Location: Los Angeles, CA
Sometimes quirky, always stylish, Kyle Monk brings a sense of humor and a flair for the whimsical to his photography. He frequently collaborates with fellow artist Greg Pond to depict people in some of their most amusing moments. Working under the moniker of “monkpond,” they craft intricate, high-concept images. On his own, Monk’s work covers a broad gamut, from documentary to fine art.
I took some classes in college, but didn’t intend to go to school for photography. My education came from assisting various photographers. I worked with different photographers on editorial and advertising shoots—photographers who shot products, weddings, photojournalism, architecture, portraiture, conceptual. I also learned from shooting, reading and testing. I’m still learning and will always be learning!
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned either from a teacher or mentor?
Find your passion and never lose sight of it. If you want something bad enough, you ’ll make it happen or at least find a way to. Rewarding things happen through patience, hard work and a little luck. Also, have a personality and work longer and harder than your peers.
What was your first job?
My first assignment was from the music publication Mesh Magazine, but the first paid gig was an editorial portrait assignment with Prosper Magazine.
What advice would you give to a photographer who is still in school?
I strongly encourage young photographers to assist, shoot and read. Find a photographer you look up to and try to work with them. Also, be patient, hungry and driven. I think you need to really want to be a photographer. There’s no “Uh, well, maybe.” Make the decision and try to separate yourself from the oversaturated industry we’re in—especially now that everyone and their smartphone are photographers.
What inspires you about photography?
The people I meet, the places I go and the photographers out there producing killer work. Also, trying to make a better photograph today than one I made yesterday.
What kind of camera equipment do you use?
The Canon EOS 5D Mark II, the EF 24-70mm ƒ/2.8L USM, EF 70-200mm ƒ/2.8L IS USM, EF 17-40mm ƒ/4L USM and EF 50mm ƒ/1.2L USM. I work with Dynalite, Profoto and Hensel lighting systems. Also, I’ve enjoyed shooting medium format and using my iPhone.
What’s your favorite piece of Canon gear?
The Canon EF 50mm ƒ/1.2L USM. It’s fast, sharp, light, true to the eye and has great depth of field.