Kayma is a fashion and editorial photographer from West London and is one part of El Photography alongside her business partner Eesha. Despite El Photography’s increasingly hectic schedule we were delighted at Urbanity Chic when Kayma completed a full in-depth feature interview. Read on to find out about who inspires Kayma, who she would like to work with given a chance and what motivated her to pursue a career in photography.
Q: Who are you called?
My name is Kamara also known as Kayma but myself and my business partner Eesha came up with the name ‘EL Photography’ for our business. We decided on this name because we have been friends for nearly 10 years now and we have Eternal Love for each other so we used the initials EL for our name!
Q: How did you get into professional photography?
To be honest, growing up I never thought about being a photographer or even recall being interested in it, I was more focused on film studies. When I went to college to study Media Production I did a term on photography and became so fascinated with it, I just knew it was what I wanted to do forever. I then decided to study it in university, completed a year and then decided to take a gap year to gain experience and get work. I bought myself a professional camera and started offering to do free shoots, built a portfolio and got really good feedback. It boosted up my confidence and now here I am!
Q: What do you enjoy most photographing?
I love just looking through the lens and not only seeing the model or object but actually seeing a whole new creative angle and idea. It’s not just about capturing the moment, I see more then meets the eye. The feeling of knowing that this picture is going to be so much more than you expect. I love capturing a story and background as well as the feature of the photograph. Knowing that people are going to be able to read my photographs as well as look at them just makes me love what I do.
Q: How was 2010 for you?
2010 was a big eye opening year for me. It was the year I decided to go to university and study photography. I really got my life together and decided that this was what I was going to do. And I was determined to win.
Q: Who inspires you?
I get inspiration from anyone that made something out of nothing. I love seeing or reading things about people who decided to make something better of themselves, that decided that what they had was only the beginning. I get goosebumps every time I see the Google Chrome advert for Jamal Edwards’ SBTV. Like I went to the same college as that guy man I remember seeing him around and he was just another student, And in this short time he’s got a Google Chrome advert? I mean seriously. the guy is an inspiration not just for me but for all young people right now that think that what you’ve been given and what you have is it. People like him are the truth and voice of young people. We can take a talent no matter how much people say we cannot or how many people hate, we can rise up and show people, you know what? We are the future and I’m gonna make it big.
Q: Which modern day fashion designers or fashion icons do you look up to?
To be honest I don’t have any particular fashion designers/icons that I look up to. I like anyone who makes a statement about their personality etc. through their persona or fashion. I love Beyonce’s sense of style, she is so bold and she makes anything look good. She can be classy, urban or straight up glamorous and she rocks all 3 perfectly. Lady Gaga & Nicki Minaj also stand out. A lot of controversy about their appearance but I think that people will talk no matter what they do and personally I think they take fashion to a next level and I love it. Expressing yourself is so important and they choose to do it through clothes.
Q: What makes a good photographer in your opinion?
I think a good photographer is someone that can see something great before they even take a picture. A real visionary. Someone who can create an idea and produce it flawlessly. A good photographer knows exactly what they want even down to models, location and the way the photo is edited. Passion is a big part of it too. A photographer has to be passionate about their work and everything it entails.
Q: Do you prefer using film cameras or digital?
Personally I prefer digital cameras I think it gives you more options and choices with your photos. Also being able to see them is a plus! I do think that film cameras give you amazing photos and I wouldn’t ever NOT use one. I think some of the best work has come from film cameras. But for me I love my digital SLR’s =]
Q: Do you prefer to shoot on location or in the studio?
I prefer to shoot on location, I think it gives such a different look to your photos. In studio is quite dull and plain unless you decide to really edit it. On location shoots for me come out better because you have a more interesting background and its more visual pleasure. No matter what kind of theme you have for your shoot you can always find a location that will complement your feature nicely!
Q: Do you have an interesting stories about a particular photo shoot you’d like to share?
Haha! On one shoot I did with one of my best friends Daliya, we were shooting down at Southbank in London and just as Daliya was positioning herself we were approached by Arinze Kene who played Connor in Eastenders. Funnily enough I didn’t recognize him so I was pretty anti-social thinking who is this guy trying to talk to? Haha but he was really nice and was just socializing and we left Southbank with new friends haha! It was pretty fun hanging out 🙂
Q: Do you have a specific style of photography that makes you unique?
I haven’t discovered my style yet but I would say my photography is unique. My portfolio is quite versatile when it comes to looks and themes. I really want to experience all types of photography and find that one style that describes me and my work.
Q: Do you have a favourite photograph?
Indeed I do! My favorite photograph is one of Daliya which I took in the skatepark in Southbank. I love it because the colours are so vibrant and her attitude and facial expressions really match the ‘urban’ graffiti theme thats going on in the background. Her swagger is really on point and the whole photo just looks amazing. She’s a great model and pulls of a lot of different styles really well!
Q: Who is your favourite photographer?
David LaChapelle. His work is just amazing. So vibrant so controversial! His photography is just so perfect in my eyes. I love the work he’s done with celebrities. My favorite so far is the one of Eminem holding the dynamite haha! Great shot! =P
Q: Is there anybody you would like to work with (either behind or in front of the camera)?
I would love to photograph Beyonce. She is just AMAZING in front of the camera. So beautiful and she just owns everything about the image. I would also like to work with Rita Ora, I think she looks great in front of the camera and her style is really unique, I think I could create some really good ideas with her. Q: What does fashion mean to you?
Q: How would you define your personal style?
My personal style represents me. I’m mixed raced and that shows through everything I do even down to my dress sense and style haha. I am so versatile when it comes down to it. Sometimes I go for the urban look sometimes I go for the geek look and sometimes I just look casual. I’m all over the place. I’m mixed!
Q: Where are you based?
I’m based in West London baby! I spent a lot of my time in South London so I will always refer to there as my second home, but I currently live in West London and that is where you will find me! =]
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
Where I live currently is pretty basic. Some people from out of the area would call it ‘posh’ but I only think some parts of it LOOK posh. It hardly is haha! But before I moved here I lived next to an estate and it was pretty rough. I hate using that term though because there is always somewhere else that’s worse then where you are! But yeah it was quiet at times but the estate was pretty grimey. A lot of violence and stuff went on and I witnessed it first hand most of the time. At one stage our house was the target. Some idiots threw stones/bricks at our windows and doors and my brother also got attacked in an alley way near our home. Moved on from that now though its all about a new start and moving up in life!
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
The highlight of my career so far was getting to do a photo shoot with a professional model and fashion stylist in Notting Hill Gate! It was a real experience to actually be out in the field with people who knew the industry. The photo shoot came out really well and I was so excited that I had worked with such a fab team! The stylist I worked with now works with Vogue!
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?
By the end of 2011 I hope to have gained a lot more experience and worked with a number of people with different styles and visions and hopefully will have my business up and running and be getting lots of promotion and work!
Q: What do you do to relax?
When I want to relax I listen to music or I bake! Lol yes I bake! I love to bake cookies or cakes and get people to taste them and see what they think haha! I love being in the kitchen and just baking lots of goodies. For me it makes me so calm and just happy. I enjoy knowing that people like eating my food and its become such a passion of mine!
Q: What songs are on your iPod at the moment?
Well. I listen to a lot of music! At the moment I’m playing a lot of Chris Brown, Drake, Frank Ocean, Big Sean, Kanye West, Beyonce and Dappy haha.
Q: Do you have interesting hobbies?
Lol one of my hobbies are learning the lyrics to really fast rap songs haha! I don’t know why, its really weird but I can listen to a song maybe twice and I know all of the words! So its pretty fun just knowing all these lyrics and reciting them to myself thinking ‘oh dude your so cool’ haha. Another hobby is Baking as I said before and also making people laugh. I cant function for a day without making someone laugh. It’s compulsory!!
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for aspiring photographers what would it be?
Never give up! If you know that photography is what you want to do then get out there and do it. Once you have a camera don’t just sit down and wait for people to come to you. Everyone loves pictures of some sort. So get out there and offer free shoots to people and once you have good clientele, start charging and boost up your contact list as well as confidence and soon enough you’ll be where you want to be. Just don’t quit!
Q: What motivates you to do what you do?
Being the only one in my family that’s followed their dream. I look at some members of my family who chose the realistic and easy option instead of their dream. And although they might be making a living, I can see they are not happy. My brother is an amazing singer, but he works a 9-5 job every day and I know deep down all he wants to do is sing. But sometimes the opportunities don’t come along for everyone. I want to be successful in doing what I love doing and I don’t care how long it takes me or how broke I have to be to get there. I will make the sacrifices so I can make a better life for me and my family. Seeing them struggle and seeing them unhappy in certain fields makes me want to be the best I can so they can be proud and say Yeah Kamara did it.
Editor’s Note: Kayma’s skill behind the camera helps to give us an insight into her muse’s personality, which gives her shots an incredible dynamic.
If you’d like to contact or learn more about Kayma just follow the links below:
twitter link: http://twitter.com/#!/Vanilla_Mara
facebook link: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=629405277
Any other links: http://www.modelmayhem.com/KaymaELPhotography1830
Eesha my business partner’s twitter : http://twitter.com/#!/Eeshapriti
Daliya one of my best friends and an amazing model. Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/Squilly_Dali