In the limelight

In the limelight: Kamila K Stanley

We’re showing some love for tour-de-force, Kamila K Stanley. Shooting predominantly in deliciously grainy 35mm film, her images are full of dusty colours and sunset hues. Delicate double exposure and light flashes. Cloudy textures and shimmering aberrations. In our limelight series, we meet the faces behind the art and photography in our magazine. Feed your hunger for seductive visuals and learn more about one of London’s greatest photographic talents. 

Working for Subbacultcha, Stanley’s camera lens has been directed at Organ Tapes, Shygirl and Reckonwrong. Have a peruse through her dreamy portraiture below.

Kamila is British-Polish and grew up in France.  A wanderer at heart, she’s also lived in Spain, Argentina, Chile and Brazil, and most recently, London. Her travel photography – self-described as ‘the National Geographic on acid’ –  blurs like the line between a personal adventure diary, magic and documentarian footage. Follow the link to her artist page and explore her extended portfolio that includes commissions for VICE, Dazed & Confused, i-D, The Huffington Post, and others. She has also been showcased in galleries and festivals worldwide, including MoMA PS1, Paris Photo, Betahaus Gallery, and Foyles Charing Cross.

How would you describe your visual influences?

I never went to art school, so my visual influences are very disparate. I learned loads from my friends and Youtube tutorials. I love neon lights, Harley Weir, Elsa Leydier, Alice Moitié, William Eggleston, Gregory Halpern, Novembre Magazine, seeing tons of exhibitions, travelling lots. I love 16mm films and 35mm photos. I love the colour red, natural light and photo books. Quentin de Briey’s The Other Day is my favourite photobook ever. I love Gaspard Noé’s Enter the Void and Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers. I spend a lot of time at a lab in Paris, and I love handmade prints and contact sheets.

Which textures and colours spark joy to you?

I’m really obsessed with the colour red, I use it a lot. I have gels and lights to tint the shadows red in some of my shoots like on the album cover I shot for Cléa Vincent’s record Nuit Sans Sommeil. In terms of textures, I like my images to have a bit of grain. Most of my work is film and I find digital imagery too polished for me.

How do you go about to capture the aura of someone you’re photographing? Do you go for coffee first and have personal conversations?

As much as I love to meet someone beforehand, it’s not often possible. The main thing if you’re shooting a musician is obviously to listen to their tracks back to back. I also stalk them on social media and watch their music videos, to get a sense of what they’re into, what they’re trying to project. And I have all these pictures on my phone, to show people different poses, or weird ways to stand.

Do you miss certain photoshoots sometimes, because they felt so magical? What are some of your favourites?

That’s such a sweet question. I don’t really miss photoshoots but some definitely move me when I look back on them. For example my first editorials — everything was so improvised — for the first time I felt that “high” you get from shooting pictures you love. I would dress my brothers and sisters up in clothes, smear make-up on them, and drag them outside to shoot stories in the sunset. It was just unadulterated creation and adrenaline. But that’s a good thing. It doesn’t really make me sad. You can always shoot people again and go back to places. Every shoot brings something new, they never stop being special.

Which movie should we watch next to get our dose of visual pleasure?

I really loved The World Is Yours by Romain Gavras. It’s just an effortlessly cool gangster movie with a French bite to it, a dope soundtrack, and a talented cast. Also, there’s a production company called CANADA who make super beautiful videos. Check out the Malamente music vid they made for Rosalía, or their video Sound & Vision which is an ode to David Bowie.

Oh and here’s a little sneak peek: she has recently directed the first video clip for new London-based musician, DAYLA.

Wanna get fueled with more visual inspiration?
Check out her Instagram.