1. Can you please tell us a few words about yourself, where are you from.
I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, CA. I grew up in rural West Marin County and have been living in the East Bay (Oakland and Berkeley) since 2014. When I’m not working or out shooting film, I’m probably drawing up my latest illustration.
2. What is your photography story, how did you start? How did you get where you are now?
I started shooting film in 2018 when my dad passed my grandfather’s Olympus OM-1 on to me. I didn’t shoot much in the beginning – it would take months for me to even finish a roll! I started getting much more into film in early 2020 when COVID-19 and working from home allowed me to have more time during the day to take walks around my neighborhood. Shooting film has honestly kept me sane during the uncertainty of the last year and I have seen my style really change and become more distinct. I even started exploring medium format recently!
3. What’s your favourite gear to use (camera, lens, film) ?
My favorite camera has to be my beloved Olympus-OM1 (with a Zuiko F / 3.5 28mm lens). I’ve also been having a lot of fun learning how to shoot my medium format Minolta Autocord. My favorite film stocks at the moment are Ultramax400 and Kodak Gold 200 for 35mm – they’re pretty affordable and always deliver! For 120 I like shooting Kodak Portra 400.
4. What do you enjoy shooting the most? And Why?
It’s hard to choose what I enjoy shooting the most because I shoot different things to capture different feelings. During the pandemic, I’ve been really enjoying shooting my local neighborhoods and hunting down all the vintage cars and houses I can find. Alternatively, I also love shooting my partner and loved ones to encapsulate their love and memories permanently on film.
5. How do you educate yourself to take better photos?
I get a lot of inspiration from the work of other photographers in the Instragram film community. There are SO many talented creatives online who are unbelievably friendly and willing to share their experiences and tips. I also shoot with my mom and dad frequently and have learned so much from them. They both also shoot film and have a wealth of photographic knowledge they are always sharing with me. My mom only shoots B&W so outings with her force me to think more critically about my subject matter and look for contrast and composition in new ways.
6. Have you ever doubted yourself? And what helped you to overcome that?
I doubt myself all the time! Who doesn’t?! There is constantly so much incredible work being shared online it can be difficult to not compare yourself to others and get in your head about how popular your own work is. I just have to take time to remind myself that I take photos for myself and my own enjoyment and that my work’s quality isn’t determined by how many likes I get.
7. What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer for you?
Watching my progress over the last few years has been unbelievably rewarding. I’ve started to develop my own style and have begun producing images I am really proud of. Also forming friendships with other film photographers has been really special!
8. Among your works, which one is your favourite? Tell us the story behind it.
One of my all time favorite shots is a portrait I took of my partner at golden hour in Joshua Tree National Park. We were in JT this past October for our anniversary and decided to go have a photoshoot in the park at sunset. This was the first time I had done an intentional and styled portrait shoot. We were aiming for some timeless vintage vibes and I was able to gain some practice in directing her posing, which is something I’ve struggled with in the past. It was an awesome learning experience in a beautiful location and really special to share it with her. The result was a roll of colorful and radiant shots that I was insanely proud of and excited about.
9.What gives you inspiration?
I get inspiration from all over the place, whether that be from going on photo walks with my friends and family or seeing some new creative work online or listening to some music I love or exploring a new part of town.
10. Exactly what it is you want to say with your photographs?
I want my photos to be filled with warmth and a nostalgic feeling for the viewer. I think film photography is really special in that way. You’re able to encapsulate a feeling that is almost tangible. I strive to capture the world around me, and those in it, in a way that feels both timeless and tender.
You can follow Kate on Instagram @kviii_film