21 Nov Untamed Creatives | Kate Davies
Cape Town-based photographer Kate Davies learnt her craft by breaking down and building up every camera she could find. Over the last few years her bold experiments have been in the realm of infrared photography. Not one to shy away from the technical or complicated, her process becomes as interesting as the works she produces; exceptional and Untamed.
From a young age, Kate was always interested in making and creating things. While studying fashion design, she fell in love with the photography thereof instead. “I was really interested in the look of garments but not really the making of them”, she says. She started playing around with photography, and gravitated towards experimenting with different effects. “Once I realised I’d found my medium, things developed naturally”. She experimented with Lomography, Polaroid, digital and film, figuring out the choices that cameras make for us, and why.
As soon as she was comfortable with all technical aspects, she started shooting in infrared. The process of IR photography involves identifying the wavelength of light that the camera uses to capture an image, and then modifying the camera. This entails blocking out other types of wavelengths allowing the camera to be sensitive to IR light.
Her photography philosophy is built on the concept of truth. “You have to try to capture the subject’s truth, even if it’s not your own”, she says. The creative aspect of IR photography allows her to explore this philosophy. “In essence, IR photographs contain no colour and therefore allow the photographer to ‘paint’ what they would like to see, opening up a number of new doors for emotional barriers to be broken. Scenes of melancholy, fear, ecstasy, love and innocence are all absolutely possible to both capture and feel, allowing me to truly speak using my photographs”.
Within six months of shooting in IR, she had her first solo exhibition 715 Nanometre (being the wavelength that the images were photographed in). At that point she was working with the basics – focus, intent, and colour. She has since begun including people, and worked closely with her very good friend, stylist and choreographer Leda Wright, to push the boundaries of truth in infrared. This experience taught her how to bridge the gap between photography and art, and it allowed her to capture the beauty in shooting people in a landscape environment.
Her favourite project thus far is The Living Years, a portrait exhibition she did in 2012. She had no guidelines, rules or time restraints, and took 3 months off to work exclusively on this project. (Check out the feature we did on The Living Years here).
At the moment she’s interested in water- and underwater infrared, and she’s delving into channel swapping in the infrared spectrum. “I am fascinated by water and how it changes the look and feel of pretty much anything, especially in the infrared spectrum.” She’s also working on a dog portraiture project.
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