Who are you?
Schooled or self-taught?
I learned retouching in school and that definitely helped me make up for what I lacked in technical skills and equipment. I’ve gradually bridged that gap by some assisting but mostly it’s amazing what you can teach yourself online. There are so many great resources out there.
When did you first pick up a camera and the moment you just knew?
It’s been a long process. My dad writes books on archival marine photography, so growing up, I’d always been exposed to a lot of really interesting imagery and had a strong appreciation for great pictures instilled in me. Although he’s a fairly burly sea captain, he’s been known to steal my Vogue Magazines from time to time! I honestly didn’t do too much in high school aside from a few run of the mill angsty teen goth shoots in Ross Bay Cemetery. After high school, I attended Emily Carr and went on to graduate from Capilano University’s design and illustration program with a view to becoming a graphic designer. I’d started taking photos at Cap mainly so I could hone my retouching skills, but it wasn’t till after graduation when my dad bought me my first DSLR that I really decided it was something I couldn’t live without.
What type of photography do you specialize in and why?
I specialize in portraiture and fashion. My mother is a phenomenal portrait artist and I think that is where I got my fascination with portraying people. She has this amazing way of getting to know her each of her subjects and capturing their personalities on canvas and if you’re good, you can do the same thing on film. While I appreciate architectural and nature photography when it is well executed, I personally feel that nothing is more interesting and beautiful than the human form. I’ve always been a fashion junkie and the theatrics/fantasy of it all has always intrigued me – it’s all about building an illusion and I love that. I’ve also become a bit of a drag queen specialist -not something I really planned on, but I happen to know a lot of fabulous queens personally and no one has better make up or more glamourous wardrobes.
Favorite lens and why?
Equipment comes second to my interest in the subject. I’ve never really liked talking about it although I recently upgraded and love, love, love my new baby.
Who are your influences? And if you had one question to ask them, it would be ….. ?
My influences vary greatly, ranging from Hedi Slimane’s stark black + whites to David LaChapelle’s saturated grotesque fantasy creations and even to a lot of the amazing emerging talent on flickr is incredibly inspiring. I would probably ask LaChapelle what Amanda Lepore is like on set.
Ideal gig would be ….
Shooting Amanda Lepore….for Italian Vogue
If there is any advice, whether it be camera or business related, it would be ….
The only way to grow as a photographer, or as anything else for that matter, is to jump in the deep end – to put yourself in uncomfortable situations and force yourself to rise to the occasion.
To see more of Kate’s work, visit www.kate-mclaren.com