The photography of Kit Kittle inspires, from the images, the colors, the subjects to the stunning locations. Kittle’s two recent series, Bubble and Enlightenment are a culmination of his years of travel and exploration as both a commercial and fine art photographer. He lived for many years in India, his first indulgence in his interest in different cultures, people and religions which he has continued to explore through his photography.
Both the Buddha and Bubbles Collections, convey the contrast between the expected and unexpected. Kit tells how his wife brought a Buddha statue home and he was immediately drawn to it and how the composure of the Buddha could immediately change the way a place feels. And so he began, carrying the Buddha from place to place and photographing it in different environs, starting in the back woods of Greenwich, where he lives, Buddha and Dandelions,
to East Hampton and other beaches he has visited. Buddha and Waves, © Kit Kittle 2014
to Manhattan streets - Kit speaks of the contrast, “This Buddha reflects the light around it. Its physical presence in a scene often reflects the irony of a place. Sometimes it’s the peacefulness that can be found in commotion; other times it’s the loneliness that can be found in crowds, but each place is changed by the sitting Buddha”. Buddha on Spring Street
Since the 25 lb. porcelain statue fits nicely in his bag, it joins Kit for a drive, Buddha and Mercedes
We talked recently in Kit's studio about his motivations in this project. Another aspect that compelled Kit, is a "visual non-theological view...this Buddha's image of steadfast composure puts our fast-paced lives on pause, and brings us into a world where clarity might just momentarily exist.”
In recent years, it is not uncommon to see a Buddha image or statue in stores and homes. It is an accepted icon of calm and composure. In Kit’s studio, the statue sits among small tabletop versions of his photos mounted in lucite.
I enjoy working with Kit and showing his limited edition photos, both the Bubbles and Buddhas, as they make people smile. The Bubble collection began when Kit saw a NYC vendor selling bubble machines. He became fascinated with the floating bubbles and watching as the fleeting colors were captured for a moment when the light rays are bent in the fluid of the bubble, in the split second just before its gone.
Kit started blowing and photographing bubbles in the woods of Connecticut and on the Long Island Sound. A favorite image is Before the Split, the Double Bubble, an image captured off the Rye beach in Westchester. The quiet image is at home in a clients' comfortable family room
The bubble machine started to accompany Kittle on his travels to Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, England and Germany. He loved “watching a single bubble move across a landscape.”
Chelsea Bubble, is a colorful reflection in a double-decker bus of bustling London. The image provides color and energy in the warm neutral living room designed by Mara Solow Interiors.
Kit’s love of travel started early, studying Sanskrit and Buddhist philosophy in Varanasi, India at 16. He returned there soon after graduating on a travel assignment for Air India. Each photo in Enlightenment is accompanied by a short quote, about life and art that have been on Kittle’s mind since these years of study.
For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.
- Vincent van Gogh
His work as a travel photographer has taken him all over the world, he has thousands of photo credits in hundreds of magazines including Time, National Geographic Traveler, Outside, Smithsonian and the New York Times. Through the years, he also became a film director, and has directed films on four continents while simultaneously pursuing his fine art photography. At this point, he is more focused on his personal visions.
Kittle’s work makes you stop, look and reflect. His first book, Roughnecks, was published in 1985 at the same time he was also photographing Drag Queens in NYC. Both collections, recently exhibited in Chelsea, NY, are portrayals of two different types of male cultures. The Buddha and Bubble Collections are a different portrayal, more personal and introspective for Kit, as well as the viewer, making the viewer look, and look again, at how the Buddha’s presence alters it’s environment or how the Bubble exists for just a moment.
Kit’s work is inspired by the shapes, colors and beauty that he sees throughout the world. He likes the contrast of the statue or the round bubble, it's unexpected in a world where, “everything is flat and square”. He loves to “create the electrically colored sphere, there’s something cool about creating something and letting it go in to the world”.
Kit isn't the only one enchanted by the colorful spheres!
He completely fell in love with bubbles once again, for the first time since I was four...bubbles are startling in the way they move, immune to gravity, and the way they so suddenly disappear – poof!”
It’s fun to be inspired by seeing things in a new way, to alter your perspective, fun to feel like your four again!
- Please join us at Nest Inspired Home on Sept 10th, 7-9 pm for Bubbles and Buddhas. Kit will be signing Enlightenment and a portion of the evening's sales will benefit The Rye Nature Center. The Buddha collection will be on exhibit through Oct. 9th.