Have you ever seen someone's work and been not only blown away by the technical ability of the photographs, but how it emotionally touches you as well? That is the epitome of the beautiful work of Minnesota-based photographer R. J. Kern. In this article, take a look at his amazing work, and I can assure you you'll walk away inspired too.
How I Was Introduced to R. J.'s Work
About a month ago, I attended my first ever industry event, the Stand Out Tour put on by Phase One. The event took place in sunny Miami, an easy 45-minute commute away, and was a day filled with an amazing lineup of presentations from world-class photographers, artists, and entrepreneurs in the industry. R. J. was one of the artists presenting, and he put together a beautiful presentation about the art of moving from an “Emerging” to an “Emerged” Fine Art Photographer. In his talk, he shared his journey in the photography field, which was accompanied by an array of heartwarming photographs of animals and their owners. After walking away from his talk, I was instantly inspired to not only become a better photographer, but a better and more understanding person.
What Inspired Me Most About His Work
The thing that struck me the most when seeing his photos, was not only his technical abilities to make the images look like paintings, but the emotion and the message that is evident in all of his images. In all of the pictures of sheep and animals, they are all so sensitively composed, and the animals take on a human-like form in the way they are lit, posed, and composed. The seamless juxtaposition of nature and humanity plays homage to his humble routes of rural Minnesota. When producing art, it is so important to include your own personal vision and emotions in the images, and R. J. does this perfectly. When I look at each photo, I feel the love he has for the outdoors and people.
He describes the message behind his work as:
Exploring ideas of home, ancestry, and a sense of place through the interaction of people, animals, and cultural landscapes.
Below, you can see a brief collection of his amazing photos.
An Overview of the Work
As we were wrapping up and saying our goodbyes, he left me with a great piece of advice, and something that I still keep in mind today when pursuing my personal projects. He told me that:
At the end of the day, I want to remind people of the importance in engaging audiences interested in their subject matter. There are much deeper supports than a bunch of likes that will help longer-term (grants, books, fellowships).
I think his sentiment is so important and relevant these days, because it teaches us to be patient with our work and focus on the long term impact, not just waste the impact of our work on the reward of getting a dose of dopamine.
After looking through his collection of images, how do his images make you feel? Let us know in the comments below!
All images used with permission of R.J. Kern.