The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Photograhing DJ Kesha Ayres

When my niece, Kesha, was still a teenager, she travelled halfway round the world to live in Indonesia. She'd visited there as part of a surfing team, fell in love with the place, and when she got back to the UK worked hard to save up the money to return to Bali.

In addition to being a surfing instructor, over the last few years she's been building up a formidable reputation as a DJ, and has been invited to play in other places throughout Asia.

Kesha standing next to a poster of her in Taiwan earlier this year

She flew back to the UK to spend a few weeks with her mother and sister, and during my recent trip down south it was great to catch up with her after nearly a decade.

Despite her usually living several thousand miles away, the wonders of modern technology and social media means I've been able to follow Kesha's career, and periodically she's asked my advice on images and to give my opinion on some photographers she's considered using. Needless to say promises were made that when we next met up I'd do some shots for her, despite the fact I've never been dancing in a night club so it's a whole scene I know nothing about.

I'd taken some of my photography equipment with me on my trip, but finding space to do a shoot was problematic. Quite simply, my sister's house doesn't have a great deal of room in it, and shooting outdoors comes with a whole set of problems - from hard shadows in direct sunlight, to getting wet if it's raining, to getting dive-bombed and shat on by the thousands of seagulls that live in the fishing town of Brixham.

The ideal solution turned out to be under an old bridge near the top of town.

Google Maps' Street View of the bridge we used for the photo shoot

Not only did it provide protection from sun, rain and seagulls, but acted as a bit of a wind tunnel too, so I was able to get some shots of Kesha's hair artfully moving in the breeze. And with coloured gels over the flashes, the old stone wall gave the impression of an underground basement night club.

Coloured gels casting a light on her hair and the wall behind

The only real problem we had was receiving a lot of strange looks by everyone who walked past us, and having to stop and get into the side of the road every few minutes when cars and vans drove past. However, Kesha reckoned that if we'd been doing this in Bali, within a few seconds we would be surrounded by a crowd of people watching the proceedings.

Standing in the middle of the road to take the photos

I'm changing the batteries in one of the flashes, while Kesha gets a shot for her Facebook page

Here's a selection of the final images. Fortunately, when it comes to genetic distribution, Kesha managed to avoid ending up with my beard and bald patch, which made my job of making her look good an awful lot easier...

The flash with the blue gel didn't go off, but I still liked the image

Kesha had the headphone covers specially designed

Very much a DJ shot... so I'm told...

I was pleased with the final set of photos, but the whole thing did make me feel my age...

If you'd like to follow DJ Kesha Ayres on Facebook, you can find her page here:


Rab said...

The final results are fantastic Kim- not that I know much about the DJing scene. The bridge was a very inspired choice. I remember in my youth going to a club in the Edinburgh vaults and its the same kind of background. Very underground. I do love how you put a shoot together and enjoying reading from the concept to the final results.

All the best


hope said...

Thanks for giving me a momentary vacation at the work desk. Wow, what a lovely girl!
Although I feared for your life in your chosen location, the end result is fantastic.

Kim Ayres said...

Rab - thank you :) Behind every photo is a story on how it was taken. Unfortunately, the majority of my photography is for private clients who wouldn't feel happy about me discussing their images on my blog, so it's nice when every now and again I can explain things :)

Hope - fortunately it was a slow road with plenty of warning when a vehicle was coming :)

neena maiya (aka guyana gyal) said...

She's beautiful. I like that 3rd shot, it has action, and blue light, red light.

She's right about the crowd of people in Bali [though I've never been there]...we're the same...curious. Or 'fass' [as we say].

What a brave gal, with the courage to follow her heart, her dreams.

Kim Ayres said...

Guyana-Gyal - we've been amazed and delighted how much she has thrived since moving to Bali. She didn't enjoy school and at times we feared for her future. It's great to see how she's taken control of her life :)

neena maiya (aka guyana gyal) said...

Tell her 'thumbs up' from me.

Schools don't cater for many creative souls...they tend to not understand.

Kesha said...

Thank you for the positive comments everyone, it was nice to get some new photos done even if it was a bit tricky we finally got some good results!
Regarding a comment about not having a good time at school, school was fine, having a drug addict parent was not but don't need to get too far into that.

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