Today we’d like to introduce you to Keith AKA “KBev”.
Keith AKA “KBev”, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I started out as a street photographer that enjoyed capturing every day moments that other people overlooked. Back in 2008, I was on a business trip in San Francisco and spent hours every night meeting people at the Powell St. station. I got lots of them to pose for photos, including many in front of some great murals. It foreshadowed things to come.
At the same time, my passion for hip-hop culture started leading me to take photos of all 4 elements (MCs, BBoys/BGirls, Graffiti, and DJs) whenever I got the chance. After shooting graffiti on 5 continents and countless cities, I was looking for new ways to capture the art and combine it with my passion for street photography. Then, I had an idea… What if I could “paint” people into the art with my camera?
In 2016, I did my first “#GrafNModels” photo shoot at Wynwood Walls in Miami. Since then, I’ve been shooting my favorite model, Chicago-based Tasha, and other people whenever I am in a city with great graffiti, including my hometown of Chicago.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I combine great graffiti with models for my “#GrafNModels” project. It’s not about just posing people in front of a colorful wall. Instead, I use different techniques to highlight the talent of the artists while simultaneously making the models look great in the photos. I try to build on the amazing gift the artists give to their cities, without overshadowing it.
It’s a different type of portrait photography because it’s outdoors, it can be gritty, and I only use natural light. Too many people walk by the murals and don’t even notice they’re there! To me, graffiti is an amazing art form where the artists express themselves, their imagination, and their creativity. My goal is to respect the art while giving people some unique photos that are unlike any portraits they’ve done before at the local portrait studio. Believe it or not, many of the shoots I do are spontaneous and I stop people as they walk along the street! It’s a fun way to make new friends.
Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
The biggest challenge artists face is getting fairly compensated for their work. People often just think you can email them a copy of a photo since it’s all digital and email is free. They forget that that “free” photo came from expensive cameras, lenses, computers, and other gear. I easily shoot over 100,000 photos every year and the amount of time I, like many artists, spend perfecting the craft (and editing those photos) is also expensive.
I certainly expect and greatly appreciate “credit” when I share images for free, but people should remember that likes and credit on their social media accounts don’t exactly pay any bills.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
People can view my galleries at http://www.GrafNModels.com. That’s where they can see my spontaneous “stranger portraits” and some #GrafNModels shoots with some amazing “models” (which, in fact, are usually everyday people that got in touch with their inner-model when the camera came out).
I am also booking Chicago shoots at http://tinyurl.com/KBevABNB. Of course, they can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am Chicago-based, but travel around the world every year.
They can also check out the rest of my photo exploits at http://www.kbevphoto.com. Several people have large-format images from my site in their homes.
- Website: www.grafnmodels.com
- Phone: 312-574-0510
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @graffiti_kbevphoto
- Other: Www.Kbevphoto.com