I recently came across rustic Norfolk images of Kieran McMullan and decided to feature him with his inputs on his work. I visited his other profiles, as I usually do in order to view a larger body of work, and I landed on his Facebook profile. There, I found about his other passion, skateboarding – that he’s following with the same zeal, and, both photography and skateboarding seem to go along well for him. Studying photography at the Norwich University of the Arts, Kieran is engaged in documenting the rural Norfolk landscape and life of his family members. Tom, his younger brother is the protagonist in most of his dramatic portraits. A critical background into his work finds mention in my interview with him as under:
Skateboarding – because skateboarding came first, and skateboarding inspired my move into photography.
Now tell us about yourself and your relationship with photography:
Photography is something that’s always been there in my life. From a young age, skateboarding inspired me and my friends to go out and shoot photos and make videos – all fun, nothing serious. Since studying photography at university, it’s become a career choice, and I’m hoping to one day become an industry professional, taking my skills to magazines and photo agencies. I’m currently studying at Norwich University of the Arts – currently experimenting with cameras, styles and ideas.
I studied on a documentary photography course in Cornwall, then moved over to Norwich on a broader photography course. So I would say my style still very much ties in with the documentary aesthetic and thought process, although, I’m now becoming acquainted with more commercial briefs and styles – which I think is important in making a living in the photographic industry.
The New Topographical photographers have fundamentally animated my work. The ‘matter of factness’ style and the notion of elevating the mundane through the photographic medium fascinates me. Many contemporary photographers such as Alec Soth believe in the idea that taking a walk can be a work of art – I’ve recently been dissecting this notion in my own work. So, in terms of my evolution as a photographer in the now, I’m still very much experimenting with new ideas and mediums – that’s what university is for. I hope to pursue photo essays in my professional career and shoot projects that I’m passionate about; both personally and commercially.
I’ve just finished the first term of university, so when we begin again soon, I’m sure we’ll have a number of new, exciting briefs. A recent project I’ve just finished and had published is ‘Rural Ties’. It’s a series chronicling my youngest brother Tom, and how he has coped with rural life after moving from the city. I’ve documented all his eccentricities, emotions and undertakings – it’s a commentary on brotherhood, companionship and the spirit of rural living.
My favourite image (see below) is the portrait of my youngest brother Tom, in Tunstead, Norfolk. It was a particularly autumnal day, early 2015. Me and my brother had been scoping out potential camping spots, cycling through various fields and meadows in search of the perfect spot. We stumbled across a turquoise barn in which Tom placed two pieces of card over his eyes and began erratically throwing out dance moves. It was one of those completely random moments – one where the photo just comes naturally. A snapshot in time almost, a great moment that you won’t ever forget.
I’m at this early stage in my photographic career I’m proud to say I’ve been published by a few contemporary photography platforms now, both in print and online platforms. I’m also interning for 7sky Magazine – hopefully in 2016. It’s a lifestyle, skateboarding and snowboarding magazine.
After graduation, I would like to move to London to purse my photographic career. Alternatively, depending on how my internship goes in Switzerland for 7sky Magazine, I’d love to get involved in editorial work for skateboarding/ snowboarding magazines.
My favourite photographers at the moment are Joel Sternfeld – his Oxbow Archive is inspiring my own practise in rural Norfolk. Other photographers that greatly inspire me are Alec Soth; Annemarieke Van Drimmelen and her commercial and fashion portraits, and all the photographers I follow on Instagram, some established professionals, some students and some just everyday photographers going out and photographing the world.
Some words of advice I was given a few years ago and haven’t forgotten – go out and photograph what you sincerely care about, not all the best photo stories are out in the most remote and culturally diverse places, sometimes the most compelling photo stories are right under your nose, closer to home than you may think.