Photographer Dave Kai Piper interview-“Do you want the truth or something beautiful?”

“Perhaps the pursuit of perfection, is the pursuit of sweetness and light

~Matthew Arnold~

Coming across Dave Kai Piper’s work was an interesting moment for me as i’ve been always evaluating personal style,aesthetic choices that reveal a direction towards soothing the eye with pure photographic artistry rather than initially impressing  with uber fabulous choices of subjects,lighting,editing, as i reckon is the current trend. Ok i like several styles. Yet, the above plus the personality of the photographer itself played a significal role in me requesting him to answer,in his very own style naturally,the basic ‘Lady Sybilia’s’ questions…He kindly accepted, showcasing the context behind the concept..and other interesting details..

Your work showcases a strong interest in certain vintage aesthetics with a modern view. Is that the case?

Its a complex subject, however your not far wrong. I love the romance and elegance from what we could call Vintage. I would not for one moment say that I set out to shoot anything Vintage for artistic merit, its more to evoke a feeling of time and place. The concept of Vintage is tricky for me. For me, Vintage is more a concept and context in which to tell your story.

If you were ehm.. ‘forced’ to choose a certain era/photographer for image inspiration, which would that be and why?

I guess this answer is an extension of the last. Most of my biggest artistic influences have not been photographers or artists in the context of still frame. I am sure the close links between my family and the church have had an impact. The Catholic use of the Baroque after the Council of Trent, I guess, would be an era that was a catalyst for me and my work. Normal is never quite enough. I love the way the Baroque comes after you. It makes you form opinion, it makes you form your views. I like to think my work can do the same. Pretty photos are not enough, they need to engage the audience on another level. Inspiration is a strange thing. Being lucky enough to live in the UK we have some of the most amazing photographers and artists on our doorsteps, so there are many people I could name. When it all comes down to it. I like a good story. I want to be entertained. Many of my artistic influences are film makers and musicians. Marilyn Manson being the biggest along with Tolkien. Over the years there have been many amazing people who have shaped my world view, and there for my artistic views too. Its a very hard question to answer. But, If forced to, I would say, Cecil Beaton. This would for the sheer honest elegance and ability to create a story from a still photograph. Beaton shows us that photography is about content in context.

-Could you describe your overall vision/idea behind your work?

Sounds awfully Cliché, but I am quite aware that my work will live longer than I. I want to make a body of work that is going to live beyond me. To give something back to the world that has given so much to me. I guess my artistic views are formed on the sense that, what ever I do has to be created to stand for many years to come. To answer the first question. Yes. Its my version of what the Baroque is.

-Was fashion photography/photography your main idea or a career or emerged through life experiences?

I would still not say I really do shoot fashion. I would say that my style is to shoot fashion based portraits. The main focus is emotive content, then subtext is fashion in most cases. -Could you define some major influences that have shaped your view on things, perhaps photographers, designers, artists? There are many people who have shaped my views. There are few people who have actively came to me and helped me though. These people have defined me as a person and played major roles in my life. Its unfair to name people, but they do know who they are. Most of them have not been photographers or artists, but people. Most of these people have put there time and energy into me a person, I owe a debt to these people, that, one day I hope I can repay.

-Are there some moments you’d define as crucial to your career, certain collaborations ,work features etc, that come to mind as milestones to you as a photographer?

Meeting Bryon Paul McCartney ? Meeting Chloe-Jasmine Whichello ? Meeting George Eko ? Meeting Steve Lewis ? Meeting Joe Challita ? Meeting Colleen Deary ? Meeting Karl Baxter ? . . . Its such a long question to give a honest reply to, the list above could go on for a many a thousand names. But of course there are some people who have had a more direct impact. Some people have been in my life for a hour, some people for many years. Some people I might never see again, others I am yet to meet. I don’t think I have reached any major cross roads yet, but, when I do, I am sure I will have the right people around me to help me see my path. Sometimes life is about choosing the people you stand next to.

plus my fav ‘backstage’ photo

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