How it started
The story of starting Kunack
My grandfather, Les, could always find something wrong with any one of his photos. Every time you complimented something on the wall that you liked he'd tell you why it was wrong and shrug off the compliment. His photography is very observant. It’s patient. It's rich in content and composition.
I picked up his interest in photography at an early age, but didn't take it seriously until he passed away and I realized how much of my grandfather’s photography would never be seen by anyone but me. I couldn’t let go of the idea that no one would ever get to enjoy these remarkable prints.
Because the primary motivation was sharing Les' work, I didn't want to use my Name for the project. I also didn't want to just throw my last name out there and call it a day. It needed something as unique as the images, but still from Les.
Kunack is a totally made up word. When he was in college, Les got interviewed at random on campus for the school paper. Instead of just giving his actual name, he made something up on the spot. He gave the name Joe Pitskunack. That should have been the end of it but somehow it became a family joke that lasts to this day. Everyone in my family knows the name Joe Pitskunack. My uncle would use it to order pizza at the dorm because there were too many Anderson's apparently. Surprisingly, no Pitskunacks though.
Since Pitskunack is totally made up, no one can agree on how to spell it, plus it's kind of long. I shortened it to Kunack and here we are, a new name born of a running family joke that Les created.
This is what Christian, the man at 1924 said about creating the Kunack logo for me:"Seeing as your grandfather is from an era that is often forgotten, I wanted to marry the intricacy of the old school design ways with the iconography of today." Sums it up pretty well. This idea is where the phrase "Beautifully together" has come from as well. The idea that I want my modern photography to be shared alongside my grandfathers is what this whole thing is about. It's also worth noting how similar the word "Kunack" becomes to "Kodak" both in length, shape, and even sound to an extent.
Discovering the Solution
All Les ever wanted was for his work to be seen. He was very charismatic so that deflection about his work when you'd bring it up always came across as no big deal. You'd quickly move on with Les to the next topic, joke, or anything other than talking about his photographs. But I know he really did want to share his work. Somewhere deep down he just couldn't talk himself out of the idea that it was never going to be good enough to share with the world. I can't even imagine what he'd say if he saw me selling his photos like this. He'd be so happy.
I know that feeling of not being good enough so intimately. I've always had that same feeling. Even with Les around who always had an insane level of optimism. He was constantly telling me I could do anything and reacting over the moon at any little accomplishment a 10 year old would make. But anyone that knows the feeling of not being good enough knows this optimism doesn't make the feeling go away. The only real solution to overthinking is action. Photography became that action for me.
I started by sharing photos to Unsplash.com just to get something out into the world. Since 2016 me and Les have accumulated 2 billion views. Led by one of Les's best photos. And here I am now with my own little print shop. Photography leaves you with a lot of time to think and expand on your thoughts. Usually this isn't good for overthinking but in this case it's an escape for me. It's like a recharge of emotion.
Les's photos are from the streets from times I'll never be lucky enough to visit. My photos are of the smallest details I notice out in Nature. These are the best reminders in the world to me of what's truly important. Reminders of all the things we learn but so quickly forget. That there are so many good things out there and so much beauty. Sometimes we just need little reminders.