Artist Interview: Kyle Cannon

Kyle Cannon is a 22 year old photographer from North County, San Diego. Currently finishing up his senior year at Cal State University San Marcos, Kyle continues to hone his photography skills on the beaches of North County, where he grew up surfing and enjoying the ocean.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you first started getting into photography.

I’ve always been into action sports especially motocross and surfing. I started out by grabbing my parent’s old film camera and messing around. First documenting family vacations and things around town and after a while I started putting my passion for shooting photos and documenting action sports together. After high school I was able to work and saved up a bit of money to purchase my first DSLR and things really progressed from there, but in the beginning everything started out with that old film camera.

Were you primarily self-taught or did you have some training?

I took one film class in high school and they taught the basics of developing and composition but it was very introductory. Besides that I have been self-taught, especially with digital photography. I’ve read a lot of books, and constantly search resources online.

You have a unique mix of photos throughout your portfolio other than just surfing. What inspires you and what are your favorite things to shoot?

Traveling is my number one inspiration. I love exploring places I’ve never been before. Just walking around shooting what I see and what I think will make a good photo is the best. My favorite things to shoot besides surfing are landscapes and unique sceneries that catch my eye.

You shoot both digital and film. Do you enjoy shooting one over the other and do they influence each other?

I really like shooting film more. The look, color, depth, and grain you get with film is really hard to reproduce on digital. Shooting film really forces me to slow down and think about the shot instead of just firing away and deleting the bad ones. Shooting film does inspire my digital shots as well. I like to experiment shooting digital while shooting film at the same time to give my film shots a completely different perspective.

Recently you have been putting together short surf clips. Do you have any plans for a film or larger project?

I’m working on a full-length surf movie featuring San Diego locals, especially from North County. Unfortunately is been a slow process putting together while balancing school and work on the side. As soon as I graduate in December I will be able to dedicate much more time to the project and finish it up.

Travel is one of your greatest inspirations. Where would you like to go next?

After graduation I’m going to Indo. I can’t wait to get some unique shots from such a beautiful part of the world. As a personal exercise I want to shoot the whole trip on film. I think it will be a great learning and experience.

Being a surfer yourself does that help while picking angles and shots for your photos?

I think it definitely helps. I can pick out who the good surfers are, which part of the wave they surf best and I can choose my angles accordingly. The lighting also has a huge influence in determining my position. I end up walking up and down the beach a lot to find the best angles. Trial and error is the best tool as well as gathering inspiration from different surf magazines and photographers.

What are you plans for the future?

Continuing to travel and surf as much as possible, especially finding some warm left hand point breaks! Eventually I see myself getting into the commercial film and photography world and really pushing my skills. I would love to be a staff photographer for a magazine like Rolling Stone.

What advice do you have for up and coming filmmakers and photographers?

The best advice that was given to me is to just go out and shoot as much as possible. Go out everyday and shoot something. Continue to look for unique perspectives and different angles that speak to your own style. Read online, photography and film magazines, really educate yourself, but most of all do it because you love it.

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