{div}PERRY HALL— If you are from Baltimore County, specifically the Middle River, Perry Hall area, chances are you have seen some of Kevin Moore’s astonishing photographs. Even if you aren’t from the area, you might have seen Moore’s photos in Sports Illustrated or The Steven Colbert Show!

Moore recently added another award to his impressive list of achievements as a photographer by winning 3rd place in the Fall category of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ 2020 Photo Contest.

About 2,500 photos were submitted by 475 photographers in this year’s contest. In addition to the overall grand prize winner, the judges selected first through third place winners in four seasonal categories—winter, spring, summer, and fall.

Moore’s winning photo, ‘Kiteboarder at Assateague’ is of a man gripping his kite strings as his board kicks up into the air—splashing a tail of water behind him that glows with the orange sunset light.

The Avenue News interviewed Moore to learn more about his career as a photographer and to find out what inspires him the most as an artist.

Q: What got you interested in photography? Can you remember your first professional photo you took?

I’ve always been a visual person and took art and design courses in High School and college. I liked the “immediate gratification” of photography and have been shooting since my senior year of high school, over 40 years ago. Yes, I’m old.

My first “professional” photo was taken years ago at a Civil War reenactment at Ballestone Mansion in Essex. It was of a Mother and her three Daughters in Civil War garb. I was fortunate enough to win the Kodak International Snapshot Awards Contest (KINSA) with that image.

Q: What are some of your proudest achievements you have made with your photography?

I’m fortunate to have my photos exhibited in collections like the National Institutes of Health, Harvard University, Adventist Healthcare System, Lockheed Martin and the Smithsonian Institution, as well as in publications like Sports Illustrated and the Boston Review.

In fact, I just had an exhibit of my photos at the NIH (National Institutes of Health) in Bethesda, perfectly timed with the Covid 19 outbreak so very few people saw it. ;)

Probably the “coolest” moment was when one of my photos appeared on the Steven Colbert show. Colbert was talking about climate change. “No region spared. The entire country would become an uninhabitable wasteland — not just Baltimore,” he said, displaying an image of boarded-up rowhouses in the background ( Moore’s photo).

I have photographs licensed by Getty Images, evidently his art director found my photo there. In addition to my other photography, I like shooting in the more depressed areas of Baltimore, abandoned row-houses etc.., and they tend to be the more popular one’s on Getty.

Q: What subject do you like to photograph the most?

I like a variety of genres, People, Street, Sports, Wildlife, Landscape, Urbex (urban exploration.) Anything that gets me out and about, it’s almost like a sport sometimes, trying to be in the right place for the decisive moment of an image.

Q: What do you hope people take away when they see your photos?

Ideally, I’d like them to have a reaction, any reaction. Whether it’s comfort from a beautiful landscape, or concern or empathy from an image of a homeless person. A photo is successful if it makes you think, or feel.

Q: Is photography your main job or is it a hobby?

It’s a hobby/side job for me, my day job is a graphic designer at Lockheed Martin. Occasionally I have the opportunity to photograph there, and I’m always looking at other photographers work as a part of my job in visual communications. When people ask me if I’m a pro or amateur, I always answer “amateur.” I recently found out that “amateur’ roughly translates to “one who loves what they do.”

Q: How do you think your photos capture the uniqueness of Maryland and specifically Baltimore County?

Baltimore County has so many thing to offer a photographer: events, sports, scenic locations. The past few years I’ve especially enjoyed going to North Point State Park for bird photography and shooting the steeplechase races and polo matches in Northern Baltimore County.

Q: Where were you when you took your latest photo that was one of the winners of the MDNR contest? Did you do any editing to the photo or is the lighting in the photo natural?

Assateague Island is one of my favorite places and I try to visit whenever I can. On this visit I arrived a little late, but was lucky to see there were a few kite-boarder’s on Sinepuxant Bay. We were blessed with a nice sunset that evening which provided some drama to the photo. The lighting was all natural but I added some contrast in post processing.

Q: Do you have any advice for people who are looking to get into photography? Any advise for people who have been taking professional photos for many years who feel like they are lacking the creativity they once had?

Just like any art, photography has to be learned, and practiced – a lot. It is a trial and error process, we all start at the bottom and build our way up. Don’t worry about getting the best camera or lenses, that’s less important in the beginning than developing ones “eye.” The best camera is the one you have with you, an iPhone is great...just get out there and shoot.

Once you feel you’re ready, invest in some good equipment and become proficient in flash and off-camera lighting. There are plenty of online sites to post your photos and get constructive criticism and inspiration.

As far as breaking out of a creative rut I have a few suggestions. First-off, get out of your comfort zone. Shoot something different, or shoot in a different way or with different equipment. Give yourself a photo assignment, shoot a particular theme, or color, or using only one lens.. Try a Daily Photo project. Commit to taking one photo a day of something you wouldn’t normally shoot, this helps you see in a different way.

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