Inspirations — Mikael Kennedy

Mikael Kennedy is a New York City-based commercial and fine art photographer, which we have been following since the very beginning of our online endeavors. We first noticed his extraordinary work through his internationally acclaimed Polaroid travel blog; Passport to Trespass, which documented his 10 years of wandering the United States with a Polaroid SX70, concluded by the photographer in 2011. Now a days Kennedy’s Polaroids are part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, as well as in private collections worldwide. Other work of his has appeared in print in The New Yorker, Nylon, Dazed & Confused, WWD, and his photography has been being profiled online with GQ, Esquire, Time, Newsweek Magazine, and the WSJ, among others. Having been inspired by both Mikael’s nomadic way of living and the elegant aesthetic one finds in his works, oftenly created during these travels: we now ask him what has inspired him along the road.

Please introduce yourself.
My name is Mikael Kennedy, I’m a photographer based out of New York City.

Who is the most inspiring person in history and why?
Honestly that is far too broad of a question. Nothing in my life is ever set in stone, it’s a constant evolution, or journey from one moment to the next. Who inspires me now? Loulou de la Falaise is someone whose life I’m fascinated by, as I am with Isak Dinesen. It’s actually people’s lives that I’m inspired by because in the end it’s what I’ve got ahead of me, my life, and how I am going to chose to live it, their art is usually secondary to me.

Who is the most inspiring person in your life and why?

Easily enough my wife and her music, Melaena Cadiz. I watch her take these little snippets of life, or literature, or conversations and build them into these worlds in her songs. It’s a process I’ve never understood, my work is a reaction to the world around me mixed with a world I dream of, she constructs hers out of thin air, because I don’t understand it I am often awe struck.

Who do you consider the most inspiring photographer?
Again too broad of a question. There is no one. Right now, I love Dennis Hopper‘s photography, I think Todd Hido’s rainy window landscapes are just about the most beautiful thing out there. Allen Ginsberg’s photographs which he wrote on have always been some of my favorites.

To be honest most photography bores me, I look to other things for inspiration.

And the photograph that will always stay in your mind?
Allen Gisnberg naked on the beach in india.

Who for you is the most inspiring artist?

I have recently become obsessed with old persian rugs, woven textiles from a hundred years ago that are all anonymous, so I guess the answer is unanswerable at this point, they don’t sign their work.

And what is the most inspiring music?
Right now I’m listening to a lot of African rock (from all over the continent), stuff like Tinarawen, Amadou & Mariam, Bambino, at the same time I think Kanye is pretty fucking wild and when you’re driving through middle america the local country music station is always on my radio. Everything has it’s place in my life.

The thing you never go without?
A St. Christopher charm (patron saint of travelers) that was given to me years ago by a friend and fellow traveler who isn’t around any more.

Your favorite city?
I don’t really like cities, but there is a long list of ones I’d like to see before I make a final call.

Your favorite hideout?
My car, on any road, as long as it’s moving.

The website you often check?

The books on your coffee table?
Currently, Dennis Hopper’s ‘On the Road’, an atlas of New Mexico, and ‘The Practical Book of Oriental Rugs’.

The books on your bedside table?
Henry Millers’ ‘Big Sur’, ‘Under the Volcano’ by Malcolm Lowry and ‘Finite and Infinite Games’ by James Carse.

What is your dream?

To live my dreams, I just want a full and rich life.

What would you do if you could start all over again?
I would have dropped out of high school and gone to Vocational School, learned out to fix cars. Latin and Algebra to me are useless, knowing how to pull apart an engine would have been much more practical.

Portrayed with the interview is a selection of Mikael’s incredible project Passport to Tresspass and some photographs of his ‘California’ series which was released and published earlier this year by Done to Death Projects.

For other work by Mikael see here.