- July 28, 2017
- 16 min to read
An Interview with Ken Kaminesky - Incredibly Talented Photographer and Blogger
Based in Montreal and Los Angeles, Ken Kaminesky is a veteran commercial travel photographer, writer, consultant, and entrepreneur with over twenty years of experience in the photography industry. Follow Ken on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
One thing huh? That’s a tough question but a good one.
I wish I knew how to market my work and how to be a better business person. It is not an easy task to sell anything but to sell your art, your soul, yourself… that is really not something that most artist are very good at. In order to have any kind of chance at being successful in photography (just like so many other art based businesses) you need to be able to understand the way your clients think. You also need to treat your passion like a business or else you’ll be taking nice photos as your hobby. Not that there is anything wrong with having photography as a hobby! Some of the best photography in the world today is being done by amateur photographers and something tells me that many of them are having more fun with it than a lot of pros I know.
Why do you take photos?
There is a sense of peace that i get when I’m out taking photos… most of the time. I started my career in photography doing fashion and people and that was fun for many reasons. I loved the dynamics of working in a creative group of talented people who were all striving to create beautiful images.
Today, the work I do is mostly pure travel and landscape and the creative process is much more personal and that is equally as fun as the group dynamic of fashion photography. Every kind of photography has its own awesomeness to it. There are so many niches in this field and I never get tired of looking at beautiful images. It’s even more fun when those images are yours and they have wonderful memories attached to them.
What do you want to say with your photographs, and how do you actually get your photographs to do that?
I want my images to inspire other people to step out of their comfort zone and find the magic that exists out in this big beautiful world. That became more important to me as my blog got more popular and my social media following grew.
Today, that is a big part of what I do with my photography tours. I’m the co-founder of Discovery Photo Tours; a company that creates amazing tours for photographers all over the world. We currently have tours in Japan, Jordan, Iceland, Tanzania, Norway, and more. Some of the best moments of my life have been shared experiences with our guests while they have the time of their life taking photos or enjoying incredible life experiences that we offer on these tours. It isn’t just about photography. We make sure that we incorporate cultural experiences, amazing meals at top rated restaurants, expert local guides, and historic site visits.
So, for me the best result a photo can have is that it will convince someone to join me on one of my upcoming photography tours to share the best time of their lives.
Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
That’s impossible to say. I have had photos on the cover of National Geographic and other magazines and that makes those images special to me. I have had photos that i took that were deeply personal but very few people have ever seen them. Heck, I have iPhone photos of people I met on the road and even snapshots of my cats that are some of my all time favourites. The answer to this question could be different if asked at a hundred different times.
The best answer I can give is that the next photo that I’m going to take is my favourite one.
What was the most curious story behind your photograph?
The strangest story is that of my first night in Paris on my first trip to Europe after I decided that to move on from being a lifestyle photographer to a travel photographer.
With no experience on how the whole travel photography thing worked, I spent my first day wandering around Paris on foot. I must have walked over 30 kilometres that day and in the evening I finally ended up at Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral. It was December and close to Christmas time so the church was busy. I attempted to photograph the interior but it was far too filled with people and as soon as I pulled out my tripod, security descended upon me. Not the most auspicious end to the day but even though I was disappointed, I figured that I could get a shot from the outside.
The outside was also quite crowded with locals and tourists and there was a new delivered Christmas tree still in a crate sitting directly in front of the church’s facade. I was starting to get in a foul mood and figured that I’d just pack it up and head back to the hotel for the night. As I headed away from Notre Dame over the Pont au Double I turned around for one final look and decided to take a quick shot of the beautiful gothic cathedral.
I never thought of that shot until two years later when I got an email from an editor from National Geographic. Shortly after that, the image that I almost never took was gracing the cover of the most iconic magazine in the world.
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Three new things (names, places), you learned in the past year about photography?
I learned that I really like travelling in China. Very cool country, interesting people, awesome food, and oh my... what amazing photo opportunities! I’m looking forward to being back there soon.
I’ve learned some hard lessons about trusting people more than I should ever have.That being said, terrible people and horrible experiences can teach you some serious life lessons. In fact, some of the most important things I’ve ever learned have been due to personal failure or the actions of dishonourable people. With both good and bad life experiences, it’s always best to move on and look forward. Like Robert Frost once said: In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.
I keep re-learning to fall in love with photography all over again. Every time I stand in front of a special place with camera in hand, I feel privileged. I get to capture incredible locations and that makes the memories of the trips and destinations all the more palpable when I reminisce later on when editing the images or even when I look at the final images years later. What’s NOT to love about that?