KC Wilkerson Profile

Over ten years ago, I picked up a second-hand camera in a pawnshop outside Orlando. I was lucky enough to be heading out to Europe for six months and needed a camera quickly. Upon landing in Paris, I started taking pictures and a few days later got my first rolls back from the developer. While I was thrilled with the camera itself, I was a bit disappointed that I had chosen to shoot color film. A quick trip back to the store filled my camera bag with Ilford black and white film; and since that day my preference has been to shoot in a monochromatic context.

Having a strong background in art and design, which I believe significantly informs my work, helps me to focus on three aspects of photography to which I am drawn repeatedly -  composition, light, and contrast. Any one of the three can inspire; finding all three together can be an exciting moment. Spending time relating to the subject of the photograph in order to compose the piece is the most intimate part of the process for me. Light, in particular, plays a great part in my work: often stronger from the side and back of the subject, rather than the front. And of course, light and shadow together often provide extreme contrast, which defines many of my pieces.

My curiosity about the “big questions” of life and death has manifested itself into a lifelong fascination with how we grieve those who have left us and how we honor our ancestors. This took root early in my youth, when I would spend many hours playing with my cousin Tracy in a cemetery across the street from my grandmother’s house. I realize cemeteries can be places of overwhelming sadness for some people, but that was not the case with me. My time in the cemetery led me to discover the feelings of solitude and peace. I suppose that’s why I’m still drawn to them.

Since that first trip to Europe, I have the opportunity to return there as well as numerous cities in the United States. Whenever I travel, I seek out not only cemeteries and churches, but other interesting architecture and structures which contain our collective histories.

I now shoot in film and digital, using all Canon gear, with the exception of my old Fuji (still my favorite and the one that produced most of the photographs in the galleries). The vast majority of the prints receive little manipulation, mostly minor corrections to brightness and contrast.

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