Kamila K. STANLEY
Photographer

Kamila made the portraits of the talented young people supported by Porosus in 2020. 

 

What is your artistic background?

When I was 19, I went to study in Brazil and Argentina. Before I set off, I bought a used camera in a charity shop because I couldn't afford to buy a digital equivalent. It was a Minolta from the 1960s. In South America, I was amazed by everything, and I learned to use this camera to document all the cities, roads, and day and night encounters that fascinated me. I discovered a world. In technique, I learnt a lot through books, Youtube tutorials, by assisting on sets, and above all by photographing a lot. I spent all my free time making portraits of my sisters, brothers, artist and musician friends. After a while, I armed put together a portfolio and I very naively knocked on the doors of big magazines. That's how I got my first works published (in VICE, The Telegraph, The Huffington Post, etc), while I was still a teenager. I was also a winner of photo competitions, I was invited to participate in exhibitions, all of which had a great influence on my career. After graduating in modern languages, I continued to practice photography alongside other jobs. After two years, I left everything to devote myself to the medium. I moved to Paris (where I currently live), largely thanks to brands and magazines that spotted me and supported me. In 2017, I published Fantasmas, my first photo book, dedicated to the feverish and disenchanted city of Rio de Janeiro in the aftermath of the Olympics. The following year, on the occasion of International Women's Day, I made a series of portraits of young female artists in Paris. This year, I spent several months in Brazil to make a series on Brazilian LGBTQ+ youth, at a time when homophobia is gaining alarming momentum in the country. 

 

How do you see your profession today?

Photography is a medium that is being transmuted, reinvented and revolutionized every day. For my generation, the internet has revolutionized our access to the visual arts and the way images circulate. The amount of information available facilitates learning and has allowed me to be completely self-taught. On the other hand, there is now fierce competition, which often devalues our work and exacerbates social boundaries in the profession. For example, it's difficult to get started when you come from a working-class environment like mine, as many clients initially choose to pay their photographers poorly, late or not at all, partly because of market saturation. The most rewarding thing is that you never stop learning. My photo projects and commissions have brought me to know people and places a thousand miles away from my small circle of comfort. These moments are like slaps in the face. It's a beautiful job that rewards effort. 

 

How do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years?

Today I work a lot in fashion and commercial photography, but in the coming years I would like to concentrate more on my personal series and be able to present them at festivals and competitions. I have so many ideas for themes that I would like to study and photograph, but these are difficult projects to finance. I hope, in five years’ time, to have been able to complete some of them and to have undertaken more trips, to continue to sharpen my eye and my understanding of the world. I dream of one day having a real studio, equipped with all the materials I need, so that I don't have to rent it constantly: lighting, stands, colored backdrops, etc. I would like to be able to take pictures in a real studio. I would like to have the name of my studio in colored neon lights and receive all sorts of exciting projects. I recently discovered video and bought a camera on eBay. I made two video clips and loved it. Video seems like an interesting continuation of the photo, and I can't wait to see where it takes me. Finally, I would like, in the long term, to pass on some of what I learned, through courses, workshops or events. Photography is still difficult to access for women, the middle classes and the underprivileged. I would like to be able to give those groups learning tools... and maybe even welcome them to my studio team!

 

This interview was conducted in 2020

Photo credit: Kamila K. Stanley