LOS ANGELES-BASED PHOTOGRAPHER, KAT KAYE, TALKS TO RAW ABOUT HER PHOTOGRAPHS, HER INSPIRATION, AND PHOTO-MAKING PROCESS. SEE HER WORK AT THE UPCOMING SANTA MONICA RAW SHOWCASE ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4TH! 

How did you first start as a photographer? 
I wanted to do a personal photo project and figured that it would make sense to take a class to learn the basic functions of the camera.  I never actually decided to become a photographer, it just happened.  I got really positive feedback in class and was winning photo contests.  I eventually started looking at additional photo equipment as a need rather than a want and since then I've been receiving a ton of offers for commissioned work. 

What inspires your artwork?
I'm inspired by beauty, it's in everything and everyone. So, I'm always inspired.  Beauty has the power to break through time, spark friendships, ignite love, and soften the sometimes harsh nature of humanity.  It is a paradox; for, as it is effortless, you have to choose to see it.  I try to capture that in my work.  

Do you engage in, or draw inspiration from, any other forms of art? 
I'm absolutely inspired by other forms of art.  I'm currently working on a complex shoot that's largely influenced by German Expressionism.  I love the film The Cabinet of Dr.Calgari and am basing the shoot on four characters from it.

What does a typical art-making day look like for you? 
It varies depending on the project, my approach, and how I feel that day.  I follow my intuition and hope that it leads me to the right place.  There are times when I'll be shooting for nine hours straight and I forget to eat so I guess that not eating is typical for an art-making day.  

What sort of techniques do you most like working with? 
I've experimented with the wet-plate collodion process, which I loved, but it requires too many dangerous chemicals and little creative latitude in post-production.  I love shooting in digital the most.

Are there any artists or art movements out there that strongly influence your work?
I really love Pop Surrealism but am unsure as to how much it actually affects my own work.  I'm influenced by whatever excites me at the moment, be it a work of art or the expression of a passerby.  It's interesting to watch people who are in a daze; they make the funniest of expressions.      
 
Are there any specific reoccurring themes or subjects that you explore and deal with most in your photos?
During my time in school, I was forced to examine all social structures, breaking them down into the politics of identity. This caused me to see how much of a strong influence institutions have on our notions of "self" and how that can greatly distort how we view ourselves.  I think it's vital to one's individuality and happiness to question their components of self and I strive to provoke that with my work.  A professor of mine, Dr.Olga Vasquez, had once said to our class "rather than reject the world, know it more."  I don't think one needs to necessarily reject all social standards but to understand them more and master the art of life and expression with a more informed outlook.  That's part of what I deal with in some of my work.

Any previous exhibitions that you are most proud of? 
I was very honored to have my work exhibited at some fundraisers for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  This was especially significant to me because my mother is a survivor of leukemia.  I'm very grateful for amazing organizations such as The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, whose work has been part of the reason why my mother is still alive.  

Any current rising stars within the genre that you would recommend we look out for?
There are countless photographers whose work I admire.  If I'm to make any recommendations it would be to support the work of ANY up and coming artist whom you personally connect with.  When someone's making their way up, the support from fans fuels their work to such a strong degree that you become a part of their art through your support.


Visit Kat's website for more of her work: katkaye.com
RSVP for the Santa Monica RAW Showcase to see her work live on Thursday, February 4th!