Kingsley is one of those kids that’s lucky enough to have it from the get go, barely needing any advice or critique—an editor’s dream. In saying that, he isn’t one to rest on his laurels—the progression of his imagery both skate and otherwise has been immense, maintaining the same enthusiasm he began with. That self motivation Kingsley has is vital, it can be tough getting noticed all the way over here in New Zealand but he seems to be doing a pretty good job.—Jake Mein
How old are you and where do you live currently and where are you from?
I’m 20 years old. I’m from Auckland, New Zealand and have never left.
How long have you been shooting skating and what got you into it?
I’ve been shooting skateboarding for about four years now. I got into it in high school while I was doing a photography class. I went halves with my Dad to buy a cheap DSLR camera, so thankful for that, and watched endless amounts of YouTube videos on how to use it. I was a full blown skate nerd at the time and did nothing else in my spare time, so when it came time to pick a subject to shoot while I was at school of course I chose skateboarding which every teacher hated. I ended up getting forced to take photos of other subject matter because there was “no future in skateboard photography.”
I kept shooting skating almost every weekend. It basically just snowballed from there. I’d shoot a bunch of photos almost every weekend and bug the staff at my local magazine to put them on their website. I got put into contact with a couple of pretty decent skateboarders in New Zealand including Lenard Tejada and we ended up getting a Bones ad in the magazine a couple months later. I ended up leaving school and studying commercial photography at uni, learning how to use studio equipment and how to get a commercial photography job. I still kept shooting skateboarding all the way through this trying to learn more and more. After a few dozen pointers, broken gear and a couple of years later I’m still shooting skate photos and loving it.
Is there one photograph or photographer that inspired you to take up photography?
There’s definitely a lot of photographers that have inspired me along the way. It’s hard to not mention Jake Darwen and Dave Chami, both being New Zealanders. We’d always have a subscription of Manual Magazine at my school library, I spent a bunch of time there looking at all Jake’s work in that magazine plus studying almost every Instagram the guy makes. The dude’s a genius, rips on a skateboard too. Also dudes like Matt Price, Jacob Messex, Jake Mein here in New Zealand. He does some amazing stuff with skateboarding and medium format film. Mike Blabac and almost every photo of Kalis or Danny Way. You really can’t beat the Love Park tre flip. Outside of skateboarding I’ve collected a bunch of books from Jeanloup Sieff, a french fashion photographer. Which continues to inspire me everyday.
What’s the best and worst advice you’ve been given on photography?
Possibly one of the best things someone said to me regarding photography was my tutor at Uni told me, “Try your hardest with everything you do because you don’t want to look back on your life when you’re 45 and fat thinking how talented you were at 18.” The worst was probably hands down my high school teachers telling me to give up shooting photos and to try get a “real job.”
Do you have a favorite photo of your own?
Definitely this photo of Lenard Tejada. It was the first image that I got published in a magazine. I remember going to almost every book store in my town to try to find a copy of the mag and was unbelievably stoked. I took the magazine to the skatepark that weekend and surprised Lenard with it. It was the first time he had seen it in person, was the best feeling to share with Lenard, made us pretty good friends.
What’s the most interesting story behind one of your photos?
This photo of my good friend Simon Rex. I don’t know if you’d call it interesting but definitely meaningful. We had tried to shoot this same image two years earlier. He ended up giving up trying because he was too scared of slipping out and hitting me on the other side of the rail as I was pushed up against a wall with nowhere to go to avoid his board, I would either take a board to my fish or to my face. This spot was ten minutes from my house and I’d look at it everyday, trying to talk people into trying something on it. Two years later he came back to Auckland after being in Sweden for a year, I was desperately trying to get a photo of him published as he was about to fly back to Stockholm again. I brought up this spot one afternoon when we were skating. I knew it would most likely make a sick photo. We went back to the spot, I set up all my gear and pretty much forced Simon into trying it. I knew he had it pretty easy. The photo ended up getting used in Manual Magazine and got released days before he flew out. It was such a good feeling to get a photo published that both of us were stoked on and to share it with someone I’d been friends with and grown up skating with was even better.
What advice would you give to up and coming skate photogs?
I’m still constantly bugging people via email for advice but some I could give is, don’t be afraid to be that annoying kid at the skatepark asking people to shoot photos. Most of the time they’ll be as stoked as you and say yes. Also don’t be in a rush to post to Instagram, things get lost on the web so easily these days.
Best thing about shooting in your hometown:
Probably just the people really. Everyone’s super nice, 90-percent of the time there is always someone to skate with no matter what. You’ll have a good time shooting and skating if you’re watching someone huck down a set of stairs or even if you’re just having a lazy beer at the skatepark.
Do you prefer digital or film?
It’s hard to say, film definitely has its place and is so rewarding to shoot with. The energy and the imperfections that are captured in film photos is a thing of beauty. I 100-percent love picking up a freshly shot roll from being developed and seeing photos from a month ago you had completely forgot about. I feel like there’s nothing better than a good hijinx film photo of someone playing up. But with the way digital is moving and how easy it is to shoot a photo, edit it in photoshop and send it off all in one day with no real cost apart from the gear you own is too easy.
What’s in your camera bag?
Canon 5d Mark III
Canon Ef 50mm 1.4
Canon Ef 85mm 1.8
Sigma 15mm Fisheye
Tokina 10-17mm Fisheye
1x Lumedyne 400w/s Action Pack
1x Nikon Sb 25
1x Nikon Sb 600
2x Pocket Wizard Plus X
1x Pocket Wizard TT1
1x Pocket Wizard Plus II
Wax + Skate Tool