The Photographer Interviews: Kevin Archibald

What drew you to photography?

One of my earliest memories was running around my nana and papa’s house in the tiny village of Milton Bridge, Scotland with one of those old rectangle vintage Kodak cameras. Every time I went there, that old vintage Kodak was always my go to ‘toy’ if you like. As a child I would enjoy nothing more than looking through old family photo albums, in fact it is still one of my favourite things to do even now.

Nowadays, my wife and I love to travel, and in the past my camera phones memory would always be packed full with hundreds and hundreds of photos. I thought it made sense that if I was taking all these pictures that I might want to look back on some day, that I should atleast take them with a camera that might do the experiences justice.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I wouldn’t say I have a favourite photographer I look up to.  I have many people I follow on social media who are incredible photographers however in general I try to find as much inspiration from my surroundings as possible.  

What type of camera and lenses do you use?

To this day I still use the only  camera I have owned which is the Canon EOS 4000D. I started off with the budget lens which came with the camera which was a Canon EFS 18-55mm.For anyone starting out as a beginner, I think this is an ideal lens to learn with and develop what kind of photographer you want to be.  I still carry this lens in my bag to this day.

If I am in and around the city I generally take my Canon 24-105mm as it gives me the range I am looking for for the majority of the time in these surroundings. My latest lens is the Tokina ultra wide angled 11-20mm F2.8 for landscape shots.  I haven’t used it a lot however I’ve been so impressed with the shots I have taken with it. The other lens I carry in my bag is the Canon 50mm STM.

How did you get into photography?

When I got my camera, I don’t think I ever expected to fall in love with photography the way I have.  I’m very much an introvert and don’t always express myself very well publicly however photography has given me a way in which to do so.

I enjoy the fact that there is no right or wrong, everything is open to interpretation. I like that for that split second when you push the button on your camera, you can quite literally freeze time.  For that extremely brief pause, nothing else will  ever be the same again as in that moment. Whether that be the position of leaves falling off a tree or a wave crashing off a rock, that moment in time can never be replicated.

What's your favorite image you've captured?

I don’t have a favourite photograph as such that I have taken.  I can be quite critical of the photos I produce and always find something I would change about them. However my most liked picture on my Instagram page happens to be from one of the most enjoyable day out I’ve had with camera to this day.

There was a snow storm in New York on February 1st, 2021. You can be assured that when the snow falls in Manhattan there is always going to be some incredible photo opportunities and that day did not disappoint. I captured an image of a fire truck sitting at the side of the road whilst two others attempted to clear the sidewalk. I think it gives a good representation of a community pulling and working together in tough times.

What subject draws you to take a photo of it?

I wasn’t really aware of this until recently however I have found that I am drawn a lot of the time to Bridges. I am lucky enough that I live in Manhattan so I am slightly spoiled for choice whether I am in Central Park, or I can hop on the local ferry and head downtown and capture these shots from on board the ferry or get off at one of the many stops and capture them from dry land.  

My favourite Bridge is Gapstow Bridge in Central Park. For such a simple looking structure, you can create an enormous amount of theatre by either pointing your camera towards the bridge in various light and different seasons, or pointing your camera from the bridge back towards The Plaza Hotel.

Can you share some tips on how you capture these images?

My first tip would be firstly identify what you want in your capture.   I started off being a point and shoot photographer without knowing there was any other way really.  However, I now like to look at my surroundings, decide from there what is going to make the shot and then go to where I think the best view point is going to be.

What’s the secret! Are there specific types of equipment for taking these kinds of photos?

I don’t think there is a secret as such. Like anything else, the only way to improve is practice, practice, practice. And have fun with it!

What has been your biggest challenge in pursuing a career in photography?

Self confidence and getting my name out there. The world of photography is such a competitive industry. My Instagram account ‘Ka_photoworks’ is my main platform for sharing my photography and there are so many factors with regards to social media, whether it is algorithms or using the correct hashtags.  It can sometimes feel impossible to know the difference between what is right and what is wrong in regards to getting your photos noticed.

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