You’ve seen it, right? The new dawn of what magazines can be in the digital age. Lush, tactile, and completely immersive despite being on paper. Maybe it’s expressly *because* it’s on paper—done artfully and mindfully, Kinfolk bucks the decades-established trend of magazines as throwaways, and has revitalized what seemed to be, for a while, yet another one of the internet’s nails in the casket of brick-and-mortar publishing.
Why the acclaim? It’s simple. Much of Kinfolk’s appeal—aside from its life philosophy of simplicity, companionship, and the value of craft and wholesome adventure—is the strength of its photographic brand.
The Kinfolk folks, put simply, are master visual storytellers. What can we learn from such a lush, consistently engaging source of inspiration? As a parent or candid photography enthusiast, consider these takeaways:
1. Hone your ability to respond quickly to a scene as it unfolds, and frame and capture it well. Begin by reading your camera’s manual. Sounds basic enough, but not many of us have done this. By knowing how to adjust your SLR, point-and-shoot, or iphone exposure and depth-of-field, you can take better advantage of Kinfolk-like diffused light for that ethereal, gentle look. Hint: always seek out the shade as opposed to glaring snapshots in bright sun, and most often, overexpose a touch.
2. Play with partial compositions. Focus on feet, hands, and halves of things. Not every image needs to feature a dead-centre face. Once you give yourself the freedom to meditate on details, you’ll start having fun.
3. Don’t forget to photograph the elements of the day (or weekend, or vacation). By complementing straight-up portraits with delectable captures of food, activities, and the nature around you, weave a series of shots together into a story.
4. Shadow subjects instead of interrupting to get their attention. If they turn to you, go with it. If they don’t, go with it. Peek around corners, through grass, and over shoulders. A candid approach means being stealthy, and simply making yourself present when interesting moments are unfolding. Let them unfold! And if you catch yourself saying “Cheese!”…. reset yourself.
5. Before clicking the shutter, look through the viewfinder to make sure the frame is clear. This can be as simple as moving clutter in the background, or changing your position to change the angle (for instance, getting low so that a row of parked cars disappears behind a sand dune). Much of Kinfolk’s visual impact is in the cleanliness of every single image—this is a simple awareness that requires only a creative pause, and not technical know-how.
Now, drink this up: watch, and consider how a visual brand like this—and the way it tells stories—can underwrite your own approach to capturing the everyday. —Kate Inglis