First Light Studios will host an artist’s reception this Friday, Feb. 8, from 6-9:30 p.m. for photographer Mikael Kennedy, whose work will be featured through sugaring season. A Randolph native, Kennedy (RUHS ‘97), now lives and works in New York City, and is the author of the internationally acclaimed Polaroid travel blog, Passport to Trespass.
Kennedy’s development as an artist of note has been hard fought. He writes in his blog: “In 2002, I was 23 years old. David Lamb and I were leaving the blood bank in Seattle where we went twice a week to make $45 selling our blood. We’d ride the bus through the dark and grey days, home to the house on Keystone where David would sit in the basement recording folk songs into a broken tape recorder while his wife, my little brother, and I wandered the city taking pictures.
“We were broke. I sold my blood to buy expired Polaroid film where I could find it, and when that didn’t work I would steal it. I had started carrying an old Polaroid SX70 camera with me everywhere I went back in 1999. We had no jobs, we had no plan, we had piled six of us and a dog into a van and had driven straight across from Massachusetts to Washington for no reason other than to find a new place to live…
“And so that is what this is, it’s 10 years of no plan, of wandering around with a Polaroid camera. Some of these are the people who I walked with and some are the people whose paths I crossed. The times when things seemed most desperate are when I felt most alive; like waking up shivering on piles of life jackets in the hull of a boat next to Sohrob and thinking it was the most wonderful place to be, because I felt alive, and that was what mattered. Since I was a teenager watching my older brother ride freight trains around the country I have always said the only reason to live is for what I would call a ‘life lived;’ a life full of experiences either good or bad. So we’d win by taking the wrong way, we would wander, gather these experiences one by one and build something out of them.”
Kennedy’s Polaroid work is represented by the Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art Gallery of New York City. His photographs have appeared in The New Yorker, Nylon, Dazed & Confused, Blown (UK), Cosmoplotian, GQ.com, Esquire.com, TimeMagazine.com, and Newsweek.com. He won “Cover of the Year” in Munich at the 2011 BCP Awards for EB Magazine featuring a photograph from his series “The Odysseus.”