Chris Churchill: Midwest Father
Chris Churchill: Midwest Father
We've featured some photos from Chris in past issues, but we had yet to have a full conversation regarding his work. Here is our Q+A with him.
For those who don’t know, who are you?
My name is Chris Churchill. I’m a husband, father, and Instagram user living in the Midwest.
Where in the Midwest do you live? Did you grow up there as well?
We live in the south suburbs of Kansas City. Prior to that, we had a three-year stay in Indianapolis, but our hometown is Lincoln, Nebraska. That's where my wife and I both grew up. We still have family there and head back multiple times per year.
How did you get into photography?
My initial interest in photography grew from having kids. I wanted to document their childhood and provide images for them to enjoy later in life. The
next big step was joining Instagram because it really pushed me artistically. The ability to view thousands of images and find styles and ideas to emulate is wonderful. It drives me to capture my family in new, creative ways.
When did you start documenting your family so extensively?
I bought a Nikon after my son was born seven years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I love the clarity and feel of DSLR images, but I didn't start taking consistent pictures until I joined Instagram 3 years ago. Mobile photography just makes more sense for me. It’s easier to grab a moment with the phone in my pocket than my DSLR. Kids don’t wait around for me to unpack my Nikon…
How do your children react to the camera? For example, do they like having their photo taken? And what about your wife?
In general, my kids say things like “NO PICTURES!” and then run away. That’s why I often capture moments when they are engaged in an activity and
not aware of the camera. This ends up working because they are busy, curious little people. Usually these candid shots are my favorites. As for my wife, she is typically a willing model… provided she can preview the pictures and approve them before I post!
Did your parents also document you much as a kid?
My parents weren't really into photography. We have some memorable 1980s studio photos, but not much in the way of candid, childhood images. I think that's partially what motivates me. My children may not appreciate it now, but I think they will enjoy seeing images of their youth later in life.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Obviously my inspiration comes from my family first, but Instagram provided a new source for ideas. I could view accounts like @ayanah and @kristinrogers for inspiration regarding beautiful family photography. In addition, I
could view accounts like @navanel and @asenseofhuber for pure creativity and a unique perspective.
You started another separate account, what motivated you to do this in a different place than the one you already had?
I felt like I had two distinct styles on Instagram, so I finally decided to split them up. Honestly, something about it just felt right. I thought the galleries looked more consistent when I separated them. My primary account, @churchill_chris, will continue to be my daily activities with my wife and kids. My new account, @cwchurchill, will be a place for me to explore ideas like minimalism, scale, and whatever else catches my eye.
What goals do you have for your photography?
My primary goal is just slow, continual improvement in composition. Instagram really opened my eyes on that topic. Finding a beautiful subject is the easy part… finding a unique way to portray the subject is what creates a captivating image. I’m definitely still learning in that area.
How do you manage the balance between capturing moments of your kids and still just being in those moments as well?
Sometimes it's difficult. I try not to be selfish and always
seek the next photo opportunity. I know my children want me to be present and enjoy those moments playing together, laughing, and having fun. The benefit of mobile photography is that you can quickly transition. I can see something, have my phone out of my pocket, snap a few pictures, and return it in 10 seconds.
Q+A by Jack Sommer