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Interview with Chris King

Posted on February 23, 2018

Chris King on his journey as a Photographic Artist

With Chris King’s stunning photographic exhibition set to launch next , we thought we’d spend some time finding out what makes the artist tick.

In this article, we’ll hear how Chris first got into photography, and explore the inspiration for his upcoming show at the Curious Duke, No Opportunity for Regret.

Curious Duke Gallery (CDG): So how did it all begin?

Chris King (CK): As a child, I had the usual collection of small, cheap instamatic cameras, and became an avid reader of photography magazines. I eventually took over my father’s darkroom, and spent several years doing fairly terrible black and white printing – remember – no internet in those days to help when you couldn’t work out how to do something.

Photography stayed as a passion rather than becoming a job, and I went to study biochemistry at university.  The real revolution in my photography came in 2010 [when I was asked] if I wanted to join a photography collective: The Rooftop Collective.

That collective’s first show required serious concentration selecting, editing, and then printing and framing images. I cannot overstate the impact of seeing my work on a wall in a gallery – and then selling a print. Since then, there have been five collective shows, and a number of other group shows, and my work has changed a great deal as a result.

CDG: What does photography mean to you?

CK: Photography is very experiential for me – a lot of the images are taken when I’m on a trip somewhere in a very particular ‘photographing’ mindset. On occasion this means watching out of a car window with the camera ready, other times this means walking or driving for miles.

The solitary nature of this process is one of the reasons that none of the photos have any people in them. Printing and exhibiting my photographs means that the human part comes from interactions with people looking at my images, and conversations about where and when the images were taken.

CDG: Why the solo show is called No Opportunity for Regret?

CK: Some of the images in the show are taken out of the window of a car travelling at 70mph, when my fiancé Susan and I were driving in the USA. Looking at those images when making selections for the show and the book, I was thinking back to that experience:

Imagine you’re sitting in the passenger of a car. Much of the journey is on big two-or three lane interstate highways, so you can’t stop.  Camera in hand, you scan the scenery ahead, on the lookout for something interesting. A structure comes into view a couple of miles ahead.... click, click... click.

Glance at the images on the back of the camera, but not for too long – you might miss something else. If you missed it, or something got in the way – it’s gone. There’s no opportunity for regret.

CDG: What type of camera  do you use?

CK: All of the photos in the book and the show have been taken with Leica M-series cameras. These are a curious mixture of modern and old-fashioned, having modern digital sensors but also a very antiquated manual focusing mechanism. They lack the multitude of metering modes and the ability to record moving images that so many other cameras possess. The lenses are of the highest quality, and are all fixed focal length – no zoom lenses here.

CDG: What makes you stop to take an image?

CK: The majority of the photographs were taken while actively ‘hunting’ for images, rather than being random moments. Symmetry and colour are the primary things that jump out at me when my brain is operating in that particular ‘visual’ mode.

This isn’t to say that things sometimes jump out at me. There are two examples in the show, both of which have led to new series. The first one is the original liquor store image. We had stopped to buy some wine before heading back to Susan’s parents, who live in a dry county. While Susan was inside, I jumped out of the car and took the image. This was the genesis of the “Last Chance” liquor store series.

The other image that was the genesis of a series is “Ellen & Susan”, which was taken in the Texas house owned by Susan’s aunt. Susan’s late grandparents lived in the house for years, and their daughter has kept the house substantially as her parents left it.

I was in this room, and went from just standing there to looking, and suddenly realised what an extraordinary scene it was. This was the start of the series of interiors called “Still Inside”.


No Opportunity for Regret will be on display between 1st - 31st March, at Curious Duke Gallery. RSVP HERE