Keegan Gibbs – Blog

some questions.

Posted in Films, Photography by Keegan on February 28, 2009

From time to time I get someone emailing me with questions that range from “what camera do you use” to “what are your suggestions for an up and coming photographer/director?” etc…

Even though I don’t see myself fit for answering some of those questions such as “what should I do”, and although I do see this as somewhat egocentric and self-serving, I copy pasted my answers to a recent interview I did with questions from a Brooks Institute photographer in hopes it will explain a bit more about me and some other things.


1) Did you attend college/What college did you attend?
I went to college at Chapman University in Orange County, CA, studied Film production, in which I graduated in 2007 with a BFA. Took a couple of photography classes but failed them. Just didnt have too much motivation to fit what I wanted to shoot into the criteria of the teachers syllabus and agenda.

2) How long have you been doing photography?

I specifically remember taking my very first photo when I was around 6 or 7? It was at Vasquez Rocks outside of Los Angeles. I may have taken photos before that, but I remember that as being the very first time I was conscious of the frame and moving around until I achieved the frame I wanted before snapping off the frame. I then remember handing the camera to my Mom satisfied and couldn’t wait to get the photos back from being developed/printed. I need to find that photo sometime.

3) Did you think you were going to become a photographer while you were a kid?

I still definitely think I am a kid. Did I think I was going to be a professional photographer when I made that photo at Vasquez Rocks? Definitely not. I mean I didn’t even think about making money as a photographer until I graduated College.

4) Digital Vs. Film, whats your take?

Digital and Film I think will always have their own advantages. And in the big scheme of things, they are just both a different style of tool to achieve the same thing. To either tell a story or evoke a certain emotion, sell a product etc…
But that said, I am the biggest fan of Film. I took B and W photography classes in High school and really liked having those tangible prints. Maybe it is Nostalgia that influences my belief and it will slowly fall by the way side as more and more people come into photography directly into digital, but Film, when it comes to motion or stills, always has this untouchable sense of reality and captures a certain sense of being there that digital has yet to achieve for me, or at least without much post work in photoshop, adding grain and curves etc…
Further, the limit of only having 24 or 36 images to a roll of film really forces you to focus on the content of every image to make. Opposed to having 400+ images on one Compact Flash card before you have to stop clicking.  Too many people just take TOO many photos with digital, simply cause there is no repercussion NOT to, which makes for a lower percentage of good images coming back to you in the end.

A print direct from a slide or negative from film will always look better to me than a print directly from a digital camera.

5) What influences you?

Ahh, that’s a really broad question. I used to think there were just certain photographers, or certain films etc… that were my “influence.”  But now I realize I draw influence from so many different art forms and even aspects in life that it is hard to put a nail on any one or few specific things. Money used to a LOT! Which is also why I probably hate a lot of my body of work. Documenting my life, and all the people and elements that make up my life, is a huge influence. However, if I had to nail down one specific thing though for influence for my involvement in the art world, it would be surf films. Specifically one called Thicker Than Water.

6) Who are some of your favorite photographers?

Favorite photographers: Terry Richardson (even though I used to despise him) / Annie Leibovitz (Because I just read her book “at work” which was amazing. Go get it.) / Estevan Oriol (He is a good friend, an awesome guy, and has really dope mostly natural light photos) / Ryan McGinley / Richard Kern amoung a ton of others. Those are just the usual suspects.

7) How did you start your career in photography?

It wasn’t really a conscious thing. I was just out of college, and I had a couple of photographs documenting where I had been that summer, and people started to hit me up randomly through friends that had shown them my photos from forwarded emails, and started to make some cash. After about 3 months or so, I was all of a sudden booked almost every other day. Literally. I felt myself falling behind on processing because I didn’t have enough time since I had to shoot another job the next day or two.  I really have to give a lot of credit from my photography to the cinematography classes I enrolled in while at school. That is what taught me to be conscious of the frame and story telling.

8) Anyway I can get a hold on any of your film prints?

We will see. I get people asking all the time for prints, and I would love for everyone to have stuff of mine, but I need the time to be able to process and drive to the lab, which is more time than I want to spend. I do not even have many of my own prints. Im trying to get better at that. But if people want to buy something of mine, I set a price that makes sense for me to spend that time so it is worthwhile.

9) What kind of camera do you use?

I shoot with a couple different camera’s, but my 2 main cameras are a Canon 5D Mark 2 or 5D mark 1, with all Canon glass. Or if I am shooting film, an old canon rebel film body. I shoot with odd little cameras all the time like instamatics, polaroids, holga’s etc…

10) Have any advice for a future photographer in the making?

Thats a hard question cause it really depends on what that person wants to get into. But broadly, just do not worry too much about the actual technical aspect of shooting. Concentrate on what is in your image, the content, the message you are trying to evoke, the moment you are trying to document etc… Just cause a teacher or another photographer tells you there is one way to do something, doesn’t mean there isn’t another way that might be equally as good or better, and often, that other way will be more unique and you can call yours.

Thanks so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions,
I appreciate it so much.


Thanks Rodney for choosing me to interview!

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