Photographer Liberty Kifer: Creative Pursuits
Liberty Kifer has always created. Her mother, a painter, without fail, provided art supplies and encouraged Liberty to express herself through art. She continued to create in college and explored different forms of art including ceramics and painting. The only artistic medium she did not fully explore was photography as she felt it did not “mesh” with her personality.
After college, to preserve memories of her children she began to photograph and discovered that like her art, photography could also be an outlet for her to express herself. Liberty reflects that during this time she fell quickly in love with the craft and her path into professional photography evolved slowly over six years.
Liberty doesn’t confine herself to a particular genre of photography, but portrait photography is special to her. Through capturing images of others, she connects with people and creates a dialogue between the viewer and the subject. Liberty appreciates people and wants to engage and learn about them. Photography is how she fulfills this desire creatively.
Creativity is not always a steady stream that flows through the artist. It can sometimes be like a leaky faucet and Liberty openly shared with me and on her blog that she had experienced creative discontent over the past few months. She felt she hadn’t pushed herself and wanted to complete a personal project inspired by the raw natural aesthetic she had seen from photographers out of the Pacific Northwest.
During this time of restlessness, Victoria, a musician, reached out for a portrait session. Together the two collaborated on an environmental photo shoot. The goal was to capture the artist in her element, in a natural way where Liberty would be a “fly on the wall.” The photographer set out to give a glimpse into Victoria’s life and show her “loose, relaxed, raw, and emotional.”
Liberty describes this past summer as “not feeling like I was where I wanted to be, and it feels good to be able to push myself and prove that I am are capable of creating the types of images I wanted to create.”
Raw Emotion & Inspiration
While Liberty and I chatted, she continued to refer to images that were ‘raw’ in emotion and style. I asked her about her inspiration and to share more about what she meant. Liberty said that the Pacific Northwest inspires her, and while she enjoys living in Montana, she has found herself continually drawn to the PNW. As she looked at photographs that inspired her so much that she “wanted to cry” she would realize that the photographers that had created them were out of Oregon or Washington. She states that there is a certain unifying aesthetic and atmosphere to these photos. Liberty cited Phil Chester and Conner Allen as photographers she admires and having the opportunity to meet Conner was a special moment for her.
Liberty’s other source of constant inspiration are her children and creativity is a core part of their lifestyle. Her children have many artistic outlets, and it is exciting for her to see what they respond to and create.
Photographer and Editor
Liberty loves editing just as much as she loves photographing. She finds that she obsesses over the editing process and said “I think of it as painting, the photograph is the sketch and when I edit I am completing the work of art.” For her, there is always a little uncertainty, and the best feeling is realizing that she “nailed it.” Liberty describes feeling that the art happens when she edits, and she has created her own presets available at Silky Presets that are inspired seasons, colors, and film.
Size matters for this photographer and she shoots with the Canon 6D and the Fuji X100. Liberty loves both of her cameras and with her Canon shoots with a range of prime lenses. She prefers to work with natural light and almost exclusively uses Lightroom for her editing process.
“Spend hours looking at photographs. I spent countless hours analyzing and studying different images. If I liked the photograph, I thought about why I liked it and what was it about the image that I wanted to bring and use in my work. I think this helped me find my style and vision. I studied and critiqued other’s work, and that helped me have the ability to see my photographs more critically.”
The enthusiasm was evident as Liberty told me that she and her family would soon move to Olympia. Liberty is ready to work with clients in the PNW and to meet and collaborate with photographers in the area.
Liberty has her mind set on working on a personal project that she’s been ruminating on lately. She wants to do lifestyle family portrait session that captures a family at home in a very natural and real way. She sees the images in her mind’s eye as being candid and raw. I can’t wait to see what she creates next! Thank you Liberty for taking the time to share your story!
Find out more about Liberty Kifer here!
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