We had the good fortune of connecting with Keith Calkins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Keith, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Being creative is my whole life and has been for as long as I can remember. I have learning disabilities and really struggled through all of my school years. I didn’t fit into the “one size fits all” style of learning. It wasn’t until I started acting and writing music where I found my own joy in life. From there I really leaned into the fact that I was different and that was a gift. Once I started to take photography seriously, a whole new expressive outlet became available to me. I chose to pursue a creative career long ago but the medium shifted. I had teachers and mentors tell me that if I could see myself doing any other kind of work then I should. I don’t see myself living a happy and fulfilled life doing anything else. I’m grateful every day that I’m living my dream and making a living from my art.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a man of few words. I love the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps photography is my conversation with the world. I love many different types of photography. I started with street photos. It was a way for me to make sense of the world around me. Being in nature is also so important to me and my well being. This is where my love of landscapes came from. I also realized that sharing powerful images of nature could be one way that I help remind people that it is imperative for us to care for our magical planet. This business certainly isn’t easy. I think my own self doubt was my biggest challenge. Overcoming this is something I still work on to this day, but with each obstacle I’ve overcome my faith in myself and the process itself has increased. Life is short and I don’t want to look back on my life and wonder what could have happened if I didn’t let fear run the show. I try to be fearless when shooting photos and to share my own unique perspective. This is what makes my photographs different from any others.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Start the day with breakfast at 101 cafe on franklin. Then take a quick drive up to Griffith park to take some pictures and play some guitars. Then go for a walk down on Melrose, get some lunch and go see an improv comedy show at the Groundlings. Then head up to sunset and walk around and grab some dinner at my favorite restaurant Katana LA. Finish the day watching the sun set in Venice. Perfect day in LA! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people I would like to shoutout. My family, without their unwavering love and support I would not be the man I am today. Each person teaching me invaluable lessons of life, business and gratitude. Also my lovely girlfriend for sicking with me when times were tough and giving me inspiration. Finally, an old friend and mentor Keegan Allen. His love for photography was really the spark that lit my passion for all things photography.
All photographs taken by me