Urban Exploration, Conceptual Photography, and Instameets

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Sitting in Bobcat advisory, Calder Hollond and Claire Walsh take about ten minutes to chat about their love of photography. Being close personally, the two easily take turns speaking and waste no time in explaining their thoughts and feelings about their hobby. To begin the interview nice and easy, I ask: “What do you photograph?”   

This query is one that takes the longest to answer. Similar in how an artist is at a loss to describe their work in a single sentence, Claire and Calder attempt to summarize their work. Calder begins slow, still taking time to reflect upon her photographs. She mentions she likes to take still pictures of nature, but seems without any words to continue. Claire leaps to Calder’s aid, “I don’t have anything specific I photograph, I photograph Calder a lot.” The two share a small smile.

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Now with the muse of artistic inspiration at her heels, Claire throws about words like “urban exploration” and “surrealist photography”. She too feels she can’t describe her works to fruition. This by no means limits Calder and Claire’s experiences in photography. Both began to hone in on their craft at a relatively young age. Both have seen a development in their skills from where they began.

“I got my first camera when I was like, nine” Calder says, “ I would do like forest stuff, and I would just wander around taking pictures of everything.” Claire was not far behind at 12 years for her first camera, “It wasn’t like manual or anything, I kinda just took pictures without thinking.” From there, both girls developed their skills in different ways.

Both girls didn’t feel their dedication to photography grow until they created personal Instagram accounts. For Claire, she took photoimaging as well, this taught her the ins and out of how to work a camera in manual.  Either way, Claire and Calder both continue to work at getting better with every photograph they take. Calder sums up this artistic expression, “Part of it is getting better, I like documenting it. Like, part of it just seeing a picture and knowing it’s good.”

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Some may learn by experience, but others may need a social boost in their love of the arts. For Claire and Calder these are the Instagram meetups. “When we go to Instameets or when we’re with people , it’s more about the exploring and the adventure.” Adventurous locations are common in Instagram meetups, the West Bottoms, the Nelson-Atkins, or the WWI memorial are areas that are all fair game in the hands of creatives like these two. This is a positive for Calder as she likes to photograph scenery in a natural state. With the incentive to go out and explore Kansas City, Calder has been able to get new subject matter to photograph. She explained her progression, “Before one or two years ago, I didn’t know about the rule of thirds, horizon lines or anything like that, and I’ve learned a lot more.”

Claire has been able to gain model experience by attending these Insta-meets, Claire went on to explain how she was unsure about portrait photography. By surrounding herself with other artists pursuing photography she has learned to love taking posed pictures of other people. Doing this let Claire hone in on her love of candid and posed photography. Claire added, “It lets you get out of your comfort zone and lets you explore stuff.”

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The type of photographers who attend these Instagram meets range from professionals to amateurs who let their children tag along. Even Calder’s mother, Anne Hollond attends the Instameets with Claire and Calder. Meeting these Instagram-famous photographers has been a great experience for, Claire said, “A lot of them have degrees in commercial photography, but then you look at their Instagram and you’re like they have a couple cool pictures, but I could do so much better.” Claire then goes on to explain how she also learns to humble herself around other photographers who are more experienced.

From their experiences as amateur photographers, Calder and Claire have developed the medium they work in beyond just pointing and shooting a camera. The Instagram meets they attend call in talent from all over Kansas City, and from this inspiration the two are able to expand upon their skills.

You can see more photos from Calder at @calder22 and Claire at @declaireation.