April: Artist Spotlight - Kaikho Paphro Chachei

It's no secret that documentary isn't a genre I love, it just doesn't seem to work for me. But this only serves to increase my admiration for those that do shoot documentary and produce the most amazing photos. One of my favourite documentary photographers is Paphro and I immediately thought of her for the spotlight feature this month. Not only does she capture such brilliant moments, but she's also a wonderful supportive friend. I hope you enjoy learning about her, reading her tips for shooting documentary and getting a flavour of her beautiful work.

Abi xx

Tell us about your photography journey...

My love for photography started when I first picked up my film camera in college which has now morphed into the digital format! I love capturing the everyday, genuine moments. It brings me immense joy seeing the moments gone by and yet eternalized through my photo documentary. Also, because we live far from our family, documenting and sharing our lives with our family and friends, has always been an important part of my WHY. I started with a 365 project. I am now in my 2nd 365. I have also completed a P52 project last year and enjoyed the learning and community so much that I have started again in 2022. Photo projects and photo communities has really helped me become the photographer that I am today.

Tell us a bit about your style...

My style is continuously evolving and changing. I do believe it depends a lot on what stage of life I am, and how my environment and circumstances influence my thinking process. I have a strong inclination towards documentary and photojournalism genres. I worked as a journalist before I moved to the United-States, and I think that’s where my love for it stems from. I do love playing with different techniques and I am always up to experiment and learning never stops.

My intention in shooting is never to overly post process. I prefer clean, natural edits. For me, getting my settings right on camera for the way I’ve envisioned is very important. As well, my documenting through photos does not require a "perfect" environment. I shoot as the action or moment unfolds, with the light that is present.

What gear do you use?

Nikon z6ii with nikkor 24-70mm f2.8.

Lensbaby sol 45.

I also kept my older camera body, the Nikon d610 and my nifty 50mm for free lensing.

What's your go to lens and why?

My go to lens is the Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8, I love the versatility of this lens for my documentary. My favorite subject is my son, and with how fast he moves, I have found the perfect combination of gear to document him. I carry it with me everywhere!

Who and what inspires you?

At the moment, my inspiration is my family, especially my son. He’s my muse!

Becoming a mom has changed my perspective and views and I know that treasuring and documenting every moment & events in our lives that are so fleeting is so important.

Also, the photography communities that I am part of like P52 clicks has really pushed, motivated & keeps challenging me to keep going.

What tips do you have for shooting documentary?

Embrace the scene. Let the story unfold- be a fly on wall & capture the moments as they happen. Carry your camera everywhere & keep shooting. Do not shy away especially in public places, that’s where a lot of fun things can happen.

Keep your camera at a spot where you know you can grab it right away. It really helps.

Do not be afraid of making mistakes. You are not in control of the scene, just keep shooting!

What documentary image are you most proud of and/or love the most and why?

My favorite images that I’ve shared are ones that I’ve been able to capture of my son where I can see his personality come through at the stage that he is in at the now.

I love how he wanted to help me with the laundry and climbed up & I was so glad I had the camera handy.

My son kept climbing up & I was trying to get a photo of it, just then my husband came in frame and asked him to get off. Moments like this is what I really cherish.

My son loves running outside Target when we are on errands, I have so many photos here, however, this image I love with the golden light and shadows it created.

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