#Here2There- 2nd Interview
Photography is a visual medium that many attempt but few master. While portrait photographer, Patrick Kolts, would never consider himself a master of his craft, he is certainly on his way. Kolts’ images display a wide range of human emotions, capturing the small moments that make up life’s nuances. Whether taking a road trip across America or traveling to an orphanage in India, Kolts connects the viewer to the basic experiences of being human.
Perhaps you have seen one of his images featured by major social media innovators like VSCOCam, Instagram and even Buzzfeed. Working with world renowned photographers such as Troy House and traveling the world taking pictures for various non profit organizations, Kolts seeks to tell larger stories. Rather than personal narratives, his interest lies in the way people live their lives as influenced by something beyond the mere individual experience.
When asked how he is able to capture a specific moment such as one that tells a larger story, Kolts described entering a posture of servanthood. Eliminating ego from the craft helps him enter more authentically into the lives of his clients. Kolts expounds, “I don’t draw too much attention to myself and so it makes people feel more comfortable.” He even admitted to telling lame jokes as a way of keeping things light hearted.
Kolts turned to a picture of two children lying on the grass laughing. The picture was taken on a recent trip to India where he was working with an organization that ran an all girls orphanage. The photo captures a mundane circumstance yet portrays a human encounter of laughter and child-likeness experienced across cultures, races and economic situations. “kids are kids no matter where they are,” Kolts expresses as he considers the subjects in his composition. He proceeds to describe his experience as a photographer on the trip, “the challenge was going and not creating a bunch of photos that would make people feel guilty but making photos that made people feel more at home.”
Making people feel more at home has defined his career ever since he began pursuing his trade. Kolts started his career in Iowa as a high-school student, taking senior pictures for his classmates. What originally drew him to the field was an interest for the camera as a machine. As an eleven year old boy, Kolts was fascinated with the look of the camera, the loading of film, the sound of the click, the winding back. It fulfilled a tactile curiosity.
Kolts’ first camera, a Canon Rebel from the 70′s
Seventeen years later, Kolts finds himself ever-more intrigued by the process of photography. He learned a lot about photography as a career through his apprenticeship with the photographer previously mentioned above– Troy House– describing his example of generosity, hard work and patience. When asked what defines his ethos as a photographer, he described one thing, “I want to glorify God.”
Scripture passage, James 1 describes true religion as, visiting, orphans and widows in their affliction…”, and through his work, he does just that. By serving with non-profit organizations who take care of orphans, single parents and the oppressed and telling stories of cultures and people groups, he seeks to share the beauty of God through his art.
Kolts response to Waco Arts alum, Ari’s question: What kind of story would you write if it was going to be published all over the world?
Kolts would create a tv show about working in the photo industry. During his time in New York he spent a lot of time assisting other photographers and has come across many different attitudes and personalities working with creative-people egos, “It would be the story of one guy getting started and all the different things he learned along the way….it would be more of a comedy.”
Kolts’ favorite things to take pictures of in NYC:
1. sub-way- People’s interaction with the big steel underground train as people ignore the chaos happening around them.
2. #Strideby- Where there is a still camera, capturing people passing through a particular frame.
3. Sun-spots- the way light is reflected off of buildings and onto the street
Kolts’ Question for Waco Arts Initiative Students: