We talked to Seattle-based photographer, musician and all around storyteller, Kylie Doebler about how he uses social media to create connections, both personally and professionally through compelling imagery. Sometimes it's about taking nothing and making something out of it.
Different mediums of art bring about different forms of stories and how we tell them — it's all about the tools we use. Photography might spark a different part of our brain than picking up a guitar. As humans, we have the luxury of being inspired by our senses and driven by the need to share with others what we're experiencing. On a creation level, it's about finding the right tools you're using — one particular camera might feel better, one style of guitar gets the tone that you're looking for. On a sharing level, it's finding the right medium to share it through. We sat down with multidisciplinary artist, Kylie Doebler about how he tells stories through photography, how his art breaks through the short life span of an Instagram photo, and how he uses social media to shift his career. Follow his work at: kyliedoebler.com.
Sparkflame: Who are you and what are you doing right now?
Kylie Doebler: My name is Kylie Doebler. I am a freelance musician and photographer based in Seattle, WA. What am I doing right now? I'm trying to decide between Golden Grahams and Rice Chex for breakfast.
S: Do you remember the first photograph you ever took?
KD: I did a study abroad to Cuba during college. I wasn't a photographer then, but I remember taking pictures for my friends and family and feeling a desire to take the best possible pictures I could so they could see what I saw there.
(I went with Rice Chex. Add a little sugar to them and they're delicious.)
S: Why photography over other forms of art?
KD: I'm a musician at heart, but photography satisfies the visual creative side of me. It's a completely new way for me to tell a compelling story.
S: How did you develop your aesthetic?
KD: It's still developing! My aesthetic is a direct correlation to my personality. I love minimalism and really warm tones. I try to convey that in my photographs and editing style.
S: How do you use social media to cultivate a career for yourself? How has it shifted your career?
KD: I use social media as a portfolio and networking tool. It's been a great tool for creating connections and displaying my work to companies. Because of IG, my career has shifted towards the content creation side of advertising and using my creative abilities for others.
S: What makes a good story?
KD: In a grand sense, plot. If you can create a plot that makes the viewer stop and ask questions, you've made a good story.
S: How do you feel social media has helped photography and storytelling?
KD: Social media pushes creatives to be the best they can be at storytelling. An average photo is viewed for about 2 seconds on IG before it is swiped away, but if a picture can get someone to stop serial-scrolling their feed, then they've created a compelling story through imagery.
(Or.. *cereal-scrolling*... I love Rice Chex.)
S: Your photography is very rooted in the NW, how do you feel place influences art?
KD: I was just talking to a friend back in the Midwest about this. I think it's two-fold. It's obvious that people on IG or people buying prints want to see exotic places, but on the opposite end, being a creative means you can take nothing and turn it to something.
S: What would you tell an artist just starting out?
KD: Ask questions! Get connected with fellow artists in your desired field and learn from them. Watch documentaries, YouTube videos, and read books. And obviously, practice your art!
S: What was a defining moment where you knew you were onto something with your photography?
KD: I took a photography class in college, and I loved it. My professor pushed me to own my storytelling skills and the creative process, particularly how to frame an image with only the necessary amount of details and to omit distractions. My desire to take compelling photos just took off from there.