Kelly Graham is Not Worried

Leading up to the release of “NIGHTED Life 9: Gone” on March 1st, we’re posting one interview a day with each contributor. In this zine, 8 shooters respond with photos and writing to one of three questions.

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to dying?

What do you want done with your body when you die?

Which death has had the biggest impact on your life and why?

1. Without going into detail, can you share which question you decided to answer for NL9?
“Which death has had the biggest impact on your life and why?”

2. Where did you grow up? What was it like?
Grayling, Michigan. “The Heart of the North.” It’s a highway town of just over 1,800 people that rely heavily on outdoors-related tourism. Everyone goes to the same middle school, the same high school. Everybody knows everybody. I started playing guitar when I was 13 and fell in with a group of people who also loved and played rock and roll. Our hangout was the local skatepark, which had a loft where all of our bands practiced. It was in a building that previously housed a Fred Bear museum. I feel like that’s a pretty accurate representation of the town:  this whole modern subculture living in this building that had honored a famous bow hunter and subject of a tribute song by Ted Nugent. Nowadays, Grayling has great coffee shops, craft beer breweries and a fantastic record store. When I was a teenager, though, the closest record store was 45 minutes away. I’m glad to see it continually growing.

3. What types of situations do you find you point your lens towards most commonly? Where was your head at while compiling shots for NL9?
What I am looking for when I shoot can be pretty fluid. Lately I’ve been thinking, ‘If I were to never be in this place again, what would I want to remember? What do I feel a connection with,  that I would also probably forget about without a photo of it to look back on?’
I love to catch things that make me feel a strange sadness. It can be something that’s a result of human behavior I find peculiar, or something that makes me feel nostalgic. Sometimes things come together perfectly in a way I can’t explain, but I know it when I see it. I also love shooting in that moment between an inhale and an exhale and I love when I can convey that emotion. I can find a bit of melancholy in many of my photos.
For NL9, I was focused on portraying multiple types of death.

4. What role does photography play in your day-to-day life?
It is something I am thinking about almost constantly. I’m observing and watching everything with it in mind. It’s often my main reason for going anywhere. It has been helpful in that aspect. I tend to feel overstimulated easily and prefer to be more of a hermit, but living that way can also feed into general anxiety and even depression at times. Photography helps keep me balanced.

5. In 10 words or less, what do you think truly – as far as you can explain or imagine – happens to a person after death?
Haven’t yet decided, but not worried.

Instagram: @kellygrahvm