Archive for 'About P39'
I was asked recently to sit down for a little Q&A with Chris from La Brisa Photography…here’s a re-post if you didn’t see it on his site last week. Happy reading!
Happy Friday everyone! To continue our photographer Q&A series, I am extremely delighted to have the fabulous Cathy share with us what makes her tick and her photography “story”! She’s an incredible person with an amazing heart. You can, and will, learn TONS from her…I know that I have! Thanks Cathy! =)
CHRIS: Let’s start with a little background info, tell me about yourself.
CATHY: Thanks, Chris, for the opportunity to share my story with others! I’m humbled and grateful to have a few moments to talk about my life in front of, and behind, the lens.
Where do I begin? I am addicted to Dots. Pick out the green ones and we are BFFs for life. I love too much. Sleep too little. Indulge at Starbucks more than I should. I have a weakness for handbags. I could burst with pride every time I hear the Iowa State fight song to the roar of a packed stadium at the start of a Saturday morning football game. Seriously, it brings tears to my eyes. I would like to pack my suitcase and move into an Anthropolgie store. I may appear like a tough nut, but I’m so soft at heart. I get to know my clients as if they were part of my own family. I love pretty things on paper–the touch of letterpress as it graces an envelope with a handwritten note makes my day every single time.
I’m a native midwesterner. I understand the value of hard work and a sometimes-stubborn attitude. I created Cathy Mores Photography to provide my clients with a portrait experience that is about more than making great pictures. Currently based in Manhattan, KS, we serve clients all over Northeast Kansas, the Kansas City metro and some of our favorite places across the midwest and beyond. My website is www.cathymoresphotography.com and I keep a blog of current news, sessions and ramblings at www.parallel39blog.com. I’m on facebook too at www.facebook.com/CathyMoresPhotography; my twitter handle is twitter.com/cathymores.
I’m pretty much an open book at this point. You can read about what I had for lunch, see my latest session, or find my latest flea-market find at any one of those.
CHRIS: How did you become a photographer?
CATHY: I have always been a creative person; I took a huge fascination to the magic and mystery of creating beautiful images as a child. My dad had a Canon AE-1 and a couple of good lenses. He wasn’t a professional photographer, but was a huge influence as I began making pictures at a very early age. I took that camera to college, where I studied photography as part of my major, and I still have it today as a reminder of where I’ve come from. (It proudly sits next to my collection of vintage Kodak Brownie cameras from the 1930′s and 40′s.) I didn’t lose my love for photography after college. I knew I’d ultimately come back to it :: the smell of darkroom chemicals were too embedded in the fabric of my life. But it took a burner to my work in the advertising industry, in nearly ten years spent in ad agencies across Iowa, Colorado and Kansas. I did a little commercial photography during that time, and it energized me. I saw a need for photography that did more than capture the physical attributes of a person, and instead photograph their emotions and interactions. It was the underlying premise and desire to create Cathy Mores Photography.
CHRIS: Why should I book you as a photographer?
CATHY: I listen. I hear your story and turn that dialogue into imagery that you’ll have your entire life. Generations from now, those images not only share what you looked like, but who you are as an individual. Who you are as a family. Your story is so unique, and you deserve to have someone behind the lens who you trust to tell that story. I am your trusted partner through each step of the experience. I’ll help consult you from the first time we meet to discuss your session to selecting the right portraits and products for your home. I develop long-term relationships with my clients; when I photograph your family, you become part of mine. I take the responsibility of being your family’s storyteller very seriously. It’s a great honor and privilege to be able to document your family’s story through photographs.
CHRIS: How would you describe your style?
CATHY: I call my style “photoartistry”. It’s kind of a mutt of traditional portrait photography turned on its ear and blended with photojournalism and strong emotional ties. Basically, it boils down to this :: I want you to feel something when you look at my photographs. Joy. Warmth. Love. Comfort. Family. Respect. The moments you remember most between you and another person aren’t necessarily the ones that involve “tip your head this way and look at each other like that”. It’s the moments that happen in between posed shots. The way dad swings his little girl around or the comfort of mom’s warm embrace. The kiss on a nose between a new bride and her groom.
CHRIS: If you had to pick your favorite piece of equipment, what would it be and why?
CATHY: You’re killing me with this! I can only pick one? I would be lost, completely lost, without my prime lenses. I like that I have to force myself to move to get a great shot–that I can’t just zoom in and expect that to be good enough. Right now that includes the 50mm f/1.4 and 105mm f/2.8. Tack sharp and buttery-beautiful all in the same breath.
CHRIS: What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?
CATHY: Connect with others. No man is an island in this business–connect with others on SOME level. Online, through a mentor, workshops. There are so many useful resources available to help you succeed. But also don’t be afraid to think outside the box and blaze your own path–those mentors and workshops are merely available to offer you their opinion. It’s hard work, but worthwhile and humbling too.
CHRIS: Care to share 5 recent photographs?
CATHY: Oy!! That’s like asking a mom to choose her favorite child.
This remains one of my favorite images to date. My husband and Little Man were playing in the grass one night, laughing and being silly. I still hear Little Man’s giggle when I see this image.
I went to San Francisco a couple of years ago to study with four photographers who changed my life. (Not to mention the other photographers that I still connect with!) It was an incredibly intense, emotional weekend of discovery and art. In one exercise, we were matched up with a member of the Stinson Beach, CA community to hear their stories and photograph them, with the images donated to the community’s historical records. I was matched with a woman who recently retired and was finding her new wings of freedom, and trying to re-discover what inspired her. We were blocks from the ocean on a chilly early May morning, so we grabbed our shoes and walked to the beach, one of the places where she feels most alive.
This little guy totally wasn’t sure about me at first. Think about it to a two year old–you’re a new person with this big black box in front of your face and telling him to smile? Yeah, right. So he stayed where he was comfortable, right between mom and dad–and all of a sudden he was hamming it up. We’re totally BFFs now, minus the Dots.
This image feels like childhood! Fresh, free, unabashedly chasing after a dream. You can’t make moments like this up. It screams happiness. And summer.
This is a really recent one–if you’re a regular blog reader, just a couple of weeks ago. We photographed this beauty at a fresh five days old; I love newborns because you have to be SO patient and calm and it’s a wonderful step back from my usual pace. I didn’t learn until I arrived at the session that the baby’s dad was about to leave a few days later for his first deployment overseas. Knowing he was holding her for the first and last time for the next several months still pulls at my heart. I cried while editing this session–this is what I talk about knowing the deep responsibility that I have as a photographer–that these are some of the few photographs that he’ll have while he’s away from his family. It’s so humbling, and incredibly gratifying too, to share those gifts with others.
I came across Silicon Prairie News today and thought it was a great collection of blogs, news and life from the Midwest…and check it out :: P39 is included! The entire site is chock-full of excellent resources and information for entrepreneurs and creatives in the central states.
It’s time to put a fresh face on the mall display… so I made some cute little DIY pennants, added some fun summer touches and all new images to the window! Stop by if you’re in the area and check it out. Playful and bright, just like summer!
(photo by iPhone)
On the advice of a friend/trusted business colleague, I took a risk recently–a risk that I knew in my heart wasn’t really a gamble in terms of my business and where it will lead, but a leap of faith deep within to see myself, my art and my business through a new light. While I’m proud of how far the business has developed over the last couple of years, I know in my heart that there’s much work to be done in terms of moving forward to the next level.
With great risk (and even a highly emotional one at that) comes great reward. And I feel like celebrating! Because now, I see so clearly what was underneath the surface. I see how passionate I am about creating beautiful art. For you. I see how much I wish to be a strong, clear voice in the community of artists and photographers. It’s one thing for someone else to see those things in you :: it’s entirely another thing to see it and believe it for yourself. And in this moment, I do.
For this I have the great pleasure to thank two women I’m proud to have developed a business relationship with—the wise, insightful leaders of an organization who inspire and coach women to fulfill their vision with passion and impact. With their guidance, I have peeled back the layers, like an artichoke, to render more clearly the vision I have for my work. What it feels like to have momentum. What breathes life and passion into each day. And how to turn those emotions into tangible steps for upward movement.
Parts of it have left me exposed. Vulnerable. Open to new ways of thinking. Face to face with challenges that must be overcome. But there’s greater clarity too. I know, right now, more than ever, who I am as an artist, businesswoman and mom.
I struggle with blogging all of this. Because I don’t want this blog to be self-serving, a place for dumping. I want it to be a place of joy, of sharing beautiful images and work. And this, my friends, is a great celebration—because now, while I still know where my feet are planted, my arms are reaching in a new direction filled with life and breath.
In a way it takes me back to the Discovery Workshop, and this image that defined our day in Stinson Beach ::
I’m so, so excited for what this next year holds. So many promises and challenges, and it’s going to be an exciting adventure. And in honor of the lives and moments I’ve captured over the past many months of 2009, I wanted to share some of my favorite moments with the people who made them happen. I hope that each day, they see themselves the way I did during their session—filled with wonder and love.
Sharing blessings with others is one of my favorite things about the holidays! My wish for each of you is that you’re able to share the many joys of the season with those you love and have changed your life.
When I first considered starting the studio and developing design and photography businesses simultaneously, one of the hallmarks that I wanted them to be founded on is a truly boutique experience—in every sense of the word. As such, I often write notes to clients and vendors alike to share news, and often, my appreciation for continuing their partnership with the studio.
Being the paper junkie that I am, I thought it would be a great tool to have some new stationery printed. (So what if I’m always looking for an excuse?! ) Enter, the fabulous-ness of Sycamore Street Press, a letterpress paper goods shop. I’ve long adored Eva’s work and craft as seen on Etsy, Paper Crave, and several other paper/ephemera sites (of which there are several, ahem). I also admire their dedication to be eco-friendly in an industry long seen as traditionally less-than-responsible.
I am so over the moon with how they turned out. Simple, yet so authentic to the brand I’ve created.
I can’t thank Eva at Sycamore Street Press enough for her awesome work. She was fantastic to collaborate with on this! I would highly recommend her—and I hope we get the opportunity to create more beautiful things together in the future.
One last history lesson and then I swear we’ll get to more interesting things. But I feel it’s important to know where I’m coming from to fully understand where I’m going.
Cathy Mores Photography was born out of a love for creating beautiful images. For years, and years, and years, I photographed still subjects. Spent hours (and days) in the darkroom smelling of developer and making magic from light captured on film. After our nearly three-year-old son was born, I discovered there’s so much more emotion to capture. Now I use the process not only as a historical medium—because in fifty years, we’ll all want to remember those pudgy cheeks and gap-toothed smile—but to use the lens to tell the story of how young lives change, grow, and awaken to the world around them.
There are lots of photographers out there. So many who ooze perfection in a studio setting where all the elements are controlled. But real life happens in between; where kids are running around, exploring, discovering, being themselves, wearing halloween costumes on hot summer days. And those are the moments we remember most. But it’s not just children, babies and families that I photograph—there are beautiful stories to share among milestone moments, too—the transition from high school to college, or the journey of becoming an engaged couple to marriage.
And in keeping with the P39 philosophy of using the details to tell the story, I often use details in my portraiture to piece together the story of the people I photograph—the places and things that they enjoy most, games they play together, hobbies that enrich their lives. Knowing who a person is, as much as what they look like, freezes a moment in time that is forever remembered and treasured.