Interview #47: John Kilar


CUS: First of all, the most standard question in the book: how did you get into photography?

John Kilar: I got involved with photography when I moved to Venice from Hollywood. I purchased a camera to document my summer. I was discovering a new city while simultaneously discovering photography and managed to joyously combine the two.


CUS: Tell us a little about where you live. How does your town/city/country affect your photography?

JK: I live in Venice Beach, right on the boardwalk. I'm amidst all the batshit craziness and steps away from the water. It helps me stay sane. I love my environment and the community I'm involved in. This town is full of artists so it's quite easy to find inspiration everywhere you look.


CUS: Do you have a favorite photographer?

JK: I honestly can't say I have a single favorite photographer. I try not to get too tangled up in other peoples work. I do enjoy browsing random blogs and photography magazines.


CUS: Did you study, or are you studying, photography? If not, how did you learn?

JK: I'm self-taught and never had any formal training. I sat in a photography class in college once and walked out the first day, 20 minutes into the lecture. I learned by pointing and shooting. I never go into technical details, I prefer capturing moments in an instinctual manner.


CUS: What are five things you can’t live without?

JK: I don't know about five but the one thing I cannot live without is the Sun.


CUS: Describe your average day.

JK: Wake up, skate down the boardwalk, go by the beach, meditate, read, sleep.


CUS: If you could go anywhere in the world to take photographs where would you go?

JK: Everywhere. Especially exotic locations. I can't wait to travel the world and document it. I have a calling to start off in South America.


CUS: If every photograph should contain one key element, what would it be in your opinion?

JK: Honesty.


CUS: What is your fondest childhood memory?

JK: Hanging out with friends in our neighborhood on "the wall".


CUS: What do you think the world will be like 50 years from now?

JK: A shitshow.


CUS: Do you think that the Internet is a legitimate place to showcase your work?

JK: Yes. It's simple, effective and can reach a broad audience.


CUS: What are your other hobbies besides photography?

JK: The same shit as everyone else. I've been digging deeper into my personal spiritual growth so hobbies tend to become a little irrelevant after a while.


CUS: Where does your inspiration usually come from? 

JK: The beauty of nature and creation.


CUS: What is your favorite book and why?

JK: Women by Bukowski. Reading his books during lectures made college go by a lot quicker.


CUS: Can you provide some background information on the events occurring in your two series entitled "Welcome Home" and "Metropolis"

CI: They're random moments I captured during trips to the Rainbow Gathering and Burning Man.


CUS: What are your plans for the fall?

JK: No concrete plans. I'll be waiting for it to end so it can be 2012 already.

CUS: Our last interviewee, Chelsee Ivan, wants to know: What movie has the best soundtrack?

JK: Space Jam.


CUS: Last but not least, what would you like to ask the next interviewee?

JK: What would you do for a Klondike bar?

John Kilar, b.1986 from Venice, California


Images provided by John Kilar. All rights reserved.