Kim Aldis is another of Joel Meyerowitz’s early students and also a successful photographer, animator and all round visual creative in his own right. He has spent many years in the film and TV industry. We had a chat with him to find out more.
Hi Kim, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your personal background and your style of photography?
I spent 3 years studying photography at The London College of Printing, 1975-1978 after which I freelanced and assisted for a couple of years, mostly in the music business working band shots for PR and a few record sleeves. I also worked on quite a few pop videos for quite well known bands. After that, I got involved in 3D computer animation, which was beginning to take off in TV at the time and ended up with my own company in London doing film & tv CGI and VFX, animation & post production. TV titles, commercials, that kind of thing. I sold that some time around 2000, spent some time freelancing and consulting. I retired early about ten years ago and now I do pretty much as I please.
Sounds like a great career. How did you get into photography? Was there anything in particular that you remember that made you want to be a photographer?
It was all rather clinical, really. When I was around 14, 15 and didn’t have much on an idea where I was going and my mother suggested a vocational assessment. So we trotted off to an office in Harley Street where they asked me a bunch of multiple choice questions and presented us with a bunch if charts, graphs and three career suggestions; architecture, landscape gardening and photography. Photography seemed like an interesting thought so we bought a basic camera and some darkroom gear and that was it.
The other thing my mother did, for which I’ll be forever grateful, was to buy me a subscription to the Life Library of Photography books. Time Life, over the years, have commissioned an extraordinary amount of quality photography and they drew on that work in the early 70s to produce a series of remarkable books about great photographers and great photography. A book arrived every month and I collected 20 or so of them, I think. It was from these books that I learned about photography and the work of photographers like Bresson, Penn, Arbus and the like. I think if anything has had an influence on me it’s that series of books.
That’s a really interesting path into photography, thanks for sharing. Would you mind choosing 2 of your own photographs and tell us a bit about them?
Only two; that’s tough!
This first is a shot of a bunch of kids on the sea front in Paignton, just down from where I live. They were messing about, as kids do, and I started rattling off some shots. Almost immediately they spotted me and gave me some really quite serious grief. I love it when that happens, when you’re taking shots, you get made and often the shot is better than the one you were after. Never stop shooting.
I took this one in Torquay town centre, at the main bus stop by the harbour. Everything was just there; 4 little old ladies with their white hair, the light, the bus with the Pokeman advert. Perfect.
Very entertaining photos! We love that second one. What made you choose to study Joel’s course?
I’m not interested in technical. I have a photography degree and I spent 35 years working with digital imagery, often at a deeply technical level. I think I have technical covered and honestly, it’s not the most important part of making pictures for me. What I’m really interested in is how photographers, particularly great photographers work, what they’re thinking and how and why they approach their subjects. So when a photographer of Joel Meyerowitz’s stature announces a course where he’s going to talk about just that, it’s an opportunity not to be missed. I jumped.
How are you finding the course so far? What have you learned?
I’m only up to lesson 7 so far and there’s a lot more to come but already I’m looking at the world and approaching people differently, being more open and more obvious about what I’m doing, thinking about the photographs I’m taking and leaving less to chance. There’ll be more to come I’m sure.
Great, thanks for chatting to us Kim. We hope you enjoy the rest of the course.