The medium of photography allows one to document anything, anywhere... so in Kim Reierson's case, she found herself tagging along the routes of America's unsung trucking culture. Vivid portraits, simple landscapes, and the bizarre interiors of eighteen wheelers are just a few of the facets she's aspired to capture, so we decided to investigate the woman behind the lens and discuss her exquisite portfolio...
1: Who are you?
I'm a photographer/artist, Andean Chiclet cyclist, and wannabe entomologist... and an Ex-New Yorker, currently living in Santa Barbara.
2: Describe your medium and process for your work...
I consider myself more of a painter who uses a camera as a way to produce art. As a kid I was always drawing. My uncle, whom I spent some time with growing up in Bolivia, was into landscape oil paintings. He hired an artist, whose paintings he collected, to give me lessons for a summer. I dug his look. He always wore a suit and his Dali-esque mustache lent him art world-cred.
In college, I continued to study fine art. However, after graduating, I decided to use photography as a more immediate process to get my art out. I worked as a photojournalist for a newspaper for 5 years. It was a place where I learned to think on my feet and anticipate situations that put me at the right time and place- you start to use your instinct as part of your process, an edge that puts you outside the box, metaphorically and sometimes literally- like, when you’re roped off on a media platform with 20 other press photographers, you’re pretty much all going to end up getting the same shot, unless you take a chance and place yourself in an unexpected area to get THE shot.
3: How did you find your passion? Who/what influences your work?
My passion found me as a teen. My father was a long haul truck driver, so he wasn’t around much- however, he did give me a film camera for my 15th birthday- a gift that would end up being a life long present. I used our family's empty swimming pool as a ''studio’’ and the garage as my darkroom. I had one photography class in high school and that was enough for me. I wasn’t interested in studying studio or the too techy side of photography- I didn’t think it would become my profession. For me, the camera was more of an everyday appendage that served as a vehicle to explore the world inside and out of the quiet suburban middle class life I grew up in; from teenagers at demolition derby’s to burlesque dancers in forgotten dance halls.
4: What excites you about your work? What do you struggle with?
I am most excited when I can take the most ordinary object and transform it into the fantastical, or giving an honest voice to the unheard or misunderstood.
There was a period where I struggled between staying ‘’true to my art’’ while eating Ramen, or doing high paying gigs that weren’t fulfilling. When I set out on the road for 5 years to tap into my roots as a daughter of a trucker, I wasn’t thinking about whether this topic had mass appeal or was sellable- I just needed to do it- it was more more 'art therapy' than anything else. I spent most of the money I made doing commercial photography to fund my truck book. It was good fortune that I happen to know a couple of people who worked for National Geographic Magazine, who liked the work and featured it in the magazine, and that brought attention and most of the book sales.
In general, like with anything else, it’s about talent, putting in the time and hard work, and being at the right place to make those key connections, all work together to make it happen...and some luck.
5: What are your goals? Where do you see yourself going?
I am focusing more on my fine art photography than commercial right now and using my painting to combine the two mediums. All those dead insects and flora I have been collecting are finding a new art home.