Recently we were able to sneak inside the innovative mind of Kyle Kerr (@kylekerr). Although young, Kyle speaks of his work with great fluidity and clarity. Whether he’s taking pictures, creating elaborate composite pieces, or constructing some of the most intricate double exposures, he’s telling beautiful stories with all of his images. The way in which his mind invents surreal scenes and paints portraits with such brilliant sculpting led us to chat with Kyle in the first place. Have a look at our conversation below!
My name is Kyle Kerr and I am a real human being made in Boise, Idaho. I am currently a junior attending high school and I plan on pursuing a career in photography. Photography and photomanipulation have enabled me to capture my imagination through abstract images. I have been interested in photography for as long as I can remember. When I was much younger I would play with old film cameras that both my parents and grandparents owned. At the time, I wasn’t too interested in the technicalities of the camera or creating insightful compositions; I was just trying to make cool pictures. A couple of years ago I started to become very interested in photography and the digital arts. I took my first actual photography course as a sophomore in high school and was introduced to Photoshop. I honed my Photoshop skills over the summer by creating a new image every day. I posted the occasional edit on Instagram, and by doing this I started to create a small following.
Outside of Instagram, I love the outdoors. Much of my inspiration comes from the beautiful landscape of Idaho. My family owns a cabin in a nearby town named McCall. There I explore the wilderness, taking photos with my Nikon d5300. Along with loving the outdoors, I am also an avid tennis player and try to play whenever I can.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY AND PHOTO MANIPULATION THAT CAPTURED YOUR ATTENTION?
I believe the best part about photography and photo manipulation is when you share your work with other people. The amazing feedback I receive from both people on Instagram and people in real life is one of the most rewarding things I could ask for as an artist. When I start to brainstorm to figure out what I want to create, I often try to think of something that will make people go “wow” or have them in awe. Don’t get me wrong, I love the technicalities of the camera and the creativity of Photoshop, but to answer the original question, it's the amazing Instagram and real world community who support me that keeps me making images as often as I can.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?
My style mostly consists of composites (when two or more images are stacked and blended together). Unlike any other style in photography, composites allow me to create scenes that would be impossible to create in real life. I also love to create double exposures because they tell a story through a single image. These double exposures seem even more impactful when the technique is matched with a portrait, and for me having an impactful image is key to quality photography.
Along with composites I also like to experiment with steel wool and sparklers. Combining spinning steel wool, sparklers, and long exposure photography, will almost always produce cool pictures.
WHAT ARE THE TRAITS THAT MAKE AN IMAGE STAND OUT IN YOUR MIND?
The more impact an image has the more memorable it is. To achieve good impact an image must have creativity, good colors, interesting lighting, etc. Also, an image must have a punctum. There are two parts to a picture: the studium and the punctum. The studium is the overall idea of the photo. This would be how the picture is lit, how the colors look, etc. The punctum is the part of the image that takes it to the next level. It's the part of the picture that adds depth and curiosity. For me, the punctum is absolutely necessary to creating a memorable picture.
Some punctums in my personal edits are people falling from space, whales flying in the sky, and trees climbing out of someone's head. Looking back at how crazy these ideas are makes me love photography and photo manipulation even more.
WHAT APPS OR SOFTWARE DO YOU USE MOST FREQUENTLY TO ACCOMPLISH THE FEEL OF YOUR WORK?
I usually go through the same process when creating my photos. I first either take my base picture, or use a royalty free pic and set it into Photoshop. From here I use several layers of photos until I get my desired effect.
Once i'm done with Photoshop, I export my photo into Lightroom. From here I tweak the exposure of the photograph and make sure all of the colors look good. I then take my picture and upload it to Google Drive where I then download it to my phone.
At this point I usually use Mextures. Mextures is often the final touch to my photographs. It adds an extra element of depth and color that I believe greatly adds to my photos. I also often use formulas from other photographers and artists to add to my work as well.
HOW DO YOU USE MEXTURES IN YOUR EDITING PROCESS?
I use Mextures to correct the colors of my original edits and to help make them more impactful. I don't use a certain color palette when creating my edits because I try to match the colors of the picture to the mood of the picture. For example, if I have an edit that has a dark atmosphere, I would make the colors muted or even black and white. Whether it be a moody, dark atmosphere, or a happy, light-hearted scene, Mextures helps me strengthen the mood of my photography creations.
WOULD YOU MIND SHARING A FEW OF YOUR FAVORITE FORMULAS?
Vintage Fade - STIZDLQ - This formula adds cloudiness and fade to photos, creating a "vintage" effect.
Forest - BYLLDYK - Used to increase contrast in environments with lots of trees. Adds a warm feel to the selected photo.
High Def - PJEFQYA - Increases contrast and lowers temperatures in photos. Good for clean portraits.
Underwater - WCKKIKT - Adds a blue tint to the photo as well as some distortion to give the photo an underwater feel.
Warm and Cold - SBRYRRP - Creates both a warm and cold feeling to the photo.
IF YOU WERE GIVING ADVICE ON HOW TO ACCOMPLISH MEXTURES WORK SIMILAR TO YOURS, WHAT DO YOU FEEL WOULD BE IMPORTANT TO PASS ON?
To accomplish mextures work similar to mine I would stress to not overdo textures and settings. Don't add dozens of textures to your photos and don't boost certain settings to their max. I often find that the best Mextures work is very simple and clean. I would also stress to get all the settings correct in camera before you put your pictures into post processing.
Use Mextures to develop a style! The best photographers have very unique, distinguishable styles that make them different from anybody else. Mextures is a great tool that can help create a unique style, and overall it can improve your photography!
WHAT PURPOSE DOES CREATING SERVE IN YOUR LIFE?
Creating photos and composites has always been a stress reliever for me. To be able to create something that impresses people and leaves them in wonder is one of the best things that photography has brought me. Creating art is a way for me to be different. One of the main reasons I started to create was that I didn't like how I lived a normal life. I needed a way to escape the endless process of waking up, going to school, coming home, going to sleep, then repeating. Thus, I bought Photoshop and started my journey. So to answer the question more clearly, creating for me is a way to escape normality and relieve stress.
CAN YOU SHARE A HANDFUL OF INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS THAT YOU REALLY ENJOY?
By far my favorite photography on Instagram right now is Bryan Adam Castillo (@bryanadamc). His art is beyond amazing and I started photography partly due to him. The first time I saw his work it blew me away, I had seen nothing like it. The silhouettes, the bokeh, the sparklers, it was all amazing.
Another creator that has inspired me is someone who goes by the name Lumi (@lumible). I first found his page in the explore category on instagram. His space composites and beautiful renders instantly inspired me and I found that his creations were influencing my work. Lumi has also given me some great photography tips through direct messages and I have the utmost respect for him.
Before I really got in to creating edits and photography one of my favorite photographers was Chris Burkard (@chrisburkard). This guy has one of the largest photography accounts I have ever seen and he deserves every single one of his followers. His lifestyle is somewhat of my end goal in photography. To travel the globe and create.
One of my favorite photographers right now is Brighton Galvan (@brightong). His style is absolutely amazing. He is the reason why I started to shoot silhouettes and (attempt) astrophotography. Brighton also has helped me with editing my pictures in Lightroom which I greatly appreciate.
The final photographer I’ll mention that has inspired me is Kellan Hendry (@kellansworld). His style is incredibly unique and inspires me to find my own.
Be inspired by more of Kyle’s phenomenal work right here!