These images are the work of Kavan the Kid, who shows us the parts of ourselves we don't want to see.
By Beatriz Esquivel
One look at these images and you’ll quickly understand that behind them lies a context related to introspection, as well as emotions and hidden aspects we sometimes try to repress.
This is part of what Kavan the Kid, a Los Angeles-based photographer, creates in each one of his images. By showing figures with their faces covered, sometimes with blindfolds, or dozens of juxtaposed faces surrounding one figure, whose face we can see, the photographer hints at the inner struggle that viewers could be experiencing.
The emotional portrait in each one of his photomontages is the result of his desire to express himself, which was his main motivation to get into photography. He explains that:
Photography has always been my escape, my home away from home. I’ve always been drawn to photomontage because I love the idea that you can tell a story in one image. You can create an entire emotion and world through a surreal world that can pertain to the natural one we live in.
In this way, we can see that in his photography, he is usually the main character, so his self-portrait series expresses his main interests literally and metaphorically: self-reflection, the weight of society, and depression, which he tends to represent through a sense of emptiness and disenchantment.
His creative process has changed over the years; at the beginning, every photograph involved a certain degree of freedom, so that the object would take on a life of its own. However, nowadays, his process involves much more planning, drafting every image, and long hours dedicated to editing and crafting each scene, so that they capture our attention.
The way he tackles these three main themes has a lot to do with the fact that his photography is eminently dark, a quality that he achieves through surrealism and the union of figures that rattle the viewer. Nevertheless, in the midst of this alienation, there’s also a significant degree of relatability. Whether it’s through the use of masks on the internet and social media to meet the expectations of people we might not even know; the feeling of weariness produced by problems in our personal life or the pain caused by uncertainty.
Thus, his photographs are extremely visceral, and once we look beyond the figures covered in colored cloaks, we discover a world of emotions most of us have felt at least once in our lives, whether it’s a passing bout of sadness or a dangerous downward spiral of depression.
As dark as his photographs may seem, they also fulfill a clear purpose: by the visual and graphic expression of emotions, both photographer and viewer can arrive at a purge of sorts. The artists expresses the feeling, while the viewer can project and even feel an understanding that forms an empathetic bond in those who have felt pain, loneliness, or sadness. In other words, art produces a certain catharsis.
“Photography is my escape.”
Images courtesy of Kavan the Kid.
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