For our next Taikan By campaign, we’ve teamed up with Kiko Cunnigham, a Vancouver based photographer, originally from Calgary. She explores the new collection in collaboration with photographer (polaroids) Jess Wong with their unique aesthetic, and mesmerizing use of locations and muses.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I grew up in Calgary, Alberta which is the kind of place where you tell people that you want to pursue a career in art and they ask you what your plan B is. After high school I moved Vancouver and went to University where I lasted approximately 3 months before realizing that I was completely miserable and art deprived. Dropping out of school was by far the scariest thing I have ever done, but also the most liberating. Things started falling into place after that and since then I’ve been doing everything that I wanted to do, fearlessly.
Who are your biggest photography inspirations?
Henrik Purienne hands down. His photos are so effortlessly intimate. Nothing about his work is overdone or distracting. It’s simple and it’s really really good.
Outside of photography, what are some of your other influences?
My friends and life in general I think. Some of my favorite photos that I’ve taken are single point and shoot frames of my friends where i’m like “HOLD ON DON’T MOVE”. It’s this split moment where you’re able to recognize beauty in something that you’re consciously experiencing and how important it suddenly becomes to capture that. I want my photos emanate that feeling.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
Japan. I’m half japanese so its half home to me. It’s enchanting and it’s beautiful. There’s nowhere quite like it.
Where was your favorite place to shoot photos? Why?
I’ll shoot anywhere so long as it’s beautiful and has good light.
How does social media play a role in your photography?
It does entirely! Since I started taking photos my instagram has become my portfolio, linkedin, and source of inspiration. It’s allowed me to feel connected to photographers, models, and other visual artists all over the world.
You could hang with anyone dead or alive… Who would it be? Where would you go? What would you do?
Michelle Obama. We would go to her place because it’s probably nicer than mine, we’d talk about our feelings, and then she would teach me everything there is to know about being a super strong, successful woman.
You can choose three albums to listen to for the rest of your life.. Go!
Rocket by (Sandy) Alex G, High Violet by The National, and All Eyez On Me by 2pac
Who are you listening to right now?
He Venido by Los Zafiros
What does your daily routine look like? Or do you have a daily ritual?
10:00am: Accidently sleep in- not by a lot, but enough to be very rushed.
10:30am: Half-ass put on makeup and accidently forget to fill in the other eyebrow
11:00am: Get to work RIGHT ON TIME (in case my boss is reading this)
12:00am: Answer emails, plan shoots for the week, zone out for a sec, zone back in, coffee, work, work , work.
What camera(s) do you use and why?
I don’t think I’ve really found “my camera” yet. Everything I do is on 35mm film and I’ve been playing around with a couple different cameras. I’ve been using my Konica Big mini and Canon WP1 a lot recently, and a Leica M6 when my friend lets me borrow his haha.
Do you have a 3:00am guilty pleasure snack?
Tell us a funny story about yourself?
I came home one night after having one or maybe twelve beers and decided that I was going to make pizza pops. So I heated them up and everything, brought them to bed with me, and I guess I had fallen asleep before I could eat them because I woke up to two perfectly cold pizza pops resting peacefully beside my face on my pillow.
Can you describe the time when you first realized that photography was something that you absolutely had to pursue?
I started off modelling at the age of like 13 or something crazy, which my initial exposure to photography. Half the job is sitting in a chair waiting for everyone to get their shit together just so you can be in front of the camera for 5 minutes. But that was always the part I liked best. The time I spent behind the scenes, watching these amazing photographers, make up artists, and stylists working together to bring their ideas to life is the reason I ever picked up a camera in the first place.
Do you have a dream project that you would like to execute?
I’d love to do the whole “eat-pray-love” thing with a couple of friends and publish a visual diary from our travels.
What are some of your favorite spots in Vancouver?
I am never not at DD MAU Chinatown. You can find me sitting happily at the bar with a Sapporo in one hand and a Bahn Mi in the other. It kind of feels like the cafe or bar from your favourite sitcom that everybody retreats to when the day is done to just catch-up and drink beers.
What are the top five things that you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?
Live in Japan
Have my first Art Show
Make my photography a full time gig
Have a six pack
What’s one item you never leave home without? Or one item you can always find in your Taikan bag.
A little point and shoot and an extra roll of film.
How can people see more of your work? Website, social handles etc.
I’m currently working on a website, but for now my instagram @kikobean is where I post most of my work.
PHOTOGRAPHER | @KIKOBEAN
TALENT | @FAMILYMANAGEMENT
JESS WONG | @JAYWONGERZ