Frame Your Story Simply. An Interview with Photographer Christopher Kerksieck

Livestock sat down with Portland-based photographer Christopher Kerksieck to ask about the challenges of shooting the great outdoors, his favorite place to shoot, and what he recommends to all of the aspiring photographers out there. And if you wish to purchase prints of his work, Christopher’s work is available through his Livestock Gallery. (Buy now, and 25% of proceeds will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.)

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What originally sparked your interest in photography?

What originally sparked my interest in photography is just the urge to create and watch things tick. Growing up, skateboarding and snowboarding were huge parts of my life but I always found myself wanting to sit back, analyze, and watch others and would almost create little dream sequences in my head. After some nagging, my Mom bought me a camcorder and my Dad bought me a fisheye lens and I would put together little montage videos with my friends. I eventually merged my way full time into digital + film photography when I turned 20.

Much of your photography aims to capture the beauty of the great outdoors. What’s the biggest challenge with shooting nature?

Living in a generation where everything is analyzed constantly through different social platforms I think there is an immense amount of pressure to try and be original. While I think it’s admirable to try and achieve that I believe it’s unrealistic in our field of adventure photography. If anything, I think we should be flattered if somebody has liked your work enough to re-create it in some way, shape, or form. Theres only so many ways you can shoot a waterfall, or a canoe, or a yellow jacket. Thats why I think it’s so awesome how a lot of young (and old) creatives are taking a shot at telling a story with their work. I think all of our personal and creative journeys are unique.

What your favorite location to shoot for its sheer natural beauty?

I love shooting by my cabin. It’s nice to wake up and drive a few hours around the Olympic Peninsula. Especially as it inches towards fall and winter the colors and mood are just absolutely insane. The landscapes so easily support the use of subjects and you can get such varying results based on where you are.

Do you have any tips for all of the aspiring photographers out there?

I think my biggest tip, which is the hardest to apply to myself, is to try and starve yourself creatively. It’s really easy at an early stage to get down on yourself. You see all of these awesome artists traveling the world and getting immense praise and sometimes you can feel like what you are creating doesn’t matter. However, if you try and focus on your own work while finding out what makes you tick artistically some really special things can happen. I do think it’s really healthy to be inspired by others but it can have the opposite effect if you get fixated on what others are creating. It’s one of my biggest battles as an artist, even writing this is a self-reminder.

You’ve cultivated a large (and loyal) following on Instagram. Why is it important for you to offer fans of your photography the opportunity to collect prints of your work?

Once you have something physical of another artist, it makes the moment and story so much more tangible. You can feel it in your hands and you can display it somewhere that takes up actual space. It’s a special and rewarding feeling that I recommend all photographers (and painters, illustrators, etc) do. It changes everything.

To learn more about Christopher and see more of his work, visit his website. To purchase prints of his work, click through to his gallery.

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