Keno George: Showing the world as he sees it with provocative photography
Not anyone can be a professional photographer. It is an arena that is expensive, unpredictable, time consuming, and just as any other art, takes a truly skilled artist with a talented eye.
But in spite of the pressures that come with this field, 26-year-old Keno George (KG) says that he would not dare to be in love with anything other than photography. In an exclusive interview with the News Room (NR) , this gifted photographer expressed that he enjoys nothing more than capturing the life and culture of everything that is around him with thought-provoking pictures.
In his dialogue with the News Room, George shared that he is a former student of St. Joseph High and the Government Technical Institute where he read for a Diploma in Computer Science. Let’s take a closer look into the life of this talented photographer and what really motivates him to follow his dreams.
NR: Why do you take photos?
KG: To show the world as I see it
NR: What type of photography are you into and why?
KG: Street photography …I like to show the things that other people don’t see or should I say don’t pay much attention to.
NR: What inspires your work?
KG: Everyday life inspires my work.
NR: You seem to work with a mixture of natural light and flash. Which is your favourite, and how do you decide which one to use?
KG: Natural is always flattering but flash gives you that pop that you can’t get with natural light and it pulls the subject off of the background.
NR: Is there any photographer, locally or abroad that you admire and if yes, please state why?
KG: Kwesi Abbensets, he is a Guyanese photographer based in America. I was never a creative person and looking at his work brings out the creative side of me. His work enables me to look at a shot differently and it is that different outlook that brings out the creative side of me.
NR: Do you find this to be a profitable venture in Guyana?
KG: Very profitable. Since I decided to invest in new equipment earlier this year I must say 2016 has been my best year financially.
NR: Is being a photographer your career goal or just a hobby you wish to be perfect at?
KG: Well I work in the media as a photographer and so far I love what I do and yes, I do see myself doing this as a career in the long term.
NR: What are you most proud of as a photographer and a father?
KG: As a photographer, I am proud that my work is getting exposure and that I get to do what I love every day. As a father, I’m proud of my creation. My daughter reminds me of myself as a child and her innocence motivates my work.
NR: How are you able to manage the delicate matrix of family and work life?
KG: I must say it is not easy. Between my job at Stabroek News, freelance work and editing, I try to find every spare moment with my daughter and family. Sometimes my mom even comments that she hardly sees me.
NR: Do you have any future projects you are working on?
KG: I am working on a project as we speak. The most I can say about it now is that it’s mix of photography and dance.
NR: What do you like taking photographs of?
KG: I mainly like taking photographs of people in everyday life. Like a painter at work or even a police directing traffic, hence, my love of street photography.
NR: What have you found to be the key elements of a captivating photograph?
KG: For me, the key element is lighting. Before I even take a picture I always try to get the most flattering light on my subject.
NR: What is the key to getting the best out of a model during a photo shoot?
KG: I try to make them feel as comfortable as possible. Most of the time, I’m working with women who never modeled in their life. So you need to have patience with them even if you find yourself jumping in and doing the poses yourself so that they can see what is needed.
NR: How does black and white vs color play into your work? Do you find them to be totally separate beasts—or complementary?
KG: I tend to use black and white mainly for street photography because sometimes, colour can be a bit distracting. I don’t want you looking at his/her nice or bright shirt, but the emotion captured when the photo was taken.
NR: What do you think are some clichés in photography in Guyana?
KG: Definitely the use of the Promenade Gardens for good pictures. For some reason, especially for weddings most brides want to go there as they feel that the best pictures will be captured there.
NR: How has social media played a role in your photography?
KG: Social media is where I show most of my work and always where I get most of my bookings.
NR: Among your works, which is your favorite? Why?
KG: It was my first week on the job when we had rain for like three days and my boss sent me out to take pictures of the flooding. We ended up in grove where a man and his two daughters were standing at their door and looking at water that was inches from going into their home. The images I captured of that really showed the struggles families go through in everyday life. My sister loves that picture and she even encouraged me to send it up for a competition for which I got an honorable mention.