BYO recently caught up with Myles K. of Sydney street style blog Keishikibi to talk about his take on Sydney fashion and his soulful approach to capturing signature snapshots.
BYO: Tell us how you started as a photographer?
Myles: I got my first camera as a present from my dad when I went on holiday on Dubai. It was Christmas ’11 and I was keen on photographing what was supposed to be my final year (2012) at uni. I wanted to produce a personal, visual journal of what it was like to conclude a chapter in life, the student life, and the eventual transition into the working world. Things didn’t really go as planned; I ended up graduating in 2013 and that whole idea didn’t materialize (un)fortunately.
Soon after arriving back to Sydney, I ended up being drawn to the street photography genre. Something about the idea of documenting the world around me fascinated me much more than a self-indulgent project about how I was finishing my student life. I took my first street photograph some time in early February 2012. Back then it was just a photograph of life happening, not the street style that I do today. But ever since then, I guess that’s when I called myself a photographer.
BYO: Tell us a bit about your approach to street style?
Myles: I usually go out with the intention of having a nice stroll around Sydney. And if I see someone wearing something that catches my eye, I take a candid photograph of him/her. I do sometimes ask for permission to photograph someone but it isn’t something I do that often. I’ve always been somewhat shy to talk to strangers since I was young. I’m definitely better at that now but still not 100% confident enough just yet.
Sometimes, I decide to linger around specific areas around Sydney during certain times of the day, but this is mostly due to either there being good light in that spot or if there isn’t a huge crowd where I’m photographing; both of these things are important to me as it usually determines whether I get a good photo of someone at the end of the day.
BYO: What are the things you notice first when you see a subject?
Myles: Hmm… I can’t really pinpoint what makes me notice someone or something other than the thought in my head that tells me, “That looks like a cute/elegant/eccentric/striking/standout outfit on that person!” And I guess that’s a good thing. I feel that by leaving it as is makes me pay attention more on the street. Also, I love the idea of being surprised by what people might be wearing when I go out.
BYO: Are there things you are drawn to?
Myles: I’m drawn to things that fit in with Japanese aesthetics; Wabi-Sabi, Yugen, Miyabi, Shibui, etc. All of which have the idea of drawing beauty through simplicity. I’ve always been intrigued by the notion of creating something sophisticated and refined out of a simple idea or act. Not saying that I dislike complexity, I love it. But simplicity fits well with my way of life.
BYO: What does style mean to you?
Myles: I guess I would liken it to a signature. Everyone has their own unique way of signing things. And style, in the context of fashion… It’s a physical, visual version of it; an expression of you, your personality, your opinion, a way of telling people who you are without needing to say a word.
BYO: Are there trends you see popping up on the street that we should note?
Myles: Right now, it’s pretty hard to say that there are any trends appearing just yet, mostly because Australia’s in this transitional period between Summer and Autumn. So the general public seems to be trying to cater for both seasons. But I have noticed storefronts mostly displaying solid colours for the upcoming autumn/winter seasons. Maybe that’s the next trend? Lots of black too.
BYO: Tell us about your universe?
Myles: My universe revolves around photography, music, technology, documentaries, movies, philosophy, and of course, fashion. It always surprises people when I tell them I did an engineering degree, am a bit of a geek, listen to metal, and shoot street style. But then again, it’s pretty uncommon for an engineering student to be interested in fashion to begin with from what I’ve seen.
BYO: Who and what inspires you?
Myles: People inspire me. Though it may be such a cliché answer, it’s my answer. I’ve always loved wanting to know people, their ideas and lives, their stories. Not in a gossip magazine kind of way, but more in a documentary sense where you learn about how things works or how some people live the way they live. I’m always amazed by the fact that there are so many people in the world, so many great stories that we’ve probably never heard of or read. And it’s all there, waiting to be discovered and to inspire us.
BYO: What does a typical day for you involve?
Myles: A typical day for me usually involves a lot of reading and watching videos, and uploading a photo a day on my website. I’m an avid consumer of information, regardless of what it’s about. So one minute, I might be catching up on technology news. The next minute, the latest post by a fashion blog I follow. And then after that, watching the news. I always find something to consume so my time flies pretty quickly.
BYO: Favourite designer/artist/photographer?
Myles: Hmm… I can’t pick one absolute person so I’ll divide the answer to three parts.
Favourite designer would definitely be Rick Owens, re: Japanese aesthetics. Though, Svetlana Bevza comes a close second.
Favourite artist…Alphonse Mucha. I love how his artworks fool your mind with the constant battle between the 2D elements and the 3D elements.
Favourite photographer… I’m torn between so many since I love the works of a great number of them. I’ll just list some of them. Otherwise it’ll be too long of a list. Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alex Webb, Trent Parke, Jacob Aue Sobol, Saul Leiter, Guy Bourdin, Norman Parkinson, Helmut Newton, Brian Duffy, William Klein, and of course, Bill Cunningham, the ‘father’ of street style photography.
BYO: Are there other favourite subjects to photograph outside the realm of people and Fashion you love to shoot?
Myles: Not really. I do at times take photos of sceneries and animals, but that’s usually in the context of some personal documentary work that I’d be working on. I spend most of my time either photographing street style or exploring what a camera is capable of creating when the shutter button is pressed.
BYO: What next for Keishikibi?
Myles: Right now, Australia’s Fashion Week is approaching so I’m getting ready for that. Other than that, I’m keen on seeing what I can do with my website besides just taking candid photos of people. I’m also interested in going to other cities around Australia to photograph the street style there. But that’s something I’m contemplating at the moment.
Check out more of Myle’s Street style on: