It's all about the light. The corners that it sinks into. The cracks that it seeps out of. The way it pulls you one direction and then makes you lean into another. It's about finding it, loosing it and then finding it again. Beth Kirby taught me about light. Long before I met her. Long before she knew I existed. And well before I really understood the magnitude that light was.
Yesterday I was listening to a Design Sponge podcast while editing through the truck loads of current photos that sit on my desk. Top. Ha. My ears pricked as I heard Local Milk's name enter the conversation. "She is the queen of moody lighting". So apt. As a photographer, Beth knows light. Well. But it is the way that she clutches it, entwines it and allows it to speak through her photographs that makes her work work. Through light, her stories tell themselves. Yes there is moodiness. Yes there is darkness. If you have ever read her story, you would know of how her darkness and the darkness relates. This lady tells killer stories. Through food. Through recipes. Through words. And of course through light. And all via her stupid amazing talent and genius vehicle of photography. It all fuses together, and it all makes her work of it's type, some of the most inspiring that there is.
Truth? Beth Kirby made me want to become a food photographer. I had urges and interests before, and knew that I wanted to photograph something. But Beth locked the food part in. It was the light. If this lady can take her stories and turn them into such beautiful, meaningful and light (or dark) filled work, I thought, then who wouldn't be inspired by this? Very few people make food, style food and capture it the way that she does. Very few people are as cool as she is and have the best kitchen in the world, too. So, it couldn't be more fitting to feature Beth as the final Creative Human for this USA series. To honor the beginnings and the endings filled with people and the work that inspire us most. To those who encourage us to do what we do. To keep us creating. And to keep us searching for and finding the light.
What projects are you currently working on?
I'm currently planning multiple creative workshops retreats all over the world from Italy to Japan to Australia to Portugal, and I'm putting the finishing touches on my book proposal. And the blog is an ever ongoing project that never stops evolving. Plus a few fine art photography projects with some fellow photographers...aaaaand I could go on!
Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?
I try, as much as I can, to draw it from a well inside me. But that well is fed by the creative community around me as well as the art, literature, and philosophy that inspires me. Most of all its fed by experience; every new city, new taste, new shaft of light falling just so--those experiences find their way into my work. It might sound ostentatious to say that the complex web of being and tracing the strands to find curious intersections is what inspires me, but it's the true. Life, man. Life.
Why a photographer, writer, stylist + cook?
Because that's what I like & that's what I'm good at. I didn't really have a choice in the matter. I think I was not to do these things in some form for the rest of my life. I wear all those different hats but they aren't so different to me because I always focus on the places where the various disciplines intersect. It's all one thing. And I'm ADHD as all get out. So four careers rolled into one works well for me. It also appeals to my inner control freak. I wouldn't always want to be a one man band, but it's nice to create every aspect of your vision.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so, would you be so kind to share some of your favourite artists?
I listen to inane music while I work save when I write. When I write I listen to the good stuff, the stuff with substance. I like Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, various & sundry old garage rock bands, and the Twin Peaks soundtrack as of late. But when I'm cooking, cleaning, and shooting it's pretty much a horrifying carousel of Taytay Swifties, Flo Rida, and Iggy Azalea. I'm a complex woman. Haha.
Do you have a morning ritual?
Yeah. It's terrible. Check my email on my cell phone for about half an hour in bed. Maybe put on pants. Maybe. Start working. Remember to make coffee around lunch time. Forget I'm making coffee half way through making coffee. Work some more. Okay, I'm kind of kidding. But that was my routine up until recently. Well, it had, against my will, become my routine. I've renewed my commitment to making my morning mine. I wake up and read something substantial and not work related, meditate for 5-15 minutes, get dressed/clean, make coffee, and then I launch into the above routine. But with pants and coffee!
What's your idea of a perfect Friday night?
Cooking dinner & having someone else do the dishes. Reading about magic. Practicing magic. Watching one of my favorite shows. Going to bed.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I'm afflicted with wanderlust to an extreme degree. Japan is high on my list, and I'm planning to go there in March. Egypt & Turkey are also dreams of mine.
Best piece of advice you've ever given or been given?
When trying to make a decision whether it's to keep a dress or take a job, if the answer isn't a clear "Hell yes!" then it should be a "no". I live by this now.
What's for dinner?
Generally speaking we have some sort of protein (fish or bison usually) & sautéed or steamed greens with garlic and ginger. My dinners at home aren't as interesting or adventurous as you'd think! I'm usually tired from a day of cooking & not wanting to make a big mess all over again!
The best part about being a creative?
Doing what I love for a living.
The worst part?
Doing what I love for a living. And thus turning it into work.
Day or night? NIGHT.
Old or new? Old.
City or Country? Country.
Coffee or Tea? DON'T MAKE ME CHOOSE.
What do you enjoy most about living in Chattanooga, TN?
The fact that my family lives near by. My mom & dad and brother, sister-in-law, and my little baby niece are all a 5 minute drive away. And I like that because I don't have much of a social life here (the majority of my friends live elsewhere) no social pressure falls on me, and I can just concentrate on work. That and I love the little Main St. Farmer's market on Wednesdays. It's just the best.
Thoughts for the future:
Don't think about the future. One day at a time.