Photographer, Family Man, and Hawaiian Native
When you look at Kyle Wright’s photography, you immediately know why Maui Jim is so excited to feature his imagery on our social channels. His photos stir something inside of you by connecting you with both the natural and human elements that are integral to the islands and the art of living with aloha. Kyle’s images are bright, imaginative, whimsical, and, like it says on his Instagram profile, they help people to both “inspire imagination” and “imagine inspiration.”
His photographs frequently feature his ‘ohana enjoying the richness of their home while surrounded by the beautiful, colorful backdrop unique to Hawaii. We recently got to sit down with Kyle to discuss his inspiration, his photography, and the way Maui Jim fits in with both.
Let’s start out by having you tell our friends how we came to work together.
It started slow, we spoke about my images and how to capture the essence of what Hawaii means to people through photos that take you back to your own experiences, to family and core values of a life well lived. It’s been three years now and Maui Jim has been the best group to work with. They go out of their way to take care of me and I try to do everything I can for them. You believe in the same things I do, and that makes this work especially rewarding.
How long have you called Hawaii home?
I was born and raised here. I moved away with my father to South Carolina when I was 17 and lived there for four years, but I hated it. I came back home to help take care of my grandfather when he had cancer and other health problems. Once I came back, I never left.
How do you discover locations for shoots?
Most of the time I have a vision when I start. I see a picture in my head and, even as it changes, I do my best to follow that instinct. You have to work with the fickle weather and be adaptable, but in Hawaii there’s a lot of beauty to work with.
You seem to have an innate ability to capture emotion. Is that something that has come naturally to you or have you had to fine tune it over time?
That’s a good question. I feel like I have to fight for it all the time because I went from a lot of portraits and now I do more landscapes and the way you think about and consider emotion in photos changes. I’m sort of in awe of everything that is going on around me, so maybe that comes through in a certain angle I use and I just don’t realize it. So, yes, I’ve fine tuned it, but it’s something I’m not actively trying to do… it just happens with consistent effort.
Is there a certain project that you’ve worked on that really stands out in your mind?
It’s kind of hard to answer that question because I have a lot of love for all the work I do, but there is one project I’ve done that sticks out. It was for a couple, she’s a flight attendant and he’s an artist. We did a shoot at Waikiki and they wanted to do a vintage maternity shoot and we did it in the afternoon, and as I was doing the shoot it felt almost like filming a movie. I took my personal favorite shot of them, kissing in the water at twilight, and you could see the circles of light behind them… and I remember seeing it and remembering it because of how almost surreal it felt and how beautiful the images turned out.
Do you think that living in Hawaii directly impacts who you are as a photographer?
If I didn’t live in Hawaii, I definitely wouldn’t be the same photographer. I can’t say how, but I definitely believe that. When I was living in the mainland it was fun and new for a while, but it got old very quickly and I didn’t like it. You get tired of seeing the same old things no matter where you are, but when I’m here I can’t imagine being born anywhere else. This place has a way of relaxing you. No one is usually in a rush to get anywhere and that plays into the feeling of relaxation. It feels like home, even if you aren’t from here.
Our conversation with Kyle was filled with light and laughter and we left it feeling excited, relaxed, and just plain happy. That’s what living life with Aloha is all about, right?
Click here if you want to learn about some of the other incredible individuals that Maui Jim is proud to consider brand ambassadors.