Next up in our series of Fandom Photographer Spotlight is Kelsi Sickmann! We asked Kelsi questions about her photography, equipment and more. Read below to see her answers! You can find Kelsi and see more of her work here on Twitter.
Nerds and Beyond: How long have you been doing photography and how did you get started?
Kelsi Sickmann: The first time I picked up a DSLR camera was for my first convention 3 years ago, Salute to Supernatural Minneapolis 2015.
Nerds and Beyond: What originally inspired you to start doing fandom (cons, concerts, etc.) photography?
Kelsi Sickmann: I wanted to have the chance to take decent pictures of the people I’ve admired for such a long time. I borrowed my cousin’s camera and by the end of the weekend I knew that I needed my own. Theres this feeling I get when I’m taking pictures of people that I love. It’s like capturing a little bit of their soul. But I truly believe that I wouldn’t have continued photographing without all the outpour of love and acceptance from my fellow fans and the people I look up to.
Nerds and Beyond: What fandoms are you most known for photographing?
Kelsi Sickmann: Supernatural.
Nerds and Beyond: What equipment are you usually using?
Kelsi Sickmann: I use a Nikon D3200. I tend to favorite my 55-200mm lens for most events.
Nerds and Beyond: Which events are typically your favorite to photograph?
Kelsi Sickmann: Concerts. Hands down. There’s this energy created within the room that makes photographing the performers so much more. It’s like bottling all of that energy in every single shot, while also trying not to miss any shot. It’s a challenge and nothing ever comes out the same.
Nerds and Beyond: What would you say right now, is your favorite photo you’ve ever taken?
Kelsi Sickmann: I took this photo of Rob Benedict, lead singer of Louden Swain and The Station Breaks, at The Station Breaks album release party in 2016. This is the first photo I remember being completely and utterly proud of myself. It was my first concert outside of SNS and I was absolutely terrified I had no idea what I was doing. But when I came across this picture it gave me that little push I needed to keep going.
Nerds and Beyond: If given the opportunity are there any celebrities that you’d like to work with?
Kelsi Sickmann: Yes, absolutely. Since the moment I photographed Briana Buckmaster on stage I have wanted a chance to work with her. I relate to her in so many ways and look to her for a lot of guidance. I just think it would be a lot of fun and an amazing experience if I were ever lucky enough to have that chance.
Nerds and Beyond: Are there any other photographers who personally inspire you or whose work inspires you?
Kelsi Sickmann: Two in particular have always been an inspiration since I picked up a camera. Megan Jackson (Stardust and Melancholy) and Chris Schmelke. These two were the first photographers I was ever really aware of. They’re both so incredibly talented, so to watch them grow throughout the years it really helps me focus on bettering myself over time and not to expect to be where I want to be right away. Photography was never something I intended to do, let alone fall in love with, but through every success and downfall they have been there to offer words of encouragement.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you have any advice, tips, tricks or words of wisdom for other photographers/aspiring photographers?
Kelsi Sickmann: Chris Schmelke gave me some words of encouragement that really helped me keep going so I’ll share them with y’all. “Keep doing it because you love it.” There were some other things said but these words really stuck to me. Keep doing it because it’s something you love to do. Sometimes it gets hard and discouraging, but if it still makes you happy that’s all that matters. If you want to call yourself a photographer then you call yourself a photographer; don’t let your fears or the words of others dictate who or what you are.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you have an online store or website where we can see more of your work?
Kelsi Sickmann: Photography is more of a hobby than a job to me, but I do try and keep my Flickr updated with all of my work! www.flickr.com/kelsisickmann
See more of Kelsi’s work below!