Karis Beaumont is a British-born Jamaican photographic artist shaping the world one shot at a time. The 24-year-old creative has been honing her craft for several years, creating many eye-grabbing and culture-defining moments for fans alike to enjoy. When it comes to Karis, her vision is helping people see the bigger picture.
Speaking on her mission, Karis shared, “I’m trying to fill in that void and bridge that gap. I want to bring attention to unheard communities because I feel like all history is important. In the future, I want people to be able to look back on it.”
This week’s behind the lens features Karis Beaumont as she discusses falling in love with photography, documenting Black Britain, and leaving an impact through her work amongst other things. Read the full interview below.
How did you initially get into photography?
It was curiosity, to be honest with you. A couple of weeks after I had my dyslexia diagnosis, I received a camera for my birthday then I went to Jamaica and shot around. Quite a lot of people were receptive to what I was doing. At the time, I was in contact with the founders of GUAP Magazine, and eventually, I began to do more for them as far as promoting their launch. They offered to make me their photographer and as much as I was uncomfortable with that responsibility at the time, I just went with it because what do I have to lose.
Since then, I’ve just fallen in love with photography even more. I’m still here and even upon reflection, I used to look at a lot of photobooks when I was younger. I think I’ve always gravitated towards it but I never pictured myself doing it because there weren’t many visible Black photographers.
How would describe your style?
I’d describe it as honest. If there were three keywords to describe my work, I would say emotion, diaspora, and beauty.
In regards to photography, what inspires your work?
For me, I like to shoot what I see. Something that inspires me is my Jamaican heritage down to our style, influences, and music. Around the time I found out I had dyslexia, I came to realize I had music color synesthesia so when I listen to music I see colors. I can’t really describe how it helps my work but music definitely plays a part in the things I create.
As a Black photographer in the UK, do you have to face any obstacles or roadblocks in pursual of success?
I would definitely say so. The UK is so small and the main place you have to go to be seen is in London. That scene is already small but when there are big jobs, the photographers are usually signed to an agency. So it is a bit difficult to navigate for me and as much as I want to be seen over here, I am seeking a global breakthrough. I like to fly around and see other industries and see where I go. It is a bit difficult over here but it’s getting there I’d say. I just make are I do my own thing so I don’t haven’t rely too much on the industry.
What type of impact do you want your work to leave?
One of the bodies of work that I focus on is documenting present-day Black Britain. When we speak about Black Britain, the narrative is usually very London centric. However, when it comes to mainstream education or celebration, we’re not really mentioned. For me, I’m trying to fill in that void and bridge that gap. I want to bring attention to unheard communities because I feel like all history is important. In the future, I want people to be able to look back on it.
What do the conversations consist of when you speak with your clients?
It really varies, up until last year I was doing projects off back zones. If I’m working with friends, we might bounce ideas off of each other. I think a lot of the time, the vision is there but I’m pretty much spiritually led. I’ll mentally prepare or have an idea on how it’s going to look, but in terms of how it happens, it all happens spiritually and the next minute magic is being created.
What advice would you give to up and coming artist that would’ve saved you a lot of time?
Shoot with intention and shoot what you see, not what you think people want. I’m pretty sure we’re all firm believes that from conception, we were all made unique. We all have a unique vision and have something to offer. I’d say just bask in your authenticity because when the clarity is there, people can feel it. Just go for it and trust the process, the more you play on your instinct you’ll see how your artistic language develops.
If you enjoyed our chat with Karis Beaumont, check out our behind the lens with Jayprob.