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Kane Skennar – Photographer

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Kane Skennar is an Australian born photographer, raised on the northern beaches of Sydney.

His strong conceptual style spans high fashion and portraiture to lifestyle, swimwear and surf labels.

Kane’s strong affinity with surf, music and travel allows him to shoot this subject matter with a sense of both authority and ease, and it is easy to see his love for these specific genres come through in his work.

I have worked with Kane on a few swimwear shoots over the years. He is definitely a master at capturing and setting up a moment that, as the end viewer of the shot, has that critical balance of being sexy, yet commercial, with a slight edge or unique point of view. I have always loved Kane’s style of work. It has a certain rawness and honesty to it – much like Kane himself.

His work has seen him travel all over the world on assignment for various magazines such as Harpers Bazaar, Marie Claire, Instyle, Madison, Grazia, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, GQ, Rolling Stone, Belle, Men’s Health, Karen, Follow, Oyster, Black, Surfing America, Surfing World, Stab, Waves and Tracks.

Kane has also shot for major advertising campaigns such as Toyota, Motorola, Mavi Jeans, Tallow Gallery, Work Out Life, Saxony, Alias Mae, Bonds, Mikoh, Wrangler, Von Zipper, Bassike, Jeans West, Ksubi, Ksubi Eyewear, Kitsune, Jag, Davenport, Table Eight, Supre, Running Bare, Tree of Life, One Teaspoon, Yeojin Bae, 2 Chillies, Heaven, Aqua Blu, Roxy, Arnette, Reef, Quiksilver, Billabong, Insight and General Pants. Phew!

Kane currently works between both the States and Australia and is also working on a few film projects that will be exciting to see come to fruition in the not too distant future. With Kane re-locating to LA in the new year, I look forward to seeing his new body of work with the fresh inspiration and opportunity from his new surrounds.

To view Kane’s work visit – http://kaneskennar.com

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Q&A:

1) Give me a bit of a background on how you got to where you are today in the fashion photography game i.e. Did you study photography or learn on the job as an assistant? What do you think you may have been if you weren’t a photographer?

I started my journey in photography as an assistant when I was 18 and straight out of school with fashion photographer Adam Watson. He was great at body, lifestyle and swimwear and this is where I got my first experience in what it was to create images in different locations.

I stopped for a while, and then started again at 21 – assisting the late Richard Bailey who I assisted for the next 5 years where I learned and experienced what got me to where I am today.

I was also playing in a heavy rock band while I was assisting and recorded an EP and made rock videos that were on Rage, but I realized that it was a hard slog to make it in music in Australia.

2) How would you personally describe your photographic aesthetic? / do you feel this look has changed over the years as you’ve grown as a creative person?

I’d say my style is very relaxed, portrait based and always observing my subjects in a very personal way.
I like to capture images that move me and that show the deep sense of someone or a certain style. I’m sure my style has refined itself over the years but I still come from the same place visually.

3) Do you have an all time favorite photo that you’ve taken and what’s the story behind it? Do you have an all time favorite photo shot by another photographer?

Ah that’s a hard one… I have a lot of great shots that I favor still, but recently I like the shot in B/W of the subject at the bottom of the waterfall. I shot that for an exhibit for an Australian based label called Saxony. Anyway it was an exhibit image for them and I was given free reign to shoot whatever I wanted. I happened to be in Bali at the time that I wanted to shoot this, so I got a great model friend of mine (Fa Empel) who is very adventurous… We trekked 2 hrs down into the jungles high up in the north of Ubud, Bali to get this shot and it was a pretty powerful moment… I really loved the image. Especially printed at 2mx3m!

4) If you could work on any creative collaboration or job in any country in the world – what would this dream project or shoot look like?

I’d say a shoot where I got to go to some remote island or jungle to shoot either something very cinematic or grand for a fashion label or of some celebrity. I just love traveling to exotic places to create great images of people in them… It’s the processes of getting there, the person you are working with and the overall look and feel of the work that’s new, creative and breathtaking.

5) Who have been your biggest (creative or other) influences in getting you to where you are today?
i.e. Other photographers / designers / artists / editors etc.

I’d say it’s the photographers whose books I have collected and inspired me, and the people I worked for, or with for sure. (Peter Beard, Helmut Newton, Mert & Marcus, Annie Lebowitz as inspirers. Richard Bailey as my mentor and guide. Mark Vassallo as a stylist who encouraged and gave me opportunities…)

6) As a creative person – who and what inspires you? / what are you creatively passionate about? / what do you love most about your work?

I’m inspired a lot by life, travel, meeting people, looking at art, movies and books. I love to create images that feel timeless and inspiring as well! I love to just see the process in which I go on to create the images, where I travel to, who I meet, who I work with and how it is printed or published.

7) What are some of the biggest challenges that you face today as a photographer and how have you had to adapt your business as a consequence, if at all?

I’d say that the digital age has allowed so many more people into the industry and also the financial downfall of the industry and world climate has seen the cheapening of the art form and the lack of quality all round.

People are shooting things they shouldn’t be, and clients are pushing us to shoot more and more at the cost of quality. To me it seems like a disposable industry now that is more geared in Australia towards an online catalogue more then anything. The art form is really dying here for me… So seeing that – I am looking at other markets and places to work as it doesn’t seem like a very supportive industry anymore.

I’m interested to see all the young photographers who are out there at the moment make it long enough to create more then just a cool website for themselves. i.e. buying a house, car, equipment and a life! haha.

8) What do you enjoy doing in your time off?

I love to travel, surf, do yoga and eat very clean food and meet different people. I’m interested in information and life more then ever so it’s interesting to see as I get older.

9) You’ve worked with many well known models, personalities/celebrities and clients over the years – who have been some of the more interesting that you’ve shot and worked with?

Hmm – Definitely an interesting one that. I’d say Lady Gaga was really interesting as she’s so humble and quiet, but so positive and great at her art for what she has to work with.

Joel Madden was awesome. I thought he would be hard, but he was a legend. Jermaine Clement as well – one of the funniest guys in the world but also the most intelligent and musically talented. As far as supermodels go, I love working with Catherine McNeil. She is like a cat. So cool and just a great mover…

10) What’s next for you? Any other interesting projects on the horizon/collaborations or future goals you are yet to achieve?

I’m moving to LA soon, as there’s so much more going on there and more interesting projects that I can be involved with. So I’m looking forward to that. I’m actually in LA right now and it’s very inspiring to see how much is going on here. I’ll be back in Aus for Xmas which I will enjoy, and then maybe Bali as I have some work to shoot up there as well. So I’m always moving around…

I’m shooting a documentary at the moment on a famous world champion surfer so I’m moving also into that field which is fun and I’m going to be working on some other projects that involve the movie world so that’s exciting.

I’m still enjoying shooting fashion, but I’m diversifying, as I get older!

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