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In Focus – A Closer Look At Kellie North

Art Lovers | 23 May 2019

By Sunnefa Hamar Penning

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Original and inquisitive are two words that come to mind when describing Kellie North, the Queensland based fine art photographer and visual artist.

Kellie North

From humble beginnings shooting on her film camera she has always been fascinated with the process of capturing and developing beautiful imagery. Kellie’s zest for life and interest in storytelling encouraged her to travel the world taking photos around Europe, Asia, Latin America and Australia.

“Photography is a wonderful medium in which you can tell a story be it documentary, travel or fine art”.

In the early days the self-taught photographer worked shooting family portraits, food and weddings. Committed to continuously improving her craft meant that she was always experimenting and pushing her limits as a photographer. “I continued to study photography in the form of a Diploma, attended as many workshops as I could manage, as well as working late into the night with online tutorials. I was obsessed, I couldn’t get enough”. It wasn’t until Kellie dove deep into digital that she really found her niche. The digital side of photography took a hold on her and the infinite possibilities that post-production editing offered lit a fire in Kellie’s heart.

“When I started to see the results I could produce with even the most basic of tools, this is when I realised, my photography started to take a new direction. I felt I was blurring the lines between photography and art”.

Inspiration comes in many forms for the artist, ”it could be going for a hike in the bush, the light on a glorious afternoon when the sun has just hidden behind the mountains, a rock hop along the beach, a shell, a butterfly, a rock with a hole big enough for me to fit into”. Nature is a force that feeds her with ideas and encouragement, spending a lot of time with her family at the beach, in the bush, hiking and camping makes her want to create and express her creative self.

North is a self-portrait artist that completely lives into her art and through it feels liberated.“I feel by taking on the title ‘Artist’ I have given myself the permission to create images in the way I want to create them”. Never leaving home without her Wandrd camera pack, that is always ready to go at any moment. Her personal style is a reflection of her experiences as a fine artist and contemporary dancer. “Instead of words, I use movement, form, position and props to portray the story I wish to tell in my images”. Not only does she steer the artistic direction of each shot, but she also offers up a piece of her spirit as she dances in front of the lens, creating a narrative and telling a story.

Kellie describes her creative process as a “building process”, she doesn’t just take pictures, she builds them. The method is truly unique mixing digital imagery shot in breathtaking locations with a rigorous post production process, layer upon layer Kellie “builds” her creations in an unconventional fashion.

“The more of a challenge I set myself, the more complex the concept the more I like it”.

Kellie was walking on the beach along the coastline of NSW when she stumbled across a hole in the rock face. “Usually I have a concept in mind, I think about the image I want to create then head out to find a costume and location that will suit”. The location reminded her of a Dragons Lair and she felt compelled to create. In this image titled ‘Fire Heart’ Kellie used fabric to represent the fire within bursting out of her heart and spilling into flames onto the ground.“I wanted to make an image about the fire inside of all of us, the emotion burning from within when we truly believe in something, when we seek out or create something we are passionate about“.

Here you can see Kellie’s mastery of the post-production process with incredible details added and enhancement of the original shot.

The original photo for Fire Heart is on the left, and the finished image on the right

When Kellie stumbles across the perfect location she preps the shoot by removing distracting elements out of frame, set’s up her tripod and ensures the camera is positioned perfectly. Thereafter, she gets into the zone by dressing up in a piece of fabric or costume she has carefully prepared, positions herself in front of the camera with her remote control and begins. ”Press, Wait, Jump, Check, Repeat”. Her image titled ‘Let Go’ was taken along the coastline of Yuraygir National Park and signifies letting go of expectations and letting what is to be, just be.“I made this image after an event in my life which I needed to detach from in order to move forward. The lantern signifies the light of the future guiding me into my next chapter”.

The original photo for Let Go is on the left, and the finished image on the right

“I really hope my art is able to bring people joy, solace and a feeling that they are not alone on their journey”. – Kellie North

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