Inspired by light first and foremost, the images of Kim Hayes are dramatic and beautiful. Strong compositions with graceful lines evoke a sense of peace and expansive space.
Landscape and travel photography are her first loves, but it is her day job as a wedding photographer that has given her the resources to follow her passion. “Bills have to be paid!” as she says. She has been photographing weddings for many years, and even though it isn’t her first choice, is grateful that it has still allowed her to make money with her camera.
Photographing the landscape is an escape from the everyday grind. “When working for yourself, sometimes you just need to get out of the house, so most of my work has been created while on a break from editing weddings. Also, I get to travel to really beautiful places for weddings, so I do some landscape photography on the road.”
Kim has been hooked on photography ever since high school. When she left school, she shot in film and spent time in the darkroom for around 10 years before enrolling in the Art Institute of Seattle and (hesitantly) learning the digital side of photography.
Although occasionally using Photoshop to enhance and layer her images, most of the time what you see is what you get. For Kim, a good photograph starts with light. “There has to be good light! The rest comes after that. I also often use a tilt shift lens which gives some of my photographs that dreamy look. I love it, but try not to overdo it.”
One of her personal favourite images is The Storm. “It was taken right down the street from my house at Picnic Point in Lynnwood, WA. It was snowing so hard that day, the clouds were dramatic, and it was just before sunset. My husband and I thought it would be cool to go down to the water to see if it was snowing on the beach.
There is something about being on the water during a storm that makes me feel alive, with the wind whipping wildly around my face.
The image itself has had very little adjustment to it- just a little contrast adjustment and that was about it, so what you see is what we saw that day. It was totally surreal and beautiful.”
“I admire and am inspired by so many other artists, sometimes those artists change daily. I love that we live in a world where we have unlimited access to beautiful things on the internet. I do a lot of browsing on the web when I need a distraction from work, so I get a lot of inspiration from random clicks on my computer.” However, she says her biggest influence is music. “I love the way a song can make you feel and change your mood in a second. I’m always listening while working, so the music often dictates how the final image comes out.”
“My favourite artists include Laurent Chehere (check out the flying house series), Keith Carter, Pakayla Biehn … this list could go on forever. Musically inspired by: Jonsi, The Lonely Forest, Radical Face, Bon Iver… this list could go on forever too.”
Despite her passion for photography, she admits it wasn’t an easy thing to put her work out there for public scrutiny.
“Early on I had a hard time getting my business started and had trouble motivating myself to put the work out there. I did a lot of stalling and questioned if I was even good enough to make this a life long business. An old roommate of mine said something that has always stuck with me: “Why don’t you just start now? Just do something, because right now you aren’t doing anything” It seems so simple but I remind myself of that almost every single day- you have to start somewhere. Use what you have, do what you can, create things you love…and hopefully the rest will follow. ”
She describes herself as “a bit of a hermit and a crazy dog lady.” She has also recently been exploring the world of silver smithing and jewellery design. “It’s fun to dive into something totally new, it keeps things fresh.”