Loving the Reveal: An Interview with photographer Kelly Hadden, Part Two

Kelly Hadden, Self Portrait

Today I talk to photographer Kelly Hadden about her cityscapes, and the relationship between her love of literature and her photography.

AL: Your cityscapes of New York are really distinctive. What do you look for when you’re shooting in the city?

KH:  They are? Thank you. That's a huge compliment. Especially since I'm really trying to do more street photography and know how much more I have to learn. But I do what I tend to do in every aspect of any artwork I'm working on, which is to just go with my gut. I don't know if what I see is anything special to anyone else, but if I am excited by something, not so different than in shooting people, if what I see through my lens makes me feel something that excites me (whether it's beauty, fear, or my favorite, when I can catch it, juxtaposition), I take it without thinking. 

I've always said that New York City separates itself from all other cities in the U.S. because it truly has a personality. I think if you take the same photo on different days, the feeling of the photo will be different. And every day when I wake up and walk out the door, it takes me about sixty seconds to figure out what side of the bed the city got out of today. So I don't see cityscapes as static, but alive. I never really thought about it before, but perhaps that informs my photos. 

Of course, the obvious answer would be--for each and every one of us--that our own mood and perspective on the city and our place, in it, probably captures a different energy depending on the moment we click the shot. But I still say that New York is its own living, breathing character, just like most New York directors will attest to in the films they shoot here. It's funny, you ask what I "look" for. I think I "look" more when I'm shooting music, and I "feel" more when I'm shooting cityscapes, as counter-intuitive as that may seem.

AL: From your Facebook page, I’ve gathered that you’ve got an active interest in poetry and literature. Does this interest feed your photography? If so, how?

KH: Absolutely. For me, all art forms inform all my senses, but in different ways. Music has always been extremely visual to me. Both, in terms of putting myself in a moment in the past, or daydreaming an entire story or screenplay from listening to a soundtrack. I basically wrote a screenplay from start to finish while driving from Sonoma to LA, listening to music but, specifically, The Boxer album by the National. Music inspires me like that. 

On the other side of the coin, when I write, there is always a rhythm and feeling to it, much like a song, which is why a lot of my poetry is really neither a poem or a song, but some mixture of the two. I've been told that many of my poems could be lyrics. I think if you're an artist, especially today, every kind of art inspires and informs another in each of us. Interesting that you ask this, because I have been working on a project for a while that marries all three: words, music, and photographs - about the musicians who have not just "done" it, but have lived it, and will live that life until the day they die. I get that. Louis Armstrong said "Musicians don't retire; they stop when there's no more music in them." I think this is true for all true artists, whether they are in front of the camera or behind it.

To see more of Kelly's wonderful photography, visit her website.  And here is the rest of our interview.


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