Liam Keown

"Life can be so fleeting, people come and go in and out of your life and I’ve always felt having a record of people that matter to you and the things you’ve done together is really important"

What do you do?

I'm a creative photographer, I really like working with people, and telling their stories. Whether that’s working with a brand, an artist, a performer, a chef, or a couple. I like to communicate the human narrative.

I use photography to help people express their vision, and get their passion out there.

How did you get to where you are?

I did my foundation year at De Montfort University and then originally studied illustration in Bristol at University of the West of England (UWE). My best mate was on the photography course and I was much more interested in what she was doing. I started borrowing her gear to shoot anything and everything, an absolute nuisance to my friends. I feel like I really honed and developed my style touring with my friend’s band. I then started assisting as many photographers as I could and taking on whatever work I could get.

I was a chef for 8 years before making the jump to freelance photography, which is why I always love getting to shoot food now, It’s great being back in that environment.

Why do you love what you do?

There are 2 sides to photography that I love; the nostalgic side and the professional side.

The nostalgic side is why I started shooting. Photos are great to have to look back at, I always felt like someone should be shooting. Even photos that may seem a bit nothing and dull at the time are now these amazing relics. Life can be so fleeting, people come and go in and out of your life and I’ve always felt having a record of people that matter to you and the things you’ve done together is really important. I enjoyed it so much I became very determined to make a living doing it, which led me to the other side.

The professional side which I love too; working with and meeting new people. I also really enjoy the kinda creative problem solving aspect of it - if time is tight on a shoot, or it starts raining at a wedding. You’ve got to think fast and work quickly to make sure you're killing it. I always get a good buzz from that stress.

On the professional side too, I love delivering work people are really happy with. It’s the best feeling sending over a wedding gallery to a happy couple or seeing a business grow using my work. That never gets old.

On top of that It’s just a medium that allows for so much creativity and collaboration and I love that about photography.

It’s also great to have an excuse and a reason to travel.

Why are you based in Leicester?

For me it’s home, so I’m always going to love it. From a freelance perspective it's a great place to be as it's not too far to get anywhere; travelling for work I can be in Manchester, London or Bristol in a couple of hours.

I’m not sure if it's because of my time at DMU, but Leicester seems to have a great network of creatives too. Leicester is big enough to attract some very talented people, but small enough that it maintains a sense of community in the arts.

Also… Firebug’s opening hours.

What next?

I’ve been working on a passion project documenting artists in their studio spaces over the last few years. I’ve got some of those lined up for after the quarantine I’m really excited about, and I’m looking to turn that into a series of zines. I’m incredibly excited about the zines as I love photography in print. I’ve always been fascinated with behind the scenes photography, when people have their guard down and are relaxed, especially with artists of any kind as we normally only see what they choose to put out. I’ve worked with some incredible artists so far, including Mr Cenz, Cosmo Sarson and Ben Slow. You can check that out on my website and keep an eye on my Instagram for more on the zine series.

I have worked with some really exciting restaurants and brands lined up too. I can not wait to work with these people when I’m able to get back to it!

I’m always looking for fresh thinking people and businesses to collaborate with, so if anyone is looking for a photographer for anything get in touch.

Social media accounts to follow:

Facebook: /KeownPhoto

Twitter: @keownphoto

Instagram: @keownphoto