Image 1 by Karis Beaumont

Karis Beaumont Q&A

Karis Beaumont talks photography with TheBlkGaze.

Being a photographer comes with responsibility, so for me the Black gaze means telling our stories without confusion or harm to our community. Intention is important.

How does this relate to your photography practice?

We’re all made and wired uniquely, which means our perspectives are too. My approach in life is ‘anything can be beautiful when you look at it with love’, so this is how I approach my work. I’m a storyteller who tries to capture emotion, which requires a lot of transparency and care.

What do you want to say or address with your photography?

I want to show a non-monolithic portrayal of Blackness. I’m a Black woman from a small town in Hertfordshire and through my experiences, I’ve observed that Black communities from outside of London are left out of the conversation a lot when speaking about Black British culture.

There’s a lot of misunderstanding and misconceptions within our communities at times, so the work I do [Bumpkin Files] aims to provide more representation, visibility and storytelling around unheard Black communities across the UK and Ireland mainly.

Image 2 by Karis Beaumont

What influences and inspires you? How is this reflected in your work?

Nostalgia inspires me in many ways as it comes with a range of emotions. When creating I try to capture as much authenticity and essence as I can. My Jamaican heritage inspires me also, from our style, music, lingo to traditions and histories.

Who are your favourite Black photographers from the past? Why?

There are so many present day photographers who inspire me, but the Black photographers from the past? Vanley Burke. The way he dedicated his work to documenting the communities in Birmingham and the Afro-Caribbean diaspora in Britain.

It’s so important to document the people and events around us, as histories can get lost and forgotten. Burke’s work was definitely an influence for me to start Bumpkin Files. I also love the works of Kwame Brathwaite, James Barnor and Malik Sadibe. They really captured the beauty and depth in their work in an artistic way.

Image 3 by Karis Beaumont

Please describe the highs and lows of your experience as a Black photographer?

I’ve experienced more highs than lows, but highs – having many positive, thought-provoking stories around me to document and share. Lows – lack of commissioned work. It’s easy to get overlooked in a white AND male dominated industry.

Image 4 by Karis Beaumont

What work are you producing and what more would you like to do?

I’m currently focusing on Bumpkin Files content, with the aim of exhibiting work, and getting press and community attention.

I’d love to work on more commercial and editorial fashion/music projects. It allows me to learn more about the craft through experimentation and working with teams.

About Karis Beaumont

Karis Beaumont is a self-taught photographer based in Hertfordshire. With the primary focus on culture + authenticity, she aims to produce emotive imagery through portraiture, fashion + documentary photography.

‘Alongside photography, Karis is the founder and curator of Bumpkin Files, a submissions-based archive, journal + multimedia platform centred around Black life in Britain beyond the London-centric narrative.

You can find more of Karis’s work on her website, Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Take part in The Q&A

The Q&A is an ongoing discussion open to Black photographers of all ages, genders and genres.