Ken Kinzie and April Riehm of Kinzie+Riehm live in Orlando, Florida with their kids Jake and Ionie and their newborn baby Keira. Ken and April met while at The Southeast Center for Photographic Studies where they first began collaborating on photo projects. They love photographing children for their honesty, spontaneity and boundless energy. April opens the door to a South American family that’s not run of the mill…
Tell us more about you, your childhood…
My parents immigrated from Europe (Italy and Germany) and grew up in NYC. They left the city because they wanted something different for their family; a more unconventional life. They traveled around for a while until they settled on an island just off Florida’s west coast. It was their version of paradise. That’s where I ended up being raised. They had a plant nursery and there was a mango grove and we had horses and boats. My siblings and I were brought up as vegetarians and pacifists. The arts were encouraged. It was a great childhood but among my friends, I was the one who was different. Most of my extended family is still in New York but my immediate family is here in Florida.
How about Ken?
Ken’s parents moved around a lot and lived in New Orleans-in the heart of the French Quarter and then rural Minnesota before his parents relocated to Sarasota, Florida to escape the brutal Northern winters. His parents encouraged free-thinking with emphasis on art, travel and music. He’s a self-taught musician, and until a few years ago was still playing local gigs in a band. He was raised an only child, but about 6 years ago, he was contacted by his biological sister. She had been adopted by another family before he was born, and was living in London.
How did you guys meet and what happened next?
Ken and I met in class and something sparked. We started working on photo projects together and it just felt right. We traveled around for a while, just exploring. We’ve lived in quite a few places, but New Mexico made an impression on us and we ended up there for about 6-7 years, living in downtown Albuquerque, and later moving to a 2 acre property in the mountains between Santa Fe and Abq. But after a few really cold winters and many very dry, hot summers and no ocean…(it’s the desert!) we decided to move back to Florida and rented a small beachfront bungalow. We love being close to the beach and being able to get outside to swim almost year round. Now we’re settled in Orlando and our neighborhood is close to parks, lakes, museums, cafes, shops and farmer’s markets… all within walking distance. We walk or bike the kids to school. We live half a mile away from a 50 acre botanical garden that we all love to visit. They beach is a short drive. It’s a very kid friendly city, and the people here are great.
How’s your family life? Do you travel with the kids?
Family life is chaotic at times. Our house is noisy! Like any working parents, we’re always trying to find a balance between family and work. When we’re shooting we miss our kids like crazy. But as free-lancers we have times during the year when it’s slow and we get to spend time with them that we might not get to if we had a 9 to 5 job. Still, we have 3 young very energetic kids and it’s exhausting. We’re raising them vegetarian which is an added challenge. We spend lots of time outside. We give them a lot of freedom to explore and express themselves. They like to climb the orange tree and dig in the dirt. We try to take fun trips that have an educational or inspirational element to them. We seek out cultural events. We let our kids interests and sense of wonder guide us. We take a lot of pictures of our kids along the way.
What do you prize most in life
Right now- sleep! Our kids are still young; Jake is 5, Ionie is 3 and Keira is only 10 months. We’re pretty tired!
Your best recent photoshoot and why?
We both love to shoot and working together is a bonus. The best shoots are the ones where everyone is collaborating well and has input and we have some creative freedom. We’re lucky to work with some of the best people in the business, many of whom have become our friends. Theymake being on set (or on location) so enjoyable. We photograph other subjects too, but we’re known for photographing children and we’re lucky to get to meet so many fun, cute and quirky kids. We strive to photograph them in a way that shows something more than just the stereotypical smiling kid, a way that shows that they are human and capable of a great range of emotion. It is so amazing when we are in the moment with the kids and we can capture it and share it.