Sunday, November 22, 2009

Style Sunday - An Interview with Photographer Katrina King

What defines your Sense of Place? Is it that smell that bring memories back in nostalgic waves? Are there sounds that recall special childhood vacations sweet with melting ice cream on a salty seashore? Each of those recollections seem to be collected in the gorgeous work of Katrina King, owner of "A Sense of Place Photography" on Etsy.

King will graduate with a BA in Photography and Performance in 2010 from The Evergreen State College; but her educational career has taken her around the world including London, New York City, Hollywood, Costa Rica, Switzerland and now Virginia.

In her interview with FPOE, King recalls her journeys, both internal and external, and how her camera has been a constant companion through them all.

"I first formally studied photography in a black and white photography class at The American School in Switzerland," said King. "I studied under Mr. Durrschmidt and soon became a photo assistant for the lab and studio. I would spend many nights a week developing film till 10:00PM when I needed to close it down."

"I remember feeling that I could have lived in that studio if I was allowed," she recalls. "My eyes were opened to not only the world, but the black and white mysteries in front of me on clothespins, negatives drying in cabinets, fashion photography books, and the fine tuned eye of Mr. Durrschmidt. The process was peaceful for me, but not without times of frustration." As many blossoming photographers may have experiences, there were times where King found herself on the floor of her studio crying as she tried in vain to correctly spool her negatives for development.

According to King, once she mastered the art of the darkroom, photography became a type of meditative practice for her. "I'm an introvert actor and an extrovert writer so photography has been a place for me to experience quiet and stillness and have an objective viewpoint on things where my mouth/mind isn't moving a million miles per minute," she said. "Photography, like life is determined by what we choose to focus on. This process of discernment creates an attitude by which we process events by. We are in charge of these images, but at the same time, given space and thought, these images can come back to mean completely new and different things."

Oftentimes, King said, she leaves images that she has taken for months on end before approaching them again."That space seems to make me more appreciative of what I do," she said. "It is much easier for me to praise and appreciate other people's work rather than my own. My photography is an ode to my world travels, and the experiences I have been blessed with. We are what we see, you know?"

Like our last interviewee, Laura Evans of Levans Photography, 2009 has also been a turning point year for King. "I am coping with extreme grief of the passing away of a close family member, as well as experiencing what married life (in the military) really means," she said. "Hence, it's been a real year of opposition, discovery, struggle, and confusion. I really have my husband to thank for supporting our family financially so that I can have the time and security to concentrate on my art. In many ways, this gift of time is really been every artist's dream."

Of her husband, King said, "He's simply inspiring; with no training at all, a photo he snapped is our most popular in the shop (bird on a wire). A year ago, I would have never imagined I would be in two fine art galleries, self publish a poetry book, and actually sell prints to strangers. Just this week I've scheduled five event sessions; this is all new to me. I'm so blessed to have such a support group in terms of fPOE and others. I need all the help I can get!"

FPOE also caught up with King this weekend to ask her a few questions:

FPOE
You say that this year has been a turning point for you. What are some new techniques that you're trying?

Katrina King
Everything. I try to experiment with every technique. This week I have really fallen in love with the cloning technique, printing on metallic paper, photo poetry, and creating merchandise.

FPOE
What are some of the things that you are doing right now that you love?

Katrina King
I love working on my diptych project: "In our eyes" from "The perfect pair project." It is something that challenges me every week. I have been also been reading "Photography's Antiquarian Avant-Garde" by Lyle Rexer, and photo-riffing off what I find there. Right now I am preparing a series on Hampton Roads which will be featured on an alternative online newspaper next week. I also started a 365 day series on bare-edited, low-fi images revolving around exploring every day reality.


FPOE
Are you focusing on finding some paid client work in Virginia?

Katrina King
Yes, absolutely. I am actually in the process of setting up my first non-family photo sessions! I couldn't be more excited/terrified. ;) Please contact me if you're in the area!


FPOE
So can you tell me a little bit about the equipment you use. What kind of lights do you use?

Katrina King
My equipment is on the rough side. I have seven cameras. 4 of which can be seen in this photo.
my sense of place: the bedroom oct 09
I use my FUJIFILM FinePix S5700 S700 most frequently, after traveling it has accumulated quite a bit of wear and tear. After that I use my 1970's Minolta SrT101 with 28mm, 50mm, and 200mm lenses. Once we save up the money, I hope to get a Canon Rebel even though I have been using Minolta for 5 years.

FPOE
How exciting! What kind of processing do you favor-?

Katrina King
I use picnik.com, I don't even have photoshop; but someday hope to purchase the Apature Software. I'm a big fan of the cross-process in my editing.

FPOE
So what do you hope that viewers will come away with when looking at your art and your shop?

Katrina King
Good art is like a good conversation; it changes the way you perceive something. Everyone has their own unique personal topography and this cerebral landscape creates the way we react to ideas, surroundings, and each other. The idea that my images can be incorporated into your sense of place to contribute to a sense of peace is highly inspiring to me. The worst thing we can do to another person is to pin them down, put them in a box and say that they will always be a certain way. We should know how they are, but never quite who they are. It is the same way with artists. I hope I can be trusted as a photographer to be able to create anything, the same way good actors are trusted to be able to play any character on stage. Of course we all have our strengths and weaknesses, but we owe it to ourselves as students of this art to make it a constant investigation.

FPOE
So last question: what has been your favorite part of having a store? Has is expanded your horizons as an artist?

Katrina King

Two answers to that question

1. Incredibly! We are all amalgamations of each other and our art, and being inspired by such talented artists on a daily basis has truly touched me. I find a parallel here in how I study music: I mimic the styles of what I see around me almost to a "T", and then I throw that away and work on something else. Each cycle chisels my work down to what will be a specific style in years to come.

2. At the same time, getting caught up with blog readers, shop hearts, and the stress of low sales can sometimes be a detriment to the general energy of creating art. Sometimes it can be easy to forge the greater purpose in our art. But, don't get me wrong, there are several times I do take photos just to be able to sell them; we need the money, and if that's how I can try to support my family I'm all for it!

FPOE
Wonderful! I really appreciate your volunteering for this interview -thanks for doing this.

Katrina King
Thank-YOU Jen, I really appreciate it. Have a great weekend!

5 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for featuring me, what an honor! :)

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  2. Incredible interview, it's great to learn from a pro

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  3. Lovely thoughts, Katrina! It was great to get to know you!

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