In a world’s-first challenge, CK Goldiing, originally from Sheffield, arrived in London July 7 2015 with just £100, a bag of clothes and his camera. The presenter/photographer went on to provide 100 unsigned London musicians with stunning new press photos for their promotional efforts and Artists payed CK what they wanted.
Fast Forward to 2016 and CK has returned with a project called 'Vitae', a unique series of photographs that can be listened to, Inspired by a London-based singer-songwriter who broke down during coffee with CK. We caught up with CK to talk about his story, 100 Musicians, Vitae plus more!
You are launched an amazing project called Vitae, a project where photographs can be listened to, Where did the inspiration come from?
Thank you. The artsy answer is ‘it came from a place of deep internal refection’, but the honest answer is ‘it came from boredom’ – boredom with taking a photo, editing a photo, and posting it on instagram. Seriously, do that enough times, and eventually, you ask yourself, “so what, is this really all there is to you?” I grew tired of the predictable way we ‘consume’ photos, so the idea of expressing them beyond their traditionally visual state made me curious. I happen to be in the luxurious position of knowing dynamite singer-songwriters, none more so than Ivohe, so perhaps photography could be an audible experience, I wondered.
Ivohe's story is touching ad inspiring, as many musicians may deal with depression but we would never know - is this something you wish to document further after hearing Ivohe's story?
I’ll never forget the day I rang her to say I wanted to share the project with fine platforms like Creative Conversations. I said, ‘we don’t have to actually reveal your ongoing battle with depression, we can just say we’ve created an audible photography thing’. I expected her to choose to keep her personal stuff private, but immediately, she said, ‘no, fuck it, everyone in London is fucking depressed… I hope my situation helps someone feel stronger and not alone.’ Ladies and gentlemen… I give you my buddy, WHAT A HERO!! To answer your question, yes, Ivohe and I are hungry to hear from anyone who shares the feelings expressed in the Vitae series – if nothing else, it would make us feel her tears weren’t in vain.
You've done previous projects such as #100Musicians - what was that experience like and how did it help with Vitae?
On the most fundamental level, if not for #100Musicians, I would never have met Ivohe – she was musician #83. On a more profound level, however, #100Musicians gave me a thirst for discovering, exploring and sharing human stories.
You seem to always think outside of the box, as a Creative, What inspires you today?
What a question, ooh. Okay, right now, I’m mildly obsessed with Gary Vaynerchuck - an American entrepreneur behind a multi-million dollar digital media & marketing empire. Somehow, he’s managed to take the traditionally dreary subject of business, and made it into the most compelling online series you could imagine. His film crew document his daily endeavours, as he engages with clients, delivers speeches and sits in a taxi. I’m not doing a great job at selling his brand here, but honestly, the guy is a charisma machine, and what I respect most about him, is he is unashamedly himself: wearing Nike trainers, jeans and swearing like a builder at every given opportunity. Imagine taking Steve Jobbs’ business acumen, then adding Al Pacino’s charisma. That’s Gary Vee.
I know this has nothing to do with photography, but in truth, very little about ‘photography’ inspires me day-to-day. Day-to-day, I’m most inspired by humans making the most of their given talents.
When shooting photographs, what techniques do you use?
oh, this question, ha, Is ‘no technique’ a technique? I’ve gone on record many times saying the mechanics of photography bore me, it’s the human interaction that excites me. A photographer friend started telling me about her new lens recently, and as she beamed, I could feel myself drifting off, thinking about KFC - I simply don’t share her love of kit, sorry, just no! I don’t think I’ve ever taken a photograph with a camera in my life… I instinctively take photos with empathy. Singer-songwriter Izzy Thomas and I were recently hanging out (in KFC, actually) when she said, “CK, you don’t shoot people, you shoot people’s souls.” I hugged her a bit.
Ultimately, if someone leaves a photoshoot with me feeling like they’ve been on a photoshoot, I’ve failed.
You are a presenter, as well as a photographer, how do you balance the workload of both?
The two are more complimentary than you’d think. My years in radio and now events/online TV has taught me how to create engaging content. When you’ve presented music festivals to several thousand people and made them all laugh, it teaches you stuff. Take #100Musicians for example, that colossal six-month adventure played out via daily videos on my facebook page, and thanks to my presenting DNA, I had a head start in knowing how to deliver content in a fluid, coherent, engaging manner. I don’t see a huge difference between presenting and photography – let’s face it, at the heart of both disciplines, is positively connecting with human beings.
What does CK Goldiing have planned for the future?
CK Goldiing? How formal. Okay, I’ll take your lead and say I intend to develop my brand to the point where ‘CK Goldiing’ is a word people associate with authentic, honest, inspiring human stories. I’ve written three formats since #100Musicians, and I’m now engaging with production companies. Early November, I’ll be in London for a month, as I’ve found a great videographer who is keen to work with me on a mini docu-series I’ve written. It’s nothing to do with photography, incidentally, but everything to do with inspiring humans. It amazes me how much value is placed on celebrity culture nowadays. Don’t get me wrong, I love a Rihanna song, a TOWIE episode or a shallow gossip column as much as the next guy, but that vacuous garbage accounts for only 5% of the weekly content consumption.
It’s now nine months since I completed #100Musicians, and still, people are so kind and generous in their memories of it, emailing me or telling me face-to-face what they loved about it. Anyone who knows me will know I don’t ever talk about #100Musicians unless someone asks me about it, so for people to still talk about it when they see me reassures me I’m on the right path.