Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Style - An Interview With Photographer Caitlin Brookes

For our second interview of the New Year with the talented FPOE ladies, we explore the wilderness of Ottawa, Canada through the lens of Photographer Caitlin Brookes. In her shop, The Paper Butterfly, whimsical butterflies, dragonflies and other woodland creatures frolic and thrive. Caitlin's forests are filled with magic and delicate mysteries around each turn in the woodland path.

Autumn Dragonfly Fine Art Print by ThePaperButterfly on Etsy
In 2007, Caitlin graduated in Baking and Pastry Arts at Algonquin College. While she loved the feeling of creating something with her own two hands that others could enjoy, she still longed for an outlet to create something colourful on paper. Encouraged by her father, she took up a camera and began to find inspiration in the images she began to capture.
As she developed her artistic voice, she found that she was greatly influenced by her grandmother’s vibrant, floral watercolour paintings. Soon Caitlin learned techniques to artfully combine her images into the colourful and whimsical photo-collages one finds in her shop today. She recently took the time to talk to FPOE about her journey as a photographer.

Scabiosa and Spiderwebs Fine Art Print by The Paper Butterfly on EtsyFPOE
When did you realize you were a photographer? Was it a gradual process or did it hit you at once?

In high school I always felt naturally inclined to take Art classes, but depression and social anxiety made it very difficult for me to focus on experimenting, learning and enjoying the process.
Taking up photography was a gradual thing for me. My father is a photographer as well, so growing up it was a strong influence in our home. I bought my first film camera when I was fifteen, with which I took mostly pictures of friends, family and pets. A few years ago, my best friend loaned me her digital camera. I brought it everywhere with me, and then I started going places just to take pictures. Eventually I upgraded to a DSLR (a Nikon D40) and I still take it almost everywhere with me.

What inspires you to pick up your camera?

Mourning Cloak Butterfly Fine Art Print by The Paper Butterfly on EtsyCaitlin
It goes without saying that I am inspired by Nature. I am in awe of Her creativity and diversity~ endless colours, textures, patterns and light. I feel blessed just to be able to take it all in.

What subjects within Nature really speak to you?

Since my mother is a gardener I spent a lot of time helping her in the backyard and visiting local public gardens. I love flowers of course, but I became fascinated with butterflies the summer I turned sixteen and fell in love. They have held a feeling of nostalgia and discovery for me ever since.

How would you describe your style?

Chickadee and Stars Fine Art Print by The Paper Butterfly on EtsyCaitlin
I strive to create images that are sweet and colourful, as well as slightly abstract and exaggerated, as though it were a dream, such as Junco and Daisy.

What was the process that brought you to Etsy?

Reconnecting with an old friend, I found that she had an Etsy shop.
It was so easy to set up, and it seemed like a wonderful opportunity to share my work, a great place to get started.

What has your experience selling been?

I am still fairly new to Etsy. I have only made my first sale, but I have confidence it will pick up. I get lovely reactions from people who see my work in person, and my pieces have sold well at a couple of shows. I have a couple of shows lined up for the spring, and I will be displaying some of my work at a local café during February and March. I am hoping that will help bring visitors to my Etsy shop.

Do you sell (or plan to sell) other products other than photos?

Our Nest Fine Art Print by the Paper Butterfly on EtsyCaitlin
Since creating my photographs for The Paper Butterfly, my interest in other mediums has been rekindled. I have been tinkering with linocuts, hand-colouring photographs, and I have picked up my watercolours again.

FPOEDo you have any advice to other photographers selling on Etsy?

For me it has been a great networking tool, and an easily accessible home-base that I can refer people to.

You can see more of Caitlin's whimsical imagery in her shop:

Or follow her documentation of nature on her Flickr:

She also has a blog where she posts her images of the wildlife in Ottawa:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for doing this, Jen. I really appreciate the opportunity to share my work and get my name out there!


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