Story: North Philly
Q. How did you find out about getting a gold medal? What was your first reaction?
A. I got a text from friend and fellow MU grad student Kholood Eid after I placed in both Feature and Interpretative Project. I was really shocked. I'm still in shock, but super honored and excited. This is motivation to keep working harder than ever and to continue to make important, intimate pictures.
Q. Can you tell us something about making the winning project?
A. Well, for the feature category, that was a moment I ended up seeing and just waited for the right composition -- Gage framed through the door. I shot a series of frames, but chose the one with his leg in the air because I thought it worked the best visually. I ended up not having to move much because as soon as I saw Gage playing with the gun I was already at the point where I could layer my frame like I ended up doing.
For interpretative project those were a series of images I made using an iPhone camera while back home in Philadelphia over winter/summer break. It's really refreshing to make pictures like that. I'd go out and shoot plenty of times without a DSLR. I didn't start shooting with a mobile phone until January, but I'm really enjoying the freedom that comes along with it.
Q. How did you first get into photography?
A. I was first interested in working in the film industry. I wanted to be a screenwriter and then a cinematographer. I finally just took a photo class for fun while I was an undergraduate at Temple University in 2009. I fell in love with the ability to make pictures that people can react to and understand their world by viewing them.
Q. Who are some photographers who especially inspire you, and why do you admire them?
A. As a native Philadelphian, I am a huge fan of former Philadelphia Inquirer photographer Eric Mencher's work. He has a wonderful eye for light, color and scenes. I enjoy looking at his work and being constantly inspired to make thoughtful, interesting images.
Q. Any tips for other college photographers?
A. Keep pushing yourself. Never stop. Breathe photography, live photography and take your time creating a body of work that shows your personal vision. Your subjects should be more than just "subjects." Give them a voice and shine a light on people whose stories might otherwise be unheard.
To see more of Kevin’s work, click here.
Interview by Leah Beane and Hany Hawasly