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Kimi Hammerstroem for Art Youth Society’s ‘Brainchild’

A concept born out of a desire to work with artists and photographers that Team AYS know and hold in esteem due to what they are able to bring across in their work, the AYS ‘Brainchild’ Project is distinctly different than anything you’ve seen from them before. Each photographer is set to contribute photographs for the project, using pieces from Art Youth Society, and incorporating them into their own unique work of art. This project places the emphases on artistic interpretation.

After showing you a preview of the work of GreyEtc., New York based creative brainchild of British born photographer Nadia Sarwar and Australian born photographer Drex Drechsel, we would love to introduce you to our next artist Kimi Hammerstroem.

Meet Kimi Hammerstroem. Her energy and wit, in combination with her dashin looks, puts her into the center of attention – even if the international London-based photographer, with swedish-german-spanish roots, was born to be behind the camera. Growing up in a fashion household, with both parents active in the scene, Hammerstroem’s love for observing her surroundings set in at an early age.

When she was a little girl, her dad literally looked at her through his camera lens. This rubbed off on her. She began taking pictures of her dolls, which later turned into her first big project: she followed an 86 year old cross dresser. Hammerstroem moved to the UK for school and studied Visual Arts at the London College of Fashion and the American InterContinental University.

Having found her way, she left for Los Angeles to assist renowned fashion photographer Michel Comte at Milk Studios. Now back in London, Hammerstroem is currently working with many young creatives and concentrates on fashion photography and portraiture. Names such as Benicio Del Toro, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Suki Waterhouse, and Shermine Sharivar have graced her camera lenses, she has worked with magazines such as iD, Hunger and High Snobiety, and has shot campaigns for the London fashion label Felder Felder, House of Hackney, and many more up and comings.

Her never-ending thirst for new faces will always be dominant in her work, she loves to find that magical spark down the lens with a complete stranger. Her camera is always by her side, as “London’s an endless road of inspiring people and you never know where you might end up having a cold glass of milk.”

So, first: Where are you from, where are you now and where will you be in 10 years?
I’m from Duesseldorf, but left that vessel when i was 16, and have ever since been making my home in London.
Not sure I will stay here forever, but the city has given me an exciting template for life.
However,I have a massive crush on the Californian ‚way of life‘, so if i could be part of both worlds, that would be my sweetest dream.

How did you join the society (of photography artists) and why?
Photography always fascinated me, the fact you are being looked at, but no one sees you- the voyeurism angle, the fact you can create a momentum with a single click.
But its mainly about that connection you can create with your ‚object of desire‘, may it be vulnerable, innocent, lustful, or simply magical- its always a unique challenge and experience.
My first ever shoot was called Frank, where i followed an 86 Year old cross dresser around, and shot him in his own 4 walls. It was so thrilling, the experience left me completely overwhelmed, even to this very day.

Every shoot is new, everyday is different, I think i have a love for the unexpected, and photography is my way to live that side of me in everyday life. Its a long road, in a world with many cooks,but its oh so worth it.

What does art mean to you? Do you consider yourself as an artist?
Depends who the audience is. If i can evoke any kind of emotion with my work in someone, than that day i feel like an accomplished artist.
Basically art to me is an emotional reaction to something someone has created, may it be satisfying or disturbing. Its a very personal visual ride between mind, and heart.

Which AYS-pieces did you shoot and why these in particular?
My favourite AYS pieces, are the eagle, cross and anchor ones- I also have tats of all these symbols hah. Im obsessed with the AYS logo pendant, maybe next tattoo 😉

Interview by Sarah Krause

City crush? Why?
Los Angeles – the light, the freedom to get in a car and end up on a road trip. I get so inspired when Im there, especially on horseback through the canyons.

Who inspired you living the life of a photographer?
My parents. They supported every step i took. And being a visual junkie, i knew its what i wanted to do. It can be unsettling, and sometimes one loses determination, but the greatness is that its so unconstricted that inspiration can be around the corner, you just got to keep your eyes and mind open.

Your pictures show women, who reveal their rock’n’roll side. Who are the strong women in your life? Women, who inspire(d) you and helped you on your path of life.
From my mother, to Patti Smith, to Diane Arbus, to my tutor at university, to my friends. Its a path with many characters that may lead you. May you know them or not, they can change your attitude and be a part of your life in an instant, and you carry it with you forever.

London is the love of your life. Why?
My father lived here when he was 18, funnily we live on the same street now. He took me here when i was 12 and i loved it ever since. From Tea time, to cab drivers, to markets, to street artists. I love the english mentality.
London’s an endless road of inspiring people and you never know where you might end up having a cold glass of milk.