1.Who is Katja Marr?
The soul of a cat having a human experience.
2.What did you study?
I have not studied anything except life since I finished Matric. At the moment I feel it isn’t necessary for the dreams I am pursuing.
3.You are a truly gifted photographer, what first drew you to photography and how did you discover it?
Firstly, thank you J
I was always exposed to it through my father who fixed cameras. There were always random camera parts lying around the house. But I only became interested in experimenting with the medium when I was about 15. I still had a profile on deviantArt back then and through it I discovered a niche of photographers who shot analogue. I fell in love with the aesthetic of film and was ecstatic when I got my first film camera. I used photography in my final art practical in matric and have been shooting ever since.
4.For you how important is content vs form in photography. Do you think for you one plays a stronger role than the other?
They are both equally important in telling a story or conveying a feeling in my shoots. One of the reasons I shoot on film is for the grainy aesthetic, which deepens the sense of nostalgia I like to capture in my subject matter.
5.Through your work what’s your message & what do you strive for?
I haven’t made any profound/controversial statements with my images – I prefer taking a light-hearted approach to fashion photography right now. I’d like people to feel ‘something’ when they see my pictures, like they’re momentarily transported into a made up reality and get to share the mood of the shoot.
6.What do you think are some clichés in film photography you steer away from yourself?
I’ve actually never thought about avoiding clichés, so I’m probably guilty of using a few. I think that because using an analogue camera already gives you a sense of nostalgia, you’re more likely to choose subject matter that suits the aesthetic. So perhaps the whole 90’s craze is one of the clichés right now, although that’s also influenced by pop culture and personal inclination. But like I said, I haven’t really considered it.
7.What are the difficulties you have encountered in film photography?
The biggest difficulty for most people is cost, because film/processing/scanning is not cheap. I try to be as economical as I can and tell myself “it’s my only vice, I don’t smoke or drink – I deserve this!” There’s also the fear that my camera will just give up on me at a shoot one day, because it’s old and I’m an anxious person. I’m really not selling this, am I? 😀
8.Who are some of your favorite classic photographers?
I’m a big fan or Irving Penn, Helmut Newton and Annie Leibovitz
9.Your favourite book on photography&what principle have you learned from it?
I don’t have a favourite book, but the website http://istillshootfilm.org/ taught me the basic technicalities of shooting on film, which was crucial because the technical side can oftentimes be so daunting.
10.Attributes a photographer should have?
Every photographer has a different method to their madness. However some traits, like being open to strangeness, being vocal about your vision and being a nice person help too.
11.Your thoughts on the evolution& innovation of South African photography?
I don’t think you can call it ‘innovation’, but photography definitely played an important role in raising international awareness and pressure to end the Apartheid regime, as it gave a face to both the victims and perpetrators. Since 1994 and with the rise of digital photography alongside the internet, South African photography has stepped up to join the world. I think our country is rich with talented and unique photographers/artists and I am glad that many are receiving international recognition for their work.
12.What is that one question nobody has ever asked a photographer that you wish they asked you?
“Would you like a million dollars? Because I have a million dollars here…take it and make all the art you want!” 😛
13.If you could take your art in any direction without fear of failure or rejection, where would it lead. What new thing would you try?
I already try to take it where I want ‘with’ fear of failure and rejection ;).
Growing up I always wanted to shoot for national geographic (I had an addiction to the documentaries), but more than the photographic aspect I think I still long for the wild adventure that it would offer me. I think that I’d try that.
14.What is your primary source of inspiration and the subject that allows you to communicate most clearly?
I am inspired by feminine beauty, youthful care-freeness and wistful moments. They are all part of the thread I like to weave throughout my shoots. Fashion plays a major role in conveying these moods for me. That’s why it’s my main subject (most of the time).
15.Message to young growing photographers&people who want to embark on a photography journey?
Don’t feel pressured to get a degree in photography straight off the bat, but try to learn from experience first. If you can’t afford a digital camera try a second hand analogue camera and shoot your first photos on film – it will teach you how to be patient with your shots. Remember that quality outweighs quantity.
16.What to expect from you?
I’d like to photograph dreamscapes and create more literal fantasies. Besides photography I am interested in making more hands on art like illustration and painting.
We TheCreativePattern would like to thank you Katja for taking time for the interview, may the good Lord bless you and your future endeavors. Thank you
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