Feature Creative: Karis Mackenzie | Part II

by Rowan

Karis Mackenzie Photographer AIDA

East London based photographer Karis Mackenzie is an AIDA favourite. Working full time for creative charity Only Connect, she modestly retains photography as a sideline profession and a personal passion, despite a steady influx of opportunity doing its best to persuade her otherwise.

We've worked with Karis several times at AIDA over the last two years, and are always searching for new ways to tempt her back. A quietly inspiring presence, there is no ego, no brand, no veneer to Karis. She has a compassion and a respect for people and their stories, and this carries through to her photographs.

In her own words, she told us about some of her personal experiences in photography.

Karis travel photography

Karis adventure photos

"My favourite part of the photography process is probably the shoot itself, the interactions.

I'm such a people person, it's brilliant to spend the day hanging out with someone all the while creating something you hope they're going to love.


Pia Morris Singer Shoreditch Live Session Interview

My biggest challenge with photography? I have rheumatoid arthritis, so it's probably that. It's kind of ridiculous in a way - I shouldn't be able to do photography, I have restricted movement in my hands and feet. If I'm having a bad day then it can be a pain to deal with, but usually on a shoot I'll forget about it.

It's amazing how therapeutic doing what you love can be.

Karis Mackenzie

Karis New York

It's tough to choose, but I think my favourite place to photograph so far has been Bangladesh.

Dhaka is such a colourful city, it was pretty captivating to be there.

Taking pictures at sunrise in a hot air balloon over Turkey was a great moment. Even more so because it was a birthday present from two of my best friends.


Karis travel photography blue

The U.S. tour with Cymbals was exhausting but absolutely brilliant. It was the first time I'd documented a band, and the turn around on the edit after each day had to be super quick. Long drives, late nights and early mornings. But the West Coast is gobsmackingly beautiful, and the boys were super fun.

I was just in love with every city we went to. It was definitely the highlight of my year last year.

American fans are mental. We can be so stand-offish over here, in America they just go for it. It's a lot of fun.

Karis Mackenzie Cymbals

Karis tour photography US

Karis CYMBALS band photography

I don't really have any ambitions with my photography. I work full time for a charity, we create arts and music projects for prisoners and ex offenders. It's definitely still my first love. But I'm also enjoying doing more and more photography as time goes on.

I'd love to keep travelling, people are my favourite subjects and I love seeing new parts of the world and photographing them. I like places where the culture is pretty different, that inspires me.

I love the photography projects we do where I work. I'd like to do more of that. It's awesome to work with someone who's never used a camera, and see them achieve things they didn't know they could do. Ha, perhaps I do have some ambitions after all...

Karis Travel Photography World

Karis Mackenzie Adventure Photography

I love how powerful a photograph is. It's always going to be attached to a memory, and even as the memory fades, the photo keeps it going.

I just think it's mental that a photograph can capture a moment in time and then it's preserved forever. I love that. As an art form I think the best photos are the ones that tell a story.

Life is a collection of stories, and I think that's the most precious responsibility of a photographer - to capture someone's story, for them, for their memories, and for whoever they want to share their story with"

Find more of Karis' work on the AIDA Live Sessions pages and on her website HERE.

Read Part I of our feature on Karis HERE.

Follow Karis on Instagram.

Karis portrait photography