ASPIRE: indies taking the world by storm / Keira


"i remember when i first started instagram," Keira recalls with a grin, "i had this big plan about what photos I would post but i ended up saving hardly any of them. I deleted a lot of early work. but in retrospect, and as I develop more in my photography, i've come to realize that there's a lot to be said of including your early work - and letting people see that part of the journey. That's actually what inspires people, when you make yourself attainable."

this was one of the first topics to open mine and Keira's wholesome, organic (and happily long) skype call. if there was one thing i took away from our conversation, it would be that 'authenticity' is Keira's anthem. she believes in it - firmly. and it carries over into every project she tackles.

"there’s a difference between having all of yourself out there on social media verses some of yourself. there is that balance between your brand and your life, and that's okay. for me I know there’s things i don’t talk about online. but when i do decide to post something, i want it to represent who i am, and what i want to bring to the world," Keira elaborated, then summed it up: "authenticity is a big thing for me."


Keira is pure, organic energy; long hair, a genuine smile, and sparkling eyes that reflect her fast-paced, creative, and seeking mind. Keira is not a small talker - our conversation was a 'grab-your-snorkel-gear-and-lets-go' kind; Keira's idea of good conversation can be found in topics covering art, genuine ways of living, spirituality, and music. this is actually one of the catalysts behind her new (and beautiful) blog Close to Nothing.

"i like to use my blog to inspire people to have conversations…" Keria begins thoughtfully. "That's kind of a passion of mine. I like talking about creativity and theology and changing culture. That’s what i want to use my blog for."

blended with these rich and complex discussions, Keira shares her passion projects: photography, writing, and music.

"you're such a multi-talented person, and that's honestly amazing," i say, the gears in my head turning as i wonder where to start. "i'm always so inspired by the beautiful snapshots you share on instagram, so let's start there. when did you get inspired to dive into photography? was there a defining ah-hah moment?"

Keira considers this for a moment and then smiles, "i went to a concert in 2015. I remember deciding to photograph this concert - which actually went against my introverted nature a bit. i typically like being in the background, not up front, and with photography, there's a constant need to be in the thick of fast-paced events. i remember being instantaneously inspire:. the lights, the visuals, the blending of the music - photography combines all of those beautiful visual and technical aspects. i remember feeling really elated when i was driving home, pondering all the possibilities of what i could do - and being really inspired to combine music and photography."


if you know Keira from her blog or social media, you probably know that this young woman is a bit of a soundtrack guru. not going to lie here - i've discovered some seriously good scores thanks to her. the point is, Keira is passionate about blending art forms: music and visual art. writing and visuals - writing and music. why not? why box ourselves into a certain genre or one particular label?

this is what i love about Keria (ok, scratch that, one of the many things) when i ask what genre she writes, she crinkles her nose and says:

"I don’t like labels/genres… I don’t necessarily define my books by genres."

I laugh "i can so relate to that."

"right? There’s always that comparison with published authors, and trying to fit within perimeters that already exist. it's important to realize that their draft was just as messy as mine was, but i will never see their drafts and I’m always hard on my work because I have this really really high standard for fiction. I compare the first draft to a finished draft - and that's not an accurate way to look at your writing."

and on that topic, Keira says that while she writes fiction (she did nano this november) and finds that photographs often inspire her fiction, she considers herself to be more of a nonfiction writer. "my non fiction writing is often inspired by reading other non fiction or seeing something online. I think my photography is a bit divided from my writing. but there's an overlap with my instagram: i take a picture and often something i've been thinking about will just fit for a caption. I can see my writing and photography intersecting more in the future."


"if someone asked you why you’re passionate about photography, how would you answer that question?"

"at the core it really boils down to that i love aesthetics and all things visual. ever since i was a kid, i would go get pictures off the internet and use an old microsoft program to put bible verses on photos. I love making things look really pretty!" she laughs.

"But honestly, that is so worthy. that may not sound like a huge reason, but if you think about anything we see out there that sparks inspiration, a lot of times it's stunning, thought-provoking, and beautiful photos. the world needs beauty. that's why so many people love stuff like pinterest i think."

"exactly. and it's an art - a method of storytelling. there's that old adage, 'a picture is worth a thousand words.' it's easy to glaze over that, but honestly, a photograph can tell a story."

speaking of pinterest, here's a glimpse at one of Keira's boards from her latest WIP, The Water is Wide:





"as an indie artist, you have a really beautiful and authentic way of presenting your work on social media. can you name some ways that people be more authentic when presenting themselves online? and what are some pitfalls/mistakes people make when it comes to presenting themselves on social?"

"i think it’s really important to show your journey rather than always back-tracking and editing yourself - cleaning up. let people see that you had a journey as well. and trust people when they say it’s good!"

keira and i both laughed and discussed this one a bit. we chatted about how it's often so hard to accept people's compliments. oftentimes we'll say 'thank you' but in our heads we're thinking 'they're just saying that to be nice - it's not that good' and we let our own self-judgement dull the kind - and genuine - words of others.

"in my head i’m doubting what they’re saying," Keira recalls, "if someone says it’s good it’s good - you need to just accept it and move on. that’s the problem. that's the biggest struggle: you can’t see your work is authentic and others can."

"while we're talking about how we view our own artwork as indies, in one of your latest blog posts, you talk about not shaming beginner work - what’s some advice you would give to indie artists on that topic?"

"i would say that it’s really hard to just give somebody advice and think that’s going to make it better. i remember when i hated my work and i would read books about not hating it." Keira laughs in retrospect, but the words run deep. "if you keep going you’ll realize your work has taught you things, and oftentimes, disliking your own work or performance is a season you’ll grow through and out of. the important thing is to just keep making art and don't worry about it. comparing yourself to other people's work is not helpful at all unless you’re looking for help with a technical aspect to aid you in your own work."

"right, like tutorials and asking for advice or feedback from someone you respect."

Keira nods. "I think that it’s not something that comes overnight. i think back to when i hated my work it was like a ditch i couldn't get out of but i eventually crawled out of it. the solution is not one-size-fits-all, but it does go away - you have to keep pushing through it. focus on creating more art instead of comparing it. if you don’t like it go make something else! don’t give yourself time to sit in that self doubt. and i know it’s hard to not go back and check. It gives you that feeling of validation but it can also raise all sorts of questions/doubt. it's a balance you have to find. it's okay to be glad someone liked something you made, but your validation doesn't hinge on that."



"okay, let's bring this home. Keira, what are some of the things you like about photography the best - and what are some things it’s taught you?"

"oh man, that's a broad one, let's see," she taps her chin thoughtfully, "i like the visuals, i always have, and i think the technical aspect is really appealing to me because you get to manipulate light and shadow. there’s so many things you can do with lights and reflections. it’s kind of a solitary profession… i like just locking myself in my bedroom and throwing stuff on my bed and listening to music and taking photos for hours."

Keira smiles, and then wraps it all up poignantly:

"I have learned to value films, and other artist's photography even more - the time and effort they put in. it’s taught me to view the world as a beautiful place and to appreciate things and landscapes. to recognize the good and beautiful things and appreciate them more. i love this quote by mary oliver that really sums it up for me: "maybe our world will grow kinder eventually. maybe the desire to make something beautiful is the piece of God that is inside each of us."







19 comments

  1. This is just beautiful and so true. Balance, perspective, and just keeping the authenticity. Definitely something we can all learn from. I love this series, Kate. Thank you!

    ~Ivie|Ivie Writes

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    1. So glad you're enjoying the series, Ivie! I'm thrilled you were inspired by this post <3

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  2. Love this post! I'm feeling pretty inspired right about now. :)

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    1. WOOHOO! So glad, Evangeline. <3 thanks for reading!

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  3. SO lovely!! This was really inspiring. <33

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    1. I'm so glad this could inspire you, Amelia! Thanks for reading <3

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  4. I love this! Keria's photography is so beautiful, and her blog is awesome too!!

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    1. Thank you, Hanne! Right? I couldn't agree more - I love Keira's work!

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  5. This series is so good ahhhh I love how you wrote this!! Just followed Keria!

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    1. Thank you so much, Nabila! I'm so glad you're enjoying the series! Glad you followed Keira, she is one awesome chicka!

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  6. I LOVE these posts! They are amazing and sooo good.
    Feeling blessed to read them. <3

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    1. AHHH I AM so thrilled you're enjoying them, Kara Lynn! Your sweet comment put a smile on my face this morning. :) <3

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  7. I honestly think that this is my favorite series in the blogosphere right now. You capture people with the most beautiful, natural authenticity, and I love it. I love your style, and I love you.

    (Also, can we all just agree that Keira is the cutest, most aesthetic human? I love her photography and her sweet spirit so much. <3)

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    1. oh man that is such AN HONOR <3 I am so thrilled you are enjoying the aspire series, Grace Anne! I love you too!!!

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  8. I debated with myself about whether I should comment here ('cause you know, it's about me and all). And I know I already told you a hundred times how special it was to chat with you.

    I just want to say that I feel honored to be here and reading all these comments makes me smile so wide, so thank you thank you everyone.

    cheers.
    k.

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    1. you are seriously the bomb, Keira - it was so so special and such a downright honor to have you on the blog <3 love you, dude

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  9. Wow you really have an eye in photography.

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