_Kai Murphy is a British photo essayist and fine art photographer based in Bristol, UK. Kai was born in London, 1984, to a painter mother and boat builder father;
as a child he grew up in England upon the River Thames, in Ireland
exploring the wooded wilderness of County Clare. Kai studied Film Production at Bournemouth Arts Institute and worked as a
freelance documentary editor and cinematographer. His experimental
techniques exhibit a wide range of styles, including tranquil dream-like
landscapes shot on deteriorated film with junkshop cameras. Kai enjoys
capturing the natural narratives and rhythms of the world around him,
using fiction and documentary to reflect his observations.
From an early age Kai had an obsession with taking apart various types of technology… radios, tape players, remote control cars. Anything mechanical he got his hands on would be unscrewed; disassembled to its smallest components and thoroughly investigated. When one day Kai got his hands on a prized family SLR he found himself in a whole heap of trouble, and not just from his mum. For once he could not put the complex contraption back together again. This brought the ‘Camera’ his undivided attention.
“It is quite obvious that a camera is simply a box with a hole in it. Anyone can pick up this box and take a picture… this is simple. The interesting part is telling a story with that picture. What… if anything are you trying to say? What tale are you going to unveil? Do you sit back and observe or do you manipulate and control?"
"My recent exploration has been in the use of ‘junk shop’ cameras. This is a slice of an ongoing adventure to let a camera tell its part of the story, to let the medium dictate a state of play. Using fragile and temperamental cameras and a variety of half rotten film dating back to the 70’s you can’t help but give in to the fact that the result of what you’re photographing is going to be split three ways, a mix of you, machine and chemical reaction. Now… no longer is the camera a box with a hole in. It is now a characterful companion that works with you and against you. It itself creates through miss-firing apparently inopportune moments; distorting colours and contrasts however it wishes and capturing half frames on its own accord.
I don’t want to mislead you… the film and camera is by no means conscious. The camera cannot choose, yet in a way it has already chosen. It holds a past, a long journey that makes it what it is. A reposit thought, a layered timeline filled with original and detailed imperfections. A camera dropped on its lens or a film left in the sun for too long many years ago. All these elements combined to be used at one random place at an undefined time. The camera has the freedom to tell half a story. Giving ample room for imagination, letting you mull over the narrative bestowed upon the picture.