training in swiftwater rescue, improvised litter constructing in the backcountry, mass casualty responding and a ton of emergency medical scenarios. I also spent time on the ambulance and in the ER. At the end of it all, I emerged as a (mentally and physically exhausted) nationally certified EMT. Why did I do this? The reasons are many, but at the top of the list is simply being a smarter and more prepared individual. Also, diving into something that was NOT photo related helped me see things in a different light and reminded me just how much I enjoy photography.
Three weeks following my EMT course, when I had barely caught up on my sleep, my wife and I had our first child. Esti Fallon Kemmis was born at 9:23 a.m. on December 21, 2012. The months following this day were a roller coaster of emotions and the kind of happiness that makes a person cry. Adjusting to life with Esti has been so damn cool that I have to pinch myself sometimes. Yes it's stressful, exhausting, nerve-wracking, mind-blowing, tiring and challenging, but if there were ever something to make a person feel like they were living life, having a kid is it.
As 2013 marched on, so did the projects. Every month of the year saw 2 or 3 Lando shoots get completed for the 2014 calendar. In March, I also photographed 40+ custom art skateboards for the annual On Deck art show I help put on through my work with the Montana Skatepark Association. I have photographed the decks for this show pretty much since we started doing it eight years ago.
In May I assisted Portland-based photographer Dan Root during Missoula's (in)famous Maggotfest. This is a several-day-long beer drinking tournament with a little bit of rugby thrown in for good measure. Photo-ops are endless and the characters that descend upon Missoula from all over the world do not mess around. It was great working with Dan and ultimately seeing his finished product on his site. He's got a great eye, and had a crystal clear vision for the images he wanted to create. Seeing this in action was a good reminder that vision is everything.
I gained a new client in 2013 in Adventurista Designs, a Missoula-based jewelry company. Ironically enough, this spawned out of a friendship I made in my above-mentioned EMT course. Originally, Adventurista wanted some images for use in a booth at a trade show in Salt Lake City. By the end of July I had created lifestyle images and product images from a couple different shoots. These images ended up being used at the trade show and throughout a lookbook ... which I also designed for them. All around, this was a great experience and a lot of fun. Most of all, I am proud of the outcome.
Somewhat uncharacteristic for me, I photographed two weddings in 2013. Weddings are not my forte', but in both situations, the pieces came together seamlessly and it made sense for me. Looking back at the images that I delivered to each couple, I almost think I should be doing more of this work. I genuinely had a good time doing the work and really, really like the results. Not to mention, when one of the brides told me that she had a living room full of family over to view the images for the first time, and everyone ended up crying, it made me feel good. It's a nice reminder that even though I look at thousands of images in a year, not every one does. And it's the content and the impact an image has on a viewer that determines its quality. Subjective and powerful.
2013 also saw me continuing my work for the Montana Council of Boy Scouts. "Incredible" is all I can say about the relationship that has grown between myself and the BSA. They have placed a ton of trust in me for two years running, and I believe the images and results speak for themselves. Thanks to my images, the images of another couple of photographers in Montana, a talented designer and a quality development director at the BSA, the MT Council won numerous awards for the quality of their marketing materials as compared to other councils in the US. Considering the numbers and budgets of larger councils, our team has scored a solid victory. I look forward to many, many more shoots - both still and video - with the BSA.
Aside from the above mentioned highlights to my year, I also had numerous images published in local outlets. I have been fortunate enough to work with The Missoula Independent, the Missoula Downtown Association, Destination Missoula, Five Valleys Land Trust, Missoula Economic Partnership and a few other local and regional organizations. Key word in that sentence, by the way, is fortunate.
There were many, many, many more moments that added to my 2013 being one of the most progressive, monumental years of my life, but I have to chop it off here. As I said at the beginning of this post, 2014 is looking to be as good or better. So, to that I say ... onward!
It's mid August in Missoula, MT and that means only one thing to an ever-increasing number of partiers, rockers, floaters, barbecuers and good-time-havers: It's TOTAL FEST TIME! Having photographed this gem of an event for the past several (4? 5?) years, I am stoked to see that one of my images has wriggled its way onto the cover of this week's Missoula Independent. The shot is of No-Fi Soul Rebellion front man Mark Heimer doing his thing in the crowd at the Badlander. Seeing this cover gets me excited for this year's line up of bands. Especially some little known, soft rock emo band by the name of Red Fang.
Seeing how this post is going up on January 30 and it's about 25 degrees and snowing outside, I can't help but get a little nostalgic for last summer when I created these images for the Montana Council of Boy Scouts. The assignment was to create a body of work of scouting images to be used in the BSA's marketing materials. The location? That would be Melita Island on Flathead Lake in Montana. Spending a few days on an island, in a very impressive rock and timber lodge, in July in Montana with amazing images unfolding everywhere I looked was a great experience. Now that the images are out in the world, I can share a few here. The first printed piece I have seen with my images is the MT BSA 2013 calendar. (Needless to say, it is verrrrry different from the other calendar I produced in 2013.) It was designed by Eubank Creative. Overall the print quality and design are fantastic. It really hits me when my images end up in the hands of creative, capable designers and reminds me how much they can jump off a page when treated right. I am definitely looking forward to ongoing projects with the MT BSA after this one.
Another product that came out of the assignment was a promo video which features the Melita Island Camp and the K-M Camp near Lewistown, MT. Shooting video is definitely brand new to me, but is quickly becoming an important piece of the puzzle. I was very fortunate to have a good team to help me on this one, specifically Lou Ghaddar, who handled the editing. Check out the video on Vimeo here.
My photo of national champion face puncher Amy Sowers got some real estate in the Fall 2012 issue of Distinctly Montana Magazine that is on stands now. It's great to see Amy get a bit of the spotlight given how damn hard she works. Nice job Amy!
I am very happy to be able to share another cool bit of news from the headquarters of Andrew Kemmis Photography on the blog today. As you might remember from this post here, I got the cover shot of the December 2011 issue of Corridor Magazine. Well, it turns out i've done it again. The April 2012 issue hit the streets today and features my shot of my good, lifelong friend, and all around talented SOB, Chris Fairbanks. The feature article highlights celebrities from Montana, but focuses mainly on Chris, as he has two shows coming up on April 28 at the Crystal Theatre in Missoula. On the evening we shot this photo, Chris was feeling kind of sick, but not enough to be deterred by my request to cover him in popcorn and dress him up in a Christmas turtleneck I have (don't ask). After we worked this scene, Chris threw a few screwdrivers at a telephone pole, dressed up like a "questionable" boy scout and then put on a poncho and asked to have water squirted at his head. We got a few gems that night, but this one definitely takes the cake in my opinion. What do you think about it?
I am pretty stoked to be able to share this post today. Several of my images were published in (and on the cover of!) the December 2011 issue of Corridor Magazine, an Arts & Culture publication that covers Western Montana. The photos were used to illustrate a story on Snowbowl Ski Area turning 50 years old this year. While I am very happy with how the images look - and how BIG they ran - I am especially pleased with how the cover came out. This particular drop and the chute below it are roped off during the regular season, and thus only available (legally) after the mountain has closed ... if there is enough snow. It's great to see that this unique image caught the eye of the art director at Corridor. With a new winter upon us the timing of this article couldn't have been better, as i am now extra fired up to get out and experience more days like this one.
Many thanks to the fellas for allowing me to shoot these photos when the powder was calling our names. Ross Peterson (cover and inset on first spread), Chris Bacon (first spread-left side), and Kurt Scott (B&W full spread).
I picked up the Winter 2011 issue of Montana Headwall recently and was happy to see that one of my images was published in the Head Shots section. The shot was taken on one of the best days on snow last season (for me anyway). Here's a link to the images I posted after that great spring day. By the way, the snowboarder is Ross Peterson...in case you were wondering. Although I was pleased to see my image in print, I was surprised to see the crop it received. For me, what makes this image unique is the rarely-seen view of hazy Missoula in the background. Here is a comparison of the original image and the way it appeared in the magazine (with a bit of my desk too!).
What do you think?
Had a pretty darn nice article in the Missoulian newspaper yesterday. It mainly centered around the park turning 5 years old, but was photo-heavy...with my images...which I love. I was quoted in the article several times, but perhaps the best part was the sentence that starts out, "Kemmis is no spring chicken...." Gotta love that!
The printed version is more impressive as the images ran large, but here are a couple of screen grabs from the missoulian.com which get the point across.
Pretty stoked to share this today. I just received a package in the mail from a buddy in Bozeman who has been working with the Gallatin Valley Skatepark Association (GVSA) for a while. The GVSA is the organization trying to get a bigger, better, awesomer skatepark built in Bozeman. One of their fundraising efforts was has been to produce a 2011 calendar full of shots of (mostly) local skaters, bikers, shredders, skiers, etc. taken by (mostly) local photographers. I was excited when Brian Koenig asked if I wanted to be involved, and I am even more excited to see the finished result. The GVSA used my shot of Kurt Scott riding the Montana sign in the Bitterroot Valley for September. I am proud to be amongst such other great photogs like Dan Armstrong, Derik Olsen, Reid Morth to name a few. I am perhaps even more proud to now be able to call Kurt by his rightful title...Mr. September.
A while back I designed a manual for the Montana Skatepark Association - a non-profit organization I have been working with for the last 10 years or so. The manual helps other MT towns get started with implementing skateboard camps. Seen below is the cover image of Ryan Bailey poppin' in after a 5/0 at MOBASH.