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Life and Work with Kimberly Crist

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kimberly Crist.

Kimberly, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in Columbus, Ohio where I always had a camera in my hand. Through high school and college, my favorite moments were when I would find myself working in the darkroom. I’ve always loved the anticipation of waiting to see how a roll of film turned out, creating contact sheets, and the overall peace of mind and stillness that exists in that space. Shortly after college, I moved out to Denver where I worked in the service industry, using creativity in a different way behind a small cocktail bar. Pretty soon after the move, I always found myself on trails or rushing out after work at 2 am to drive up mountain passes for sunrise. Living that way, where you’re working 10 hour days and always out of town, making it hard to make friends in a new city until social media started taking off. I started sharing photos from hikes and adventures around the state and through that, I was about to connect with people who also pursued outdoor and creative passions. Eventually, the opportunity arose to quit bartending to pursue freelance photography full-time!

Has it been a smooth road?
There are always challenges that come with working freelance and I think it’s important to be aware of what those are and focus on the positive ways to work around them. I had a problem with comparing my work and never feeling creative enough, until I took a step back to see why I was feeling that way, and how I could change it. I found new creative outlets and challenges to keep myself engaged in my own work, instead of others.

I think the most important advice I could offer is to find your community! The female photography community in Denver is unlike any other I’ve ever seen and there are always people who will take five minutes out of their day to help answer a question.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Kimberly Crist Photography – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I just love making people feel good about themselves. As women, so many of us grow up with poor self-esteem and body image issues and it wasn’t until I was in my 20’s thinking “I don’t want to die knowing I spent my entire life hating my body” that I began to turn that around. I started carrying my camera on hikes, stepping in front of the lens every once in a while, and using it as a way to stay engaged with what my body was capable of doing. That is all I ever want from my work is to connect people with themselves and with their reality, be that with their partner or their business or their product. I think showcasing and telling peoples stories, the life and raw emotion behind all of that is why I do what I do.

There’s a wealth of academic research that suggests that a lack of mentors and networking opportunities for women has materially affected the number of women in leadership roles. Smart organizations and industry leaders are working to change this, but in the meantime, do you have any advice for finding a mentor and building a network?
I can’t thank social media enough for the people it has introduced me to. I actually just returned from a road trip out to California with Caitlin Fullam and Stevi McNeill, two local female photographers that I didn’t know until we spent 6 days together traveling around the desert. Being able to work creatively with women in the same field is an invaluable experience and I don’t think it hurts to just reach out to people whose work you admire!

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Image Credit:
Kimberly Crist

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