Photographer Kourtney “Kourtinthakut” King finds a home in both Decatur, Alabama and her 55 millimeter Canon T3 Rebel camera. Traveling throughout Northern Alabama, she uses the natural lighting of a southern sun to capture photos that highlight the intensity of the black woman. Her work aims to epitomize the models’ natural state of beauty in order to stress the importance of self love and being self-possessed. Her approach to this, contrasting many other photographers, is a strict no makeup policy for her models. 

“It’s a big thing for me to shoot natural. I mean with makeup, that’s good for a certain sense but you can’t change natural. That’s what makes it personal. That’s what makes it art for me.”  

As an avid thrifter, she tends to infuse her love for fashion with her love for photography.  “I’m big on fashion so I style my models. With Photoshop, sometimes it’s easy to lose the reality of a moment and that’s not what my photography is for.”

Being a woman, one of her goals is to diversify the photography industry. Shooting alongside her male counterparts, she feels no pressure being assertive in order to capture the perfect shot. “Well it’s male dominated. When I’m surrounded by the dudes, I just roll my eyes. I just try to do something that will stand out.” Along with this, she also aims to dilute the photography industry when it comes to race.  “I feel like I can tell more of a story being a black photographer too. In this society, I’m physically given a different lens to see through. I can see things that others don’t see.” This is evident in some of her most recent projects. Inspired by notable artists such as Solange, Justine Skye and Kanye West, her photography focuses on black girl visuals in vibrant lighting in order to tell a story.

Today it feels as if everyone aspires to be a photographer.  What makes her better than a millennial with an Iphone 7 and good lighting? “Well that would be true if all it took to be a photographer was manipulation of depth of field but that’s not the case. Having an Iphone 7 doesn’t make you a photographer. It’s all about the art before and after the capture. It’s about posing, styling, and editing. You have to make the art your own and never let anyone tell you otherwise.”

When asked if there is anyone she wants to thank for her unyielding success thus far, she doesn’t hesitate to first thank her mentor Bray, her little sister Bethany, and jokingly mentions a high school teacher that didn’t want her in the National Art Honor Society.

You can contact Kourtney and view her digital galleries through her Instagram and Twitter: @KourtInThaKut


About The Author

I am a traveling poet and spoken word artist from Birmingham, AL. Aside from being a polysci student at The University of Alabama, I am also the creator of “Literary Vibes Birmingham” which is a spoken word showcase that highlights the talents of both musicians and poets. You can catch me under a tree with a good book or on my twitter: alexuuussss

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