Borderstan recently sat with with local resident, live music photographer and DC enthusiast, Liz Kibble, who took time out of her schedule to dish on everything from her childhood, to her career in the arts and her family life in the neighborhood.
Borderstan: Tell us a bit about you and your background, family.
Kibble: My childhood was awesome. I was born in Takoma Park, Maryland and spent my early childhood there with my grandparents. My grandmother was a teacher and my grandfather was an accountant. I moved to Virginia at age 7, and was back-and-forth between DC and Maryland as a young girl. My maternal grandmother is Puerto Rican, my maternal grandfather is Italian and my father’s side of the family is all Dominican. Yet despite the mix of all of these ethnicities, I’ve yet to learn another language other than English — and I’m still trying to perfect that!
As an only child, I was spoiled with love. I enjoyed playing outside, participating in church activities, having my Grandmother drop me off at school, etc. We did not have a TV in our home; my Grandparents preferred reading and listening to programs like NPR. And our home was usually filled with visitors and families who needed a place to stay for a while.
My grandparents are still a huge part of my life and of my two daughters’ lives. They are extremely influential, always providing a stable environment, assistance with education and support and love for the family. I’ve been really fortunate.
Borderstan: How did you end up being a resident of Borderstan?
I actually lived in this same area (and other neighboring areas) when I was younger, so this is home to me. I remember when this neighborhood was quite different; but I’ve always loved the area and have always been proud to live here. I welcome diversity, change and growth, as long as respect is shown to the original neighborhood families and businesses.
Living in The Ellington is awesome. It’s right in the center of shops, cafes, restaurants, music venues, lounges, parks, churches, independent businesses, art studios/galleries/schools, museums, etc. I can take the metro or walk to so many places. I love the sparkle of the city and its neighbors. It’s a smart, beautiful, livable city with a huge purpose and a soft side.
Borderstan: How did you get involved with photography? What inspired you to get into the kind of photography that you do?
Kibble: I used to work as an artist/tour merchandiser, and one of the musicians for whom I worked was hosting a jazz cruise in 2007. I met painter/photographer Catherine Pierce on that cruise and we became instant friends. I was impressed with her incredible paintings and photos of her dear friend Roy Hargrove, who was also on the cruise. I had no experience with a professional camera but she was kind enough to allow me to shoot with hers that night and on another jazz cruise in 2009. It was through her encouragement that I took a strong interest in live music photography and fell totally and completely in love with it.
Of course I realized that I was coming into the game way late, but I always enjoyed the jabs I received from those really old photographers that shook their elderly fingers at me and told me long stories about how they started out before film was even invented. I cherish these guys so much! I love listening to them, learning from them and respecting their art.
I find it really enjoyable to develop friendships with those old school guys and have been incredibly blessed by them, as well as the youngsters out there who are just realizing their passion for the craft. We all have a place and a time to shine, and the more we work together and respect one another, the better we will be, artistically and professionally.
Borderstan: How does Borderstan inspire your work? Is Borderstan reflected in your work?
Kibble: I remember meeting Luis [Editor Luis Gomez] from Borderstan through my neighbor and friend, Isabelle Spicer. Isa is an artist with Mid City Artists and is also a supporter of my work. She even hired me a few times! She had awesome things to say about Luis, and I had the chance to meet him at one of her open house showings. I added him to Facebook and quickly became addicted to his style of photography. The way he captures DC and beyond is something truly special.
As I learned more about Luis and Borderstan, I learned about the hard sacrifice, work and rewards of spending countless hours dedicated to something that improves our lives and gives others a chance to connect. I highly respect the positivity, reliable journalism, connection to the heartbeat of the city we share, love and that is all represented in Borderstan and its owners/contributors.
Borderstan: Do you experiment with other types of art?
Kibble: I have the hidden talent of a comedian… It’s so hidden, you may not actually ever notice it. And that’s alright.
Borderstan: What else do you enjoy doing? What are your other interests, hobbies?
Kibble: I work as a payroll accountant for a local television network. I love television. I leave mine on all night. Not recommended, but it’s probably a side effect from not watching TV as a child. I enjoy being a mother to my children and a wife to my husband. I enjoy vegetarian cuisine and flying anywhere in an airplane.
I’m interested in learning more about studio lighting as it relates to photography. Since I specialize in live music photography, I don’t use flash, so I’d like to learn more about that and expand my business to include that. My photography also includes occasional party, wedding and social photography — and I usually request the assistance of my daughters, since they are excellent in that genre. My husband’s daughter is also an amazing artist, and his son is very talented as well… just had to brag about the kids! I also recently signed singer Loide Jorge to Red Carpet Media Group, and am booking her locally and globally, so please look out for her!
Borderstan: Favorite places to go in the Borderstan area?
Kibble: Everywhere! Especially all the local restaurants. I love them so much that I never use my kitchen. I also love the local music scene in DC. There are so many talented hard working musicians who play all over the city. DC is pure energy and life when it comes to its music scene. Shooting each year for DC Jazz Festival gives me an opportunity to capture this life.