Kin Coedel’s pictures are creamy and blurry, as he isn’t portraying a present moment but a memory. Beauty is rendered in his most natural and soft embodiment, tracing a delicate representation of femininity, intimacy and nature. A sense of tender sensuality is suggested by the photographer’s aesthetic, which allows him to create a sort of parallel world where dreamlike atmospheres bump into reality. Kin Coedel doesn’t like to talk about himself, he prefers his work to do it for him. However, we’ve managed to discover a bit more about what’s hidden behind his mysterious creative personality.
Despite living in the digital era, you have managed to keep a veil of mystery around yourself on the web and it is not easy at all to find information about you and your background. How would you present yourself to our readers?
Yes, it is indeed quite a conscious choice of mine to not have a strong presence on social media or the Internet. I would like the audience to look at the images for what they are; it leaves them more freedom to appreciate without knowing too much about me as a photographer.
What was your first approach to photography? Are you a self-taught creative or have you received photographic education?
While I was in art school doing print-media, I got my first camera at a flea market. It was more of a toy at first, snapping random things, people and moments, lots of unsuccessful film rolls, as you can imagine. It was lots of trials and snapping during cold Canadian winter, then going into the darkroom for longer hours, also with help from YouTube tutorials, of course.
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What are for you the essential elements to create a great picture?
Lots of communication with my subject matter; treat people and models like my friends; slow down and observe. Nature, sun, and booze.
Lots of communication with my subject matter; treat people and models like my friends; slow down and observe. Nature, sun, and booze.
A close friend of mine was going to Central Saint Martens for fashion design. I was helping him and photographing his works when I first started. Soon I found myself photographing for other designers; beautiful friends who were starting in modelling, and it all started to make sense.
Pastel tones, creamy lights and dreamy atmosphere delineate your style. How would you describe your aesthetic and what do you want to communicate or represent through it?
I tend to think when we ‘remember’ things, or think of moments in life, memories are a bit obscure, a bit unclear, we remember certain feelings, but perhaps not the tangible details of the moments. I try to represent that in my photographs. I don't intent to capture a moment to record the accurate details, but that very faded feeling that might linger.
“I don't intent to capture a moment to record the accurate details, but that very faded feeling that might linger.”
In most of your pictures, there is a sense of natural beauty effect, they look almost unretouched. How do you approach and represent the themes of beauty and nature in your practice? And what does beauty mean to you?
I think I am always drawn to freshness, innocence, and mundane moments; to me it should be unassuming and rather modest. But then again, when it comes to beauty in fashion images, it is also very carefully crafted to achieve that look, with casting directors, makeup and hair, so I really can't take much credit for it.
Do you usually work with film or digital cameras? What advantages and disadvantages present each type?
At the moment I am working with film camera only. I like the fact that it forces me to do better research before a shoot, there can't be much trying and beating around the bushes, I have to show up and know exactly what I want and how to achieve it.
You work mainly on editorials and advertising campaigns. How do you combine your personal photographic attitude with briefs or assignments that you receive from companies?
I think I’m very blessed because I’ve never been told on assignments that I shall be ‘more commercial’ or that the pictures need to be ‘less blurry’. I believe I photograph commercials as if they were editorials, and vice versa. To me a lot of it has to do with the editing and the selection process after: good editors and curators often give new interpretations to stories, and select the right images for the audiences they are appealing to. And I have been lucky to work with many.
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You are based between London and Los Angeles, what does being divided between these two cities bring to your creativity?
I get rain and sunshine; moorlands and beaches; lakes and deserts, I am constantly intrigued by the changing of landscapes, the different climates. They very much create the universe for my images with all sorts of textures and colours.
You have made a portrait of Ai Weiwei. How was your meeting with the famous and controversial Chinese artist?
Mr. Ai Weiwei was still under house-arrest by the government. I had to take a long trip to Beijing for the story, and we also did not have much time with him, as the police was waiting for him to take him to the police station. The experience was all a bit of a blur.
Though I remember talking about his works, how he had managed to put together major exhibitions without being able to travel, with his immense faith in his team and museum curators. It was really great to talk to the artist who creates some of the biggest and most powerful installations, humbly trust his works in other hands, thinking of collective good, but not personal ego.
What is your dream editorial and whom would you like to portray in the future?
I enjoy photographing travel editorial stories, not fashion necessarily, but trips or expeditions for niche subjects that are still very mundane and everyday-like for the locals. It would be lovely to photograph/meet Alain de Botton, one of my favourite writers and philosophers; I imagine it must be a great pleasure to converse with such an intelligent man.
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