Our first cover story features Kes Gunningham, in a western themed scenario. We took some time to speak to Kes after the shoot.
ImmortalMag : Hi Kes, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Let’s start at the beginning, tell us a bit about yourself.
Well, I was born in 1990, which made it very easy when I was young to work out how old I was in a previous year. I live near Nottingham at the moment though I grew
up in Northampton and go back there to see friends all the time, some people you just can't find elsewhere and the people I've grown up with, like family. I do have one younger brother, we were quite close growing up and still get on, but nothing can really replicate the times you have as a kid. My parents and my brother all have brown hair so it was quite strange for people to see the pair us as brothers at first glance. At the moment I work in dentistry, but ideally I'd love to work full time as a model. I love modelling and it's something I've had a passion to do for as long as I can remember.
IM : When or how did you start modelling ?
Ever since I can remember I've wanted to model, since I was old enough to style my hair and found out how pictures can look different, if they're in black and white and with different lighting from school, since then I've really grown to appreciate a good image, on quality, angles, mood, tones and all the love and hard work that goes into an image to make it really stand out. To see yourself in an image with this amount of work and to see yourself shine, is an honour, and over time I feel I've been able to learn how to work well to help create a good image. I started modelling when a friend needed a model for a college project. A few years later a made friends with a photographer, eventually I had a few pictures put together to make my first portfolio and since then have been working towards making modelling a full time career and to possibly be signed to an agency.
IM : When you were approached by Nige, what did you think ?
I was approached Nige shortly after joining Model Mayhem, he said he'd seen my work and loved my look. He was really enthusiastic about doing a shoot as he could see a lot of potential . I looked at his work and loved the ideas he'd used for the pictures he’d taken, so we arranged a date to shoot. He was so happy to see me and has been very thorough with his work which is great to see. The shoot itself was alot of fun and we both had such a laugh even though it was so cold that day, time flew by.
IM : How was it working with Nige ?
I loved the shoot we did together. He had so many ideas he wanted to try, and showed me examples of things he wanted to do which was really nice, we spoke alot about the shoot beforehand so I could already tell before we met, that he was very passionate and had some sort of an idea of what to expect. It was a good laugh working with him and made it feel very comfortable to work together.
IM : What is it you enjoy about modelling ?
Ultimately, it's that end result of looking through and having the work produced. Seeing how the work that's been put together has made not just a picture but a stunning image. I love capturing a mood or a style. And also seeing a stunning image of yourself is such a high. I really enjoy the energy that a shoot creates and feeding off one another to produce a good picture.
IM : How do you prepare for a shoot ?
Before I started doing any modelling I never really thought that there'd be as much to prepare, but I like to try and be as prepared as I can, to get the best results and to be happy knowing that I did everything I could. I normally send a million different pictures of my clothes to the photographer, if we're trying to decide what to wear. I also like to look at different examples of work that have been done before. This helps me to gauge the style of work so I can put myself in that frame of mind, I think it helps, to practice mentally and imagine how I'm going to work on the day. As well as also discussing ideas for the shoot, throwing ideas back and forth so we know as best as we can on the day what we plan to do. I also might get my hair cut or neatened up if it needs it for the shoot, make sure I'm putting in as much gym time as I can, pack of course, and plan how I'm going to get there as well as all the other little details. I think preparing for a shoot can sometimes be the biggest part of it.
IM : Do you prefer a photographer to direct the ideas on a shoot or to have some form of creative collaboration ?
I think it depends on the job. If the job is very specific in that the photographer has a set of guidelines then this can already set the ideas for the shoot. The photographer might already know exactly what they want to do. This is great, I love to feed off of ideas and follow directions. I like to think I’m like a sponge in that way, and alot of the time the photographer will already know how they work and what's good for them. At the same time it's great to flow with the shoot and share ideas before and during, this can create a really good unexpected shot that might not have been thought of, so especially if the shoot is more general or open for interpretation, then I find this quite fun as well.
IM : What is it about being a model, that excites or inspires you the most ?
I think the inspiration and excitement has a lot to do with your mind set. I put myself in a mood where I can imagine some great work being made at the end and to think of what it could lead to really excites me. Inspiration also comes from seeing good work produced before, it gives ideas and some excitement that if you've seen some good work, I want to make some of that as well.
IM : What is the best experience you have had during your career or favourite shoot ?
All shoots, good or bad, have their own right and separate experiences. You always learn and take things away with you. I've loved every shoot I've done, I always aim to take away something from a shoot, which I can use in knowledge for the next. It helps create the drive to keep going and with every good shot adds to the thrill.
IM : What do you like doing in your spare time ?
What is spare time? It's very rare I get any, at the moment, there's always something to do. But when I do I like to go to the gym, watch films, walks in the summer, general socialising with friends, going on a holiday every now and then. I don't tend to play many video games though, or have that many hobbies, but I'm good at drawing and studied design, it just takes a lot of time to draw a really decent picture.