Kelly Brown has been one of the most inspiring and beautiful creatives I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Whilst most of our industry know Kelly for her stunning newborn and maternity portraiture, It’s Kelly’s personal work that speaks to me. It’s filled with soul, connection, resonance. The depth of emotion conveyed in Kelly’s images speak of rawness, darkness and vulnerability. They show me a person who has a deep understanding from a life that has been lived, someone who can face challenge full on and be comfortable in it. They speak of a life that has learnt to celebrate magic, embrace wonderment, curiosity and found the pleasure of being fully present to witness a moment. They speak of love.
It was Kelly who inspired me to start these interviews, she triggered the curiosity within me, my desire to know more. Her words have deepened my belief that we are not alone in our challenges and our fears. They remind me to stay true to who you are, who I am. They speak of wisdom, truth and integrity and I am inspired by her fierce courage to be more. And as I read her words and feel that courage, I feel myself waking up inside, ready to step up once again and be my more … are you?
Kelly Brown – The Creative
Tell me about your creative photography – What Inspires You? People. I love hearing their stories and creating something truly unique that’s all about them.
What is the life experience that shaped your life the most? It’s so hard to identify just one, as there are many events that shape us while leaving us unaware. And, it’s pretty safe to say my life has been very eventful. Growing up we moved a lot which was always an adventure, some good and some not so great. I’ve met a lot of people and experienced a lot so not one event stands out.
How has this reflected in your creativity? I have never really thought about it until now. Looking back and having met so many people that have impacted my life in one way or another it’s either been their stories or how my life has been effected as a result that has inspired me to want to create something with meaning.
What drives you to keep evolving creatively? Creating something new. I want to grab people’s attention when they see my photographs. I don’t want them to just see a pretty picture, I want them to see something with meaning that doesn’t need words to describe it. And as everyone’s story is unique, I’m always trying to create something different.
What are you really passionate about? People existing in photographs. Regardless of how they look and feel and just being themselves for those that love them.
What is an absolute no for you? Jeopardising safety for the sake of a shot
What are you most curious about in life? Oh wow! So many things! But mainly where do dreams come from and why do they happen?
How did your parents help shape you? My parents are the hardest working people I know. I was 11 when they separated so I spent my teenage years coming and going between their homes. They both worked multiple jobs just to make ends meet.
They taught me that everything is achieved with hard work. And in my family hard work wasn’t rewarded it was expected. So, I knew growing up that getting what I wanted and achieving my goals started and ended with pure grit.
Who was the one person that influenced you the most and how did they help shape who you are today? My Grandfather. He was the type of person that if he didn’t know how something worked he would find out how. He would answer my endless questions about life growing up and was the most patient man I know. His passion for photography came from knowing the importance to document every moment when his family came together.
What one thing are you working on trying to improve? Work life balance. Being driven I’ve often forget to have down time. I now have dedicated work hours and try to structure my life a little more so when my kids are home from school they have my undivided attention.
What’s been your biggest obstacle in life and what did you learn from it? My biggest obstacle has definitely been me. I demand a lot from myself and set enormous goals. And when I have moments of doubt I question my abilities in reaching my goals. Overcoming this is a constant battle but I’m aware of it and try not to let it get the better of me.
What are your biggest life lessons to date? To stop worrying about what others think. When I was 18 I was told by someone that I looked up to that I wouldn’t amount to anything and then 14 years ago as a new comer to photography a photographer that I worked for told me I would never succeed in this industry because I wanted to photograph babies.
I learned that people are allowed to think whatever they want, just as I am. What they think cannot change who I am or what I am worth, unless I allow it to.
What were you most afraid of when you started following your passion and how did you overcome those fears? Because I had been told I wouldn’t survive in this industry for wanting to photograph babies a small part of me was afraid that that person would be right. But I did my research, I found out how many babies were born in my area, city, region & state. I also focused on my current clients and their needs.
How has accessing your authentic creativity impacted your life? It has allowed me to open my mind to create absolutely anything! For a long time, I held myself back based on fear of how others would respond to what I created. Now I understand that everyone is entitled to their opinions and they will each feel something different when they view my artwork.
Do those fears and challenges still show up today? How do you keep pushing through them to achieve your dreams? Absolutely. I’m very focused on my goals so I have had to learn to live with the doubts and value the creative process as much as the work involved.
How have you used challenging emotional experiences to expand your creativity? I’ve had so many. The one that hit me the hardest was when my Mother was diagnosed with Acute lymphoblastic leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant, there wasn’t a match on the global transplant list. With my Mother’s consent, I photographed her to help raise awareness about becoming a bone marrow donor. A couple of months later and 300+ shares on a blog post they found a match in the UK. I don’t know if it had anything to do with my post and even if it didn’t, I hope that I raised enough awareness for so many others needing a bone marrow transplant young and old.
What was your life defining moment of change that shaped you into the person you are today? There have been so many! When I think about all the points in my life that have urged me to make pivotal decisions, or when I’ve experienced something that has fundamentally changed me, these moments have not only defined me, but they have had a huge impact on my perceptions and actions. Like being told that I wouldn’t amount to much, I knew this wasn’t true so was determined to prove to myself they I would and I could be someone that my family would be proud of.
What is the one picture your heart is calling you to create? Right at this very moment I am trying to come up with a concept to capture a beautiful story of a baby being conceived via IVF from sperm that has been frozen for 23 years after a tragic accident. I’m working with my clients to get as much information as possible to create a beautiful portrait that is truly unique and tells their story.
What’s your vision for the future? To expand my education platform and raise industry standards
What do you want to be remembered for? As someone that proved anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
If you could speak to the heart and soul of all creatives what would be the words you would want them to know? To be you. Art has the power to provoke many emotions and encourage conversation good or bad.
When was the last time you attended any kind of learning / development workshop and what was it? I’m always learning. I truly believe if you’re not learning you’re not evolving. Most days I’m listening to podcasts & audiobooks or listening to online tutorials.
How important has personal development been to your life, creative and business goals? Huge! Personal development is a lifelong process. Every year I reassess my goals and then make plan to reach them.
What are you celebrating right now? It will sound corny, but every day you’re operational is a day worth celebrating when you’re in business for yourself. Every day we encounter new challenges that need to be faced.
Have the last word … what is the one question I never asked that you really wanted to answer?
What’s the most unexpected thing you’ve learned along the way? That regret hurts far worse than fear. It’s better to look back on life and say, “I can’t believe I did that,” than to look back and say, “I wish I did that.” Don’t spend the rest of your life thinking about why you didn’t do, do what you can do right now. Live your life. Take risks and be open to new possibilities.
For every person inspired by you, including myself, THANK YOU for sharing.
You can view Kelly’s personal work here