Interview With Professional British Photographer Catherine Plant
Q: Do you ever have photographer’s block and if yes how do you deal with it?
A: Yes, sometimes. I think photographer’s block is nothing more than a lack of motivation. I deal with it by imagining all the things that I would like to photograph and I take it from. Imagination is still the greatest tool for any creative person.
Q: Do you like to talk about yourself or your pictures? If yes, about what aspects of photography? If no, why?
A: I much prefer to talk about all aspects of my pictures and my photography. It’s probably far more interesting than talking about myself.
Q: How would you describe your attention span?
A: I could lie & say my attention span is good, but I can be easily distracted by things around me. Which when I’m out photographing probably isn’t a bad thing.
Q: When did you decide to become a photographer?
A: Seven years ago after I got talking to another photographer online.
Q: What does photography mean to you?
A: It means a lot to me. It has taken over in quite a big way.
Q: Can you recall the first photo you took that made you go WOW!?
A: Yes, it was a photograph of Whitby Abbey. It was taken using an old film roll camera. I had the image printed out in black & white, and it looked amazing (for a first photograph)!
Q: Do you have any formal training regarding photography?
A: Yes. I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Commercial Photography.
Q: How technical is your photography?
A: Probably average. For me, it depends on the environment that I’m in at the time. Technicality can vary greatly given each individual scenario.
Q: How do you feel about cropping?
A: I try not to crop any of my images. But there have been instances where I’ve had too.
Q: Where is your favorite place to live and work as a photographer in the World and why?
A: I’d have to say the UK as this is where I’m currently based. In saying that however, one of my favourite places to photograph is Prague. It is a wonderful city.
Q: Define the word “beauty”!
A: What a difficult thing to try and define. Everyone has their own definition of what beauty is & what it personally means to them. For myself, I find beauty in many things. Early morning mist in a city park is just one of those things.
Q: What is your most favorite and least favorite word in photography or life? How do they make you feel?
A: Truth and Lies. I can portray both of these words within my photographs.
Q: How does your personality change when you look through the camera?
A: I don’t think my personality changes that much really. The only way in which it changes is that I become a lot quieter whilst I concentrate on what I’m photographing.
Q: How do you feel about missed shots which cannot be recreated?
Q: Ever concerned about failure?
A: No. That’s quite a negative state of mind so I don’t think about failure in any shape or form.
Q: Who are your influences?
A: I admire many photographers for what they do. I very much like the work of Andre Kertesz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Simon Marsden & more recently, Sebastian Copeland.
Q: What is your favorite image, either your own or someone else’s or both? Describe its creation or meaning to you?
A: A favourite image of mine is the Houses of Parliament, which I photographed late one night last September. I added a photoshop colour filter to the image. I almost feel as though I have gone back in time whenever I look at it. I think there is something mysterious about the subject matter in this photograph, like it has a secret to tell.
Q: Describe a day in your personal or professional life.
A: My days vary considerably. Sometimes they can be hectic. Sometimes they can be fairly quiet. But regardless of this I always think about what or where I can photograph next.
Q: What are the biggest personal or professional challenges you face on a daily basis?
A: Quite simply other photographers. There is so much competition in this field of work from both established photographers, and new ones who are constantly emerging, and pushing their way up the ranks.
Q: What has been the single biggest obstacle against growing as a photographer in whole?
A: See above.
Q: What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
A: People. Places. Still life objects.
Q: Tell your funniest, scariest, most bizarre, most touching story from a photo shoot!
A: The scariest story, or at best the scariest photo shoot, was probably my first ever wedding which I did about a year and half ago. I was so worried that because it was somebody’s special day, I would mess it up completely. I didn’t, but it’s not something I’m in a hurry to do again.
Q: Have you ever thought about or actually stopped doing photography? What were the circumstances?
A: No. I’ve never thought about or actually stopped doing photography. I enjoy it too much.
Q: What types of assignments are you attracted most?
A: Outdoor ones. And ones where I can work alone because it gives me more freedom, and more control over what does or doesn’t get photographed.
Q: Describe what black and white photography means to you?
A: I really like black and white photography. Some of my earliest photographs were taken in black and white. It is one of those photographic mediums that always lends a certain amount of mystery to an image, that naturally, cannot be found in a colour image.
Q: Do you think of yourself as an artist and what do you think of the word artist?
A: Yes, I think of myself as an artist. I’m still creating a piece of work that is brand new. I set up my tripod & camera in the same way that a painter would set up their easel and blank canvas board.
Q: How do you describe your photographic style?
A: I don’t have a style as such. I think if I did stick to one particular style, I would be limiting myself greatly.
Q: What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction to your photographs?
Q: Tell a little secret about yourself that no-one knows …
A: *Laughs* If I did then it wouldn’t be a secret anymore.
Q: Who or what would you love to shoot that you haven’t already?
A: The Grand Canyon in America.
Q: What would you have done differently during your photography career so far and could this be an advice to others?
A: I wouldn’t do anything differently. I think questions such as this do have an underlying agenda to imply something else, such as regret. I try not to regret anything I do, but if something does go wrong, then I live and learn from it, but I never regret it.
Q: What are your thoughts on the paparazzi and their effects on photographers and photography?
A: I’m not that keen on paparazzi photographers. I think their line of work is incredibly intrusive. Even though I understand that at the end of day, they still have a job to do.
Q: How do you feel about digital manipulation and to what extent do you utilize it?
A: I quite like digital manipulation, but I don’t utilize it to the point where my photos are completely un-recognisable. I use it mainly to turn colour images to black & white, or to add other colour photo filters, but that’s about it really.
Q: What other thoughts would you like to share?
A: Always follow your gut instinct when taking photographs. If something feels right, then chances are, it is.
Visit Catherine’s photography portfolio on Saatchi Gallery