Kent Meister & Leica in the Southeast: Part 1

“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours.” - Richard Bach

Kent Meister shot on Ilford HP5 pushed to 1600 with Leica M7 using a Profoto B10 to light in Piedmond, AL.

Kent Meister shot on Ilford HP5 pushed to 1600 with Leica M7 using a Profoto B10 to light in Piedmond, AL.

INTRO: As photographers, we’re charged to capture the real in the fading reality of life. With media telling us what is real and what is not, who’s to believe one over the other? Who are we in humanity if we can’t just say “fu*k it all” and explore America with unbiased eyes and appreciate the existence of a community as successful and beautiful as it sits?

STORY: Kent Meister and I explored several towns throughout Alabama and Georgia (little intro on that here). We originally meet during a John Keatly workshop in Seattle last year and have stayed in touch ever since. Both being fans of Leica rangefinders we instantly connected and chatted about street & portrait photography. My exploration of the southeast took off the tail end of ‘18 and into ‘19 as you can tell from my Instagram portfolio. Kent got in-touch with me a few weeks into the new year letting me know he would be in Atlanta for a show that he is in and would love to take a day to explore some rural Alabama / Georgia towns with me. I responded with an instant yes and a few weeks later, here we are!

There aren’t a lot of people in this world that I don’t have to work at engaging with. Kent’s demeanor is very similar to mine and an easy win to explore with. We build off of each others creative energy and was very refreshing.

Each one of these photos has a larger story to tell, especially the set of Kyler and his Vape below captured on Kodak Portra 400 in Centre, AL. Kyler is a bus boy in a Mexican restaurant. Kent and I got hungry late afternoon and saw this place. Questioning if we should eat Mexican in rural Alabama, we look at each other then evaluate how many cars are in the parking lot. It’s pretty full so we take the chance. More on that story below.

Here is Kent’s photo set from the exploration session. All photos in this set were captured on Leica M6 using Kodak Trix 400 & Kodak Portra 400 in, around, and between Rome, GA and Piedmont, AL.

The Story of Kyler

We just placed our order and Kyler comes up to us and asks if we’re photographers. We both respond “yes” and Kyler begins to get very interested and excited about that. He asks “Is there money in that? What’s the best way to make money at that? Portraits or landscapes?”. Kent and I look at each other thinking how to answer this. We answer with “Yes. It really depends on what you want to create.” But really in the back of our minds we’re thinking… we’re still figuring that out ourselves kid.

Kyler goes on to asking a few more questions and then Kent says “Well, when do you get off? If you’re free I’ll take a picture of you.” Kyler’s eyes light up!! He get’s pumped and says he goes on break in 10 minutes then goes back to work excited. I look at Kent and say “good call man. I never would have thought to ask for a portrait in this type scenario.” Kent responds with “well if he’s going to pick my brain and eat up my time I might as well get something out of it too.” Pure genius! And led to some amazing shots of Kyler smoking his vape in the back of the restaurant. “Whatcha got in their Kyler” Kent asks. “A little cookies and cream, dez nuts, and vanilla” Kyler responded. I’m literally holding back from busting out laughing. Kyler stated this vape concoction with so much confidence without a care in the world. I loved every minute of it.

Make sure to go check out Kent’s work on his site as well as Instagram. He has two grams I recommend you follow for a different perspective on both sides of his professional and personal work.

Kent Meister