THE DREAMER BEHIND THE LENS

I'm known in some circles as a portrait photographer in my hometown of Portland, Oregon but there are many other layers of my experience that have shaped the kind of photographer I've become. I first picked up a camera in 1990 in a black and white darkroom class at the University of Oregon. I not only fell in love with image making but I also fell for a fabulous photographer and sculptor from Mexico, Francisco Salgado. I envisioned a life where I could use art to heal people and pursued a Master's Degree in Art Therapy from Marylhurst College in 1995.

Two years into our life partnership, Francisco and I started a side business of portrait photography that eventually blossomed into a boutique portrait studio - Campbell Salgado Studio - in the charming small-town-feeling neighborhood of Sellwood in Portland, Oregon. Travels to Mexico with my husband and children transported me. I became enamoured with rustic walls, retro signage, symbology (El Corazón = Love) and the emotional gravity of the country. As our youngest has grown up a Mexican American I want him to see the beauty of both sides of his culture. The rich cultural heritage that is his birthright.

The El Corazon collection is a realized vision that has ruminated within my heart, mind and soul for many years. In 2007, I began in earnest putting costume to child, camera to eye, image to paper and finally digital photography to the world. In 2008 these images began garnering recognition from American Photo magazine. However it wasn't until 2011 that my El Corazon collection was put on public display and I presented my 'heart' to the world.

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PS. Did I mention I love exploring the self in self-portraits.



Self portrait by Kim Campbell, age 4

Self portrait by Kim Campbell, age 4

My Artist's Statement: The Inspiration

In 1993 two events simultaneously collided to shift something profound inside my heart. I met and married my best friend and partner, Mexican-born sculptor Francisco Salgado and began a course of study in Art Therapy. My unique point of view culminates from a variety of interests and pursuits over my professional and personal life.

As an art therapist and photographer, I revel in the psychological perceptions within the art-making and viewing experience. I explore emotion and creativity, mining for an inner wonderland of experience in my subject’s childhood. This is what compels my work, and is the soul of my El Corazón portrait series.

My process aims to marry vintage styles with the modern, and uncover the unique and colorful character of each subject. I squirrel away costumes and various curiosities. I visit with children in their homes. Together, we collaborate in kid terms to take portraiture into deep territory, constructing a narrative from a collection of personal items and innocent reverie. We establish the concept, and carefully arrange each scene. The series has a specific treatment that is only possible with the help of modern digital photography, but each image is composed entirely through the lens.

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