Kelly Hammond is a cinematographer who we've had our eyes on for the past few years. His imagery has a certain rawness that in turn makes his work feel super authentic. He's got a love for celluloid and is invested in the film community, with Stepchild rental house as a great example of those passions coming to the forefront.
What do you enjoy most about your process of making images?
The process shifts from each type of shot I'd say. I love shooting fast pace subjects where you have to be ready to get the moment and you can anticipate the moment or frame you’re looking for. Recently I’ve been trying to challenge myself more when capturing landscapes or B-roll. It takes so much to compose a landscape but when you get it right it is extremely rewarding.
"I love shooting fast pace subjects where you have to be ready to get the moment and you need to anticipate the frame you're looking for."
How does being a cinematographer influence how you go about your day to day life?
I think subconsciously I notice some aspects of light. I say subconsciously because it’s not all the time or to the point that it’s all I focus on. I’d probably say I notice shadows more so then anything.
Where is one place that your lens has taken you that you otherwise might not have gone without a camera in your hand?
I recently had the opportunity to go to Ghana, Africa and document an incredible group of young surfers. I never thought Ghana was a place that I would ever go. Not for any specific reason but I’m so grateful that it happened. Another time I shot at a maximum security prison. The feeling of being there was terrifying to say the least. And I never thought I would ever find myself behind the fences of a prison [laughs].
"I think it’s impossible to be creative at every moment of the day. And if you constantly are trying you will burn out. That’s something I faced a lot last year."
It is difficult to stay creative at every moment of every day; how do you find inspiration off set to stay creative and remain energized to continue capturing impactful images?
I think it’s impossible to be creative at every moment of the day. And if you constantly are trying you will burn out. That’s something I faced a lot last year. I find that for me the best way to stay creative is to be able to escape it to rest your self. I ride my bike almost everyday and it helps me just think about everything. But when I search and need inspiration, I’ve been finding it recently in photobooks. I’ve always been drawn to images taken around the 1960s.
What are you trying to do differently with Stepchild? Who’s behind it? Why did you feel the need to start a rental business?
With Stepchild, we are trying to combine analog tech with the newest and most advanced support systems to achieve shots that are unique. Giuseppe LoTempio and I founded it together. He’s an amazing producer and AC.
In San Diego, there’s only a couple rental houses and almost nowhere to prep your gear before you shoot. All of those are in LA, which isn’t a terrible drive but it’s far enough where if you forget something you don’t want to go back. We also want to be able to teach people how to shoot film. It has a learning curve, and with a few mistakes here and there it can get expensive quick!Ultimately our goal with Stepchild is it to not only have a large catalog of unique pieces of equipment but also create a place where you can hangout and meet some likeminded people.
Kelly Hammond is a cinematographer based in Southern California.