Kasey Medlin is a photographer living and working in Atlanta, Georgia. The images that accompany our interview with Kasey are a selection from the series Blush, a photographic quest to reconcile the past with the present, idealised but so very familiar, almost tangible but just beyond our grasp.
Hey Kasey – thank you for agreeing to the interview! Please tell us a bit about yourself and how you first became interested in photography.
Hi there! I first became interested in photography around 2007 in a middle school photojournalism class shooting on a Canon Rebel! I enjoyed digital photography and manipulating images in Photoshop, but I really fell in love with photography when I shot my first roll of film at 14 years old.
Who or what are your main sources of inspiration?
Photobooks are my main source of inspiration. Martin Parr’s ‘Real Food’ is incredible. I recently bought a copy of Joel Sternfeld’s ‘American Prospects’ and fell in love. His image of Glen Canyon Dam is a personal favorite. Also Cig Harvey’s ‘You Look At Me Like An Emergency’ was a huge inspiration while I was in school. I am also inspired by cinematography, my boyfriend is a filmmaker and a walking cinema studies textbook. He showed me Rear Window the summer before our senior year at university and it was one of the main sources of visual inspiration for my series, Blush.
Nostalgia and a yearning for moments lost are the consistent themes in your work; where does this motif come from? Do you see your work as a kind of self-portrait?
That is a great question, I am not totally sure. I think it comes from a subconscious place, because I photograph things I am drawn to but it always seems to tie into nostalgia. I was thinking recently that maybe my concept of time is out-of-whack. I have trouble living in the moment and seem to only appreciate, or understand, things in hindsight. And then with that understanding, I fetishize the memories. Photography is an outlet for that. And I totally see my work as a self-portrait! I think all artists’ work is self reflexive in some way, but mine is literally. It’s my diary.
In your bio, you say that you are “troubled by the fleeting existence of a photograph in modern day” and it is definitely true that, with such image-heavy social media platforms, our consumption of images has now been reduced to an endless scroll – some stats suggesting that we spend only a fraction of a second on each image – and so how does a photographer today make their work visible? How have you made your work visible?
That is a tough question and I am not sure there is one concrete answer. The most romantic option would be to make your work physical. I don’t think one can truly call themselves a photographer unless they print their photographs. It is one thing to see your images on a screen but it is another thing entirely to see them printed. Have shows, sell your art, keep hustling. In the end, visibility is the same issue artists have had far before social media and the internet. In many ways the internet can make our work more visible than we could have hoped before it’s invention. The internet can be a tool, but we have to be wary of it becoming a crutch. I strive for a balance between online exposure and physical exposure. I think it is still important to have your work seen in person.
The tech question – I know you shoot on film but is this to the exclusion of digital capture or are you happy shooting with both? What is your go-to camera (+film) at the moment?
I do shoot digitally, and probably more frequently than I do on film. The process of shooting film slows me down, and so I reserve those images for pre-planned ideas, important occasions, or golden hour excursions. For those reasons they are usually the images I am most proud of. But I love shooting on my phone, I have a Google Pixel 2 and it has helped me rediscover the joy of always having a good camera on hand. My go-to camera and film are my Mamiya 645 and Portra 400!
What is next for you? Do you have any big projects on the horizon that you can give us a glimpse in to?
I have had a year of big changes and have been struggling creatively. Of course, I am still making images but when asked what I am working on I usually say, “Nothing”. I took a step back and looked at these images I’ve made when I didn’t have any set ideas or themes and it’s been really refreshing! I think artists, especially me, can get stuck in a thematic rut, limiting their creativity for the sake of continuity. I have started to design a book/zine of the images I made this past year and I am hoping to publish it in some form or fashion. That may just be me hand binding or maybe something more… Stay tuned!
Who was the last photographer whose work made you stop you in your tracks and say ‘Wow!’?
I recently discovered the photographer, Pat Martin. His work is absolutely stunning! His images have this gorgeous orangey tone that he uses so masterfully. The work I like the most is about memories, surprise surprise! Definitely check him out!
See more of Kasey’s work at:
All images copyright Kasey Medlin.