Interview with
Kelia Anne

Photography by Kelia Anne
Interview by Emmy Koski

Featured Doiy Product Cyclops

Los Angeles based photographer Kelia Anne’s signature style is defined by the absurd and the abstract – a signature that has given her a name in the art and fashion field. By combining fashion with fine arts, she believes art itself lies in the patience to encapsulate a contemporary style in a timeless piece.

With reference to nostalgia, Kelia Anne romanticises the memories of an adolescent in her work. She creates an upside down, downside up scenario where she plays with the reflections characteristic of mirrors, water and the eye in an editorial interpretation of Doiy’s The Pool and Cyclops. Just as Doiy explores the iconic in its designs, we can draw parallels with the nostalgic sentimentalism found in Kelia’s work.

The shimmering blue hues are reminiscent of a distant memory, or a dream. The surface of the eye mirrors and refracts the world around it. But what is this eye seeing? Kelia Anne invites us into her strange, saturated world where reflections provide the basis of reality.

Hey Kelia Anne, how was your day?

K.A

Hi, hello! It’s been 98 degrees (which converts to approximately 36.6666 Celsius) every day for the past week in Los Angeles. Everyone, including myself, is overheating. We keep finding ourselves having a strange kind of romance with the air conditioning. Luckily I’m in a cool room right now. Phew!

Good to hear! Let’s start from the beginning. When did you first realise that photography was your call?

K.A

I began making images on a school trip to London in 2008 (ten years ago, holy cow!) I spent more time with my camera than I did with my friends on that trip. That sweet little introduction to my passion followed me through everyone’s favourite era: high school. The images I made started out as painful adolescent self-portraits. I would heavily manipulate the images in Photoshop, then proudly upload them to Flickr. While my friends were talented musicians, athletes, scholars, photography became my ‘something’. I was at home every afternoon making photographs. I was teaching myself how to shoot on film, I was entertaining concepts, I was spending hours watching tutorials on YouTube. I had opened Pandora’s box of passion, and the passion didn’t seem to fade.

“I had opened Pandora’s box of passion, and the passion didn’t seem to fade.”

Photographers are storytellers by nature. How do you tell stories?

K.A

I like to think I’m an artist creating brief moments of time that exist within an intricate and surreal story. My mind works in still photographs, so if I’m telling a story, it must be told in a single frame. I believe the best stories don’t give every detail away, so I often omit certain details and add others.

One of the most recurrent themes in your work is the way you flirt with the absurd, fictional and abstract – playing with the limits of reality. From where did this direction arise? How did you develop your style?

K.A

I developed my style while I was in college studying photography. I was given the opportunity to try everything, and I was given the opportunity to be really bad at it. Through this process, I developed a taste. I began to feel ‘something’ for my images. I began to formulate what interested me in a photograph, and why I needed to make it. I followed the intuitive nature that artists find nestled quietly in our hearts. And ‘quiet’ is an understatement. Sometimes this intuition is absolutely silent, and you’ve got to work through those brief but painful moments. I believe this is when we develop our style.

Also, nostalgia is an underlying feeling in the majority of your works. What does nostalgia mean to you?

K.A

Nostalgia is such a visceral emotion. It’s intoxicating, it’s romantic, and it strikes with no warning. I find this a beautiful feeling to reference when creating. I’m inspired by how humans are able to alter our memories. We’re able to romanticize and omit certain details and focus on others. I approach my images in the same way. How do I want to remember this moment?

“Nostalgia is such a visceral emotion. It’s intoxicating, it’s romantic, and it strikes with no warning. I find this a beautiful feeling to reference when creating.”

Speaking of moments, fashion is fast. How do you as a photographer in the field tackle the speed of fashion?

K.A

Fashion is fast and it is consumed even faster. I want to marry fashion to fine art. The culture that is fashion literally churns out images that are forgotten by the next season. I want to create timeless images. Taking the time to encapsulate contemporary style so it will never lose its relevance is important to me.

“Fashion is fast and it is consumed even faster. I want to marry fashion to fine art.”

From your point of view, what makes a good picture?

K.A

A good picture is entirely subjective, and ‘my’ subjective is very selective. I rarely experience ‘punctum’ – a term coined by Roland Barthes to describe the intense feeling an image gives you when you are immediately struck by it. It literally translates to ‘that accident which pricks, bruises me.’ It’s accidental, it’s unexpected. A good picture will fold my soul up like a small, intricate piece of origami, and let me float peacefully down a river to reflect on it. I can’t come up with a formula, which inspires this, but it’s out there. It happens.

A photograph is sometimes so subtle and fragile that what appears in the picture becomes even more real than the reality caught by the lens of the camera. For you, what’s the magic of shooting?

K.A

The magic comes from the cultivation and curation of details, colors, indescribable emotion, nostalgia… all of these ingredients lend to this magic and hopefully ‘punctum’ for the viewer. The magic for me is the process of an idea, conceived in an immaterial way, coming to life in front of me. The magic is picking up a fresh, unseen, roll of film from the lab and the painfully slow process of scanning it. There’s magic within every element, and that’s the most lovely part of being an artist.

“The magic for me is the process of an idea, conceived in an immaterial way, coming to life in front of me.”

For your collaboration with Doiy you are playing with their mirrors and reflections. What was the idea behind the approach?

K.A

“The eye is the ‘window’ to the soul,” a very cliché and overused poetic metaphor utilized to inspire more eye contact with strangers. I wanted to consider the opposite; the eye is a reflective surface, which refracts the world in front of it. I wanted to curate what this eye is reflecting. A bright sunny day, yet the eye is reflecting a starry night sky. The shapes and colors all contributing to a saturated and strange world, while incorporating details of a literal eye, providing the basis of reality.

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