Staci Kennelly | Featured Artist | January 2017

Tell us how your journey with photography began?

For our 15th wedding anniversary, my husband and I traveled to Ireland for a ten-day road trip around the country.  We decided we would buy our first digital camera and purchased one Canon Rebel.  We would soon learn that one camera was not enough.  Taking turns with the camera around the Irish countryside proved difficult.  We both wanted to shoot the whole time.  When we returned to the states, we bought one more Canon Rebel so that we no longer needed to share.  Quickly, photography went from something we did while on vacation or at a big event to an obsession.  We planned dates around where we could take our cameras.  We planned trips around where we could take our camera.  We are constantly wanting to learn more and shoot more.  I think one reason my passion for photography hasn't faded is that I have a built in photography buddy in my husband. 

With two photographers in the same house how do you find and keep your voice as a photographer?

I think it was really hard for me, but I think what is so beautiful and what I love about it is that it forced me to ask myself what do I like to shoot. Because we were both learning to shoot at the same time it really did force me. I’d watch him look at something and I would see what he was seeing, but I didn’t see like that. So it made me ask myself over and over and realize this is what I see and this is what I like. 

It has been nice because sometimes I’ll say to him, “this is what I see and this is what I like, but I don’t know how to get it.” And he’s so much better at looking things up on the internet, and investigating. And so he’ll say “hey, I think maybe you’d like this lens, or this film, or you should check out this other thing.” And so it’s nice. 

Do you ever get jealous of each other’s successes?

We don’t get jealous of each other’s successes because we do things differently. I do like words more, and I like words and pictures together. He sees things differently. We have fought about a few things. And this is usually what we fight over: 1) usually someone finds and buys a lens. So, whose lens is it? We’ve had to work on sharing a bit. 2) There are times when we’ll get to the end of the film drawer and there will only be three rolls left and we’ve had to learn to work that out. 

What is the journey of photography about for you?

I believe that we’re all these beautiful things that we should be getting to know better and so I do hope my photography can be used to illustrate that. How to do that yet, I don’t know. Ya know, I’m not young, but I’m not old yet so I feel like I have all this time. I spent the last 25 years of my life raising children, home schooling them, and so I feel like I’m being reborn right now. I have all of these questions myself, like what do I want to do, what do I want to include. And all I know is it has to include film photography. It has to include ideas and words. I definitely want people to feel known and seen in this world. How to do that I don’t know yet. 

Do you feel like the camera allows you to explore your world in a different way?

I feel like it is inside me to create images, and I think I used to think that I wanted to create them for other people. And then I was in a couple of galleries and it didn’t feel like I was creating for me anymore. 

Is there a medium for you that could replace photography?

No, I don’t think there is. I think I love light. I love that when light hits something it makes it beautiful. My family always teases me because I love weeds in afternoon light. It’s because no one notices weeds. And everyone even tries to get rid of weeds, but when light hits them in that beautiful golden hour they dance, they’re just so beautiful. And that’s all of us, when light hits us, we sing. And that’s what my camera does, it collects the light. 

What purpose does writing serve for you in your photography?

I think sometimes I’ll be taking pictures and the emotions and feelings I’m having as I’m creating images stirs up in me and I want to put words to that as well. I want to put words to how I’m feeling. Sometimes I’m creating these images and it creates this sadness in me because all I’m seeing are kind of the shadows and the darkness and that’s life. And I think sometimes people don’t see the beauty in that. 


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