WELD Artist of the Week: Kelsey Foster

Career: Photographer
Mantra: One day at a time.
Interview by: Kristin Read

Tell me how you feel about being mistaken for KelseyFoster.COM.

Ha! OH GOSH. That is so annoying. That website just went live this year, and it has been 7-8 years since it was actually used for something. Every year it has been up for renewal, I’ve tried to get it, but they wouldn’t respond. A photographer once told me it’s always best just to have my name as my domain so I’m easy to find, so I settled on the “.net” version. But, that girl is pretty hilarious.

Tell me one thing about you that makes you tick—What keeps you going?

Every freelance artist gets down, and it’s really easy to freak out and ask yourself what you’re doing and why you don’t have a 9-5. But I think it is important to surround yourself by those in your field. Every couple of months I’ll meet up with a group of photographers to talk, share goals, where we’re headed, and encourage each other. It’s hard because when you get down the last thing you want to do it keep shooting, but if what you’re doing isn’t exciting you, experiment with something new. Trying new things can spark you to keep going. Also, know that regardless the field you work in, there will always be things about your job that you just don’t want to do. I recently shot a birthday party for a one year old, which no one will ever see. I try not to get caught up in social media and how artists are portraying themselves as something bigger than who they really are—everyone is doing something they don’t want to do. No one has the perfect job.

How old were you when you first picked up a camera?

I took pictures when I was little, but I was inclined to make art, as my dad was a painter. In high school I took a black and white dual credit class, and I thought “WHOA, PEOPLE HAVE A CAREER DOING THIS?!” I always knew I wanted to do art somehow in my life, and I think it would be amazing to be a gallery artist, but I don’t think I have the patience for it. And, I wanted to do something that had a teency bit more job security. Also, I love light. So when I get to shoot a picture and capture light in its raw form, instead of taking the time to draw it, it’s exciting. I feel like the class I took in high school ended up pushing me into photography, and made me realize what I wanted to do. It sort of just fell into place … I was one of those weird art students that knew exactly what they wanted to do, and I just did it.

If you and your camera could go alone on a date, where would one find the two of you?

If it was our ten-year anniversary trip, I think we’d go to Iceland. It would be amazing to shoot the people there with the landscape, cafes, the food, and the beautiful window light I’d find. As far as around town … probably a taco stand.

How would one go about locating your rare talent?

A lot of my work comes from networking and building relationships. You can send promotional materials, and I have/do about every six months to a year, but it’s really about who you know. I think I am at an advantage since I did go to an art school—they have a really good design program—and as my designer friends have moved up in their positions in ad agencies, they’ve been in a position where they were able to hire me. If two awesome photographers are up for a job, an art director will choose the one that they know. I have a few bread and butter clients that came from a middleman of one of those relationships, and I work with him all the time. Promotional’s are good, and they will push you to create work that you want to share and show people—it will always be a huge benefit for you to do that. But, relationships are key.

In the middle of a high-stress shoot, what is the one thing that keeps your centered?

I mean I dislike weddings a lot … I retired from them last year. They are way too stressful. And, I used to get really anxious before shoots like that. But I’ve come to realize that as soon as I’m there—regardless who/where/what the shoot is for—when I pick up the camera, it all just goes away. I know as soon as I start shooting, it will all be okay.

Do you have any fabulous vendors you attribute the quality of your work to?

I would totally, a hundred percent recommend, Pinhole Press. All of their products are amazing. And I print all my promotional materials through them. The quality is so good; I’ve had clients bug me just to ask me where I’ve got stuff printed. They also have high quality photo books for your portfolio. You can print a smaller portfolio to carry around in your purse and not lug around a huge book. For printing I use BWC in Dallas, they have great print quality—never had a complaint. For marketing, I’ve made logo stamps with ACME Stamp Company in Deep Ellum. My work is very natural and organic, so I like the “stamp” feel added to my products.

What do you enjoy most about working with other artists?

It’s like what I said with my really close photo friends … We’ve gone on trips together, which can feel like overkill, but even though we’re in the same place—shooting essentially the same stuff—it looks so different because we each have a different style. It’s cool to see everyone’s different perspective/view of whatever it is that you’re looking at.

Keep up with Kelsey via Twitter.

Doug Klembara