Cinematic and surreal. Almost futuristic. Kate Hook‘s shots have this effect, taking the viewer to places far away, not geographically, but in time and space. The photographer, based in the south of the UK, takes us on a mental journey through time and space.
Kate Hook studied Art Direction at the University of Arts London, Filmmaking at Staffordshire Uni and is now a photographer specialising in analogue photography. Moving away from many of her colleagues who rely mainly on post production and Photoshop, Kate does everything on camera and looking at the results we can’t help but be speechless.
Tell us how you started taking photographs. Is there a particular moment you remember?
There isn’t a particular moment that comes to mind, it was more like a organic sequence of developing an interest in taking photographs which started with the Canon AV-1 my dad gave me when I was a teenager, as well playing with the other digital cameras in the house. When I was about 14/15 I got really into it and at about 16 it became quite apparent I had a knack for taking pictures. One thing I remember when I was getting more into it was someone saying me that I was taking pictures “wrong”, which granted at that age I had little idea on what I was doing as at that stage I had no formal teaching or anyone showing me properly how to operate a camera. So I started to read books on cameras and photography as I wanted to learn how to shoot correctly and then do it “wrong” on purpose.
Describe your photographic style. How did you arrive at this point?
Magical and vivid. Not light or dark, instead it’s bright and dream like. I’ve spent years playing around with various different methods and techniques. When I was younger I was very drawn to surrealism so I feel that has had an impact on me creatively. I’ve always believed that magic is real and there’s so much more to reality than what we’re taught, so I try to show that in my work. Reality is what you make of it afterall.
For you, which is the most important thing to consider when taking portraits?
The mood and the message… If there is one, sort of depends on the photo really. There’s typically quite a few elements going on depending on what the set of portraits are about. For the model, it’s how they’re presented, from their expression’s to what they’re wearing. Then there’s other elements such as lighting and equipment. As well as themes and symbolism. All of it is like mathematical equation with various different factors that go into the final images.
What equipment do you use for shooting? Which cameras and accessories do you take with you when shooting and why?
I shoot entirely on film and I’ve started using more filters in my work. The main cameras I use are Nikon F100, Fm2, and F3. Recently I’ve gotten a Pentax 645N which I’m excited to work more with. Every now and again I may “film soup” a roll of 35mm, which is a process where you submerge the film in a liquid, which distorts the chemical balance of the film and causes some interesting effects. Absolutely none of my work is photoshopped, everything is done in-camera pretty much. I only ever do a bit of minor tweaking before uploading but that’s it. We spend a lot of time staring at screens so for me personally I think it’s important on a artistic standpoint to take and create imagery without the reliance of a computer and editing software. Plus shooting on film makes it that bit more real.
Are there any artists you follow or are inspired by?
Pete Turner and Benoit Debbie have been the biggest influences for me through out the years. Turner was essentially the god father of colour film photography and Debbie is a master of colour for cinematography.
Continue the sentence: For me, photography is…
Truth. It’s all there for a reason. The human eye can’t and maybe doesn’t want to see everything. Photography can tell us how striking yet how beautiful the world truly is.