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Interview: Riley Kalbus / Photographer

This week Slate sat down with Photographer Riley Kalbus.
Tell me a bit about how you got into photography?
I began my artistic career painting and doing illustrations. When I broke my arm and was in a cast, preventing me from painting, I borrowed a camera from a friend and fell in love with the creative process of photography.

You’re originally from California, but reside in New York, which place do you feel fuels your creativity more?
I believe both fuel my creativity in different ways. When I am in California I feel more inspired by the expansive, physical beauty of the landscape/seascape. While I am in New York I work on more introspective/ fine art projects over a longer period of time.

What was your first ever camera?

My first camera was a Canon G12 point and shoot.

Who would you consider to be your biggest muse?

My biggest muse would have to be water, specifically the ocean.


How would you describe your aesthetic?

I strive towards a clean and refined element in my work. I like for each photograph to embody an atmosphere, images that have immersive qualities.

What was one of your favorite projects to work on and why?

My favorite project was this series of large format portraits I did of young competitive swimmers. It was done very similarly to Richard Avedon’s American West series.

Do you have any tips for an aspiring photographer, who is picking up a camera for the first time?

Try not to think so much about technicalities when you’re starting; it just gets in the way of finding your own voice within the craft. I’m not saying technique doesn’t matter but I believe that it is secondary starting off. I would also push them to try everything. Shooting portraits, fashion, landscape, still life – try it all to find out what you really love and then specialize in that.
Thanks Riley! To see more of Riley’s work, check out his Instagram.