Creative Spirit Kim Leiske

Kimberly Leiske is an international teacher from Vancouver, British Columbia residing and teaching in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  She loves to travel and explore new places and as a result loves to capture moments through photography.  She loves people and learning about various cultures and ways of life.  As a teacher, she loves to bring her experiences into the classroom to share and inspire her students, families and colleagues.  She believes that learning from others and being inspired from others is essential.

Hi Kim! Would you please describe your project to Artist Strong readers?Photo 365 is an individual photo project in which I began on January 1, 2011 as I was ending a little trip in India.  It requires commitment to taking one photograph each day for the entire year.  As the photographs are posted on FLICKR, there is an opportunity to view and be inspired by others who are taking part in the same photo project.  As an expat living overseas, it is a great way for family and friends to follow my daily life without having to write many paragraphs on a daily basis.  It has been a fun opportunity!

Photo by Kim Leiske All Rights Reserved

What motivated or inspired your project?

I was motivated to begin this project by a friend of mine while living in Beirut, Lebanon who had already taken part in this project for 3 consecutive years.  I have always loved photography and wanted to improve my skills and be part of something that required commitment and creativity.  Once I began, a couple of friends began as well and we had a great time viewing photographs taken each day. When living as an expat in another country, it is fun to be able to add creativity and perspective to your daily experience.

How do you balance your goal of this larger project with everyday life (job, hobbies, etc.)?This project is integrated with moments throughout the day.  It is really about being open to capture a moment, any moment, when the opportunity arises.  It may mean that I carry around my camera throughout the day and some moments that are captured and less interesting than others, but really it is all about the perspective that is seen within the frame of the photo.  Any moment can be creative and everything has a little story to tell.
Do you think this project is helping you celebrate creativity in your everyday? How?Absolutely!  It allows me to be creative each day while embracing each moment with a set of creative eyes.  I find that this creativity is influenced in other aspects of my life as well and it makes each day a little more fun.

Photo by Kim Leiske All Rights Reserved

Is there something you wish you knew when you started this project that you now do?

I have learned that not every moment is significant.  Some days are more interesting than others, and thus I am able to photograph and share an interesting or exciting story.   I have learned that sometimes the most creative photos are from still moments where the action or event is often quite mundane.  This is normal.  Life is not always in the spotlight everyday.  Also, when in doubt, always carry a camera.  One never knows what opportunities become present throughout the day.

Any advice for people interested in photography?Have fun!  Commit to something creative and have fun doing it.  It does not matter what it is.  You will notice how your vision and skills improve throughout time.

What kind of camera do you use? What is your favorite lens?I use a Canon T2i.  This is the same as the Canon D550.  It was a gift last year and I used it on the second day of my project.  It’s fun!  I am still experimenting with various lenses but I would really like to be the owner of a wide angle lens one day.  I love how so much can be offered in the view finder when working with a wide angle lens.

Do you have a favorite time of day to take photographs? Why?Definitely morning.  I am a morning person and I love taking photos in the morning as it captures the many possibilities of the day.  On top of that, the lighting is nice.  I also enjoy the lighting right before sunset.  Those are my favorite times.

Photo by Kim Leiske All Rights Reserved

When you take photographs, is there something that generally draws your attention, or something that you look for?Good question.  I love to travel and explore new places, so I generally am drawn to moments that tell a cultural story of some sort- something significant that one is not able to recognize from home.  I also love color and close ups of something significant from that place- such moments in a market or people.  These tend to be the most significant common threads of my photographs.
How do you deal with the project on days when life is so busy or you just don’t “feel it?”This has been challenging for me the last couple of months as my life and work balance have been completely distorted.  It reminds me that even though life offers its fair share of great times and great moments, there are also the moments of the mundane routine.  Perhaps this allows each of us to truly appreciate the great moments when they are in our life.  It is also a great reminder that balance is key.  At times like this, I had to be creative with still objects from both home and work as those where the two main venues in my life.  I am looking forward to more balance and creativity in the new year.
Has this project changed your outlook on what it means to be creative? How?Absolutely!  This project instilled creativity into my life.  There is potential for creativity everywhere!  Taking part in this project committed me to integrate creativity into my daily life.  For this, I am grateful.

How are you going to celebrate the completion of your project?

Good question.  This project terminates at the end of the year, so naturally it will offer moments of reflection and inspiration.  I plan to spend the last day of the year with some good friends so I will ensure that they are in my photograph as a reminder of the connections and fun that are important in life.  I will also be sure to look through the year in photos and remember each moment when the photos were taken.  There has been a lot of positive change in my life this past year, so examining the photographs will be a little trip down memory lane.  I will be sure to share the entire year with friends and family as I know they have enjoyed viewing the photographs each day.  The inspiration and commitment of the project have definitely inspired me and I am grateful to have taken part in this experience.
Want to see more of Kim’s photos? Click HERE. Artist Strong thanks Kim for sharing her experience with Project 365 and hopes her goal for 2011 breeds goals and creativity for you in 2012! Best wishes and Happy New Year!!!