ArtsTalk Blog - Q & A with Photographer, Kathy MacFarlane

Kathy MacFarlane is a Photographer living in Alliston. Kathy has been a SSAC member for 2 years.

Q. As an artist what is the medium you use? Do you ever combine mediums? Describe how or why you might do so.

Answer: I am a photographer and do not combine any mediums, but I print my photos on different mediums such as canvas or metal.

Q. When did you become an artist? Have you found this easy to say, "I am an artist"?

Answer: I do find it difficult to say I am an artist, photography is definitely art, but it can also be very documentary. It often depends on my mood, the light and the subject as to how artistically I shoot.

Q. Do you have a mentor or some special influence that has contributed to your growth in your artistic creativity? How has this or someone in particular influenced you? If this is a person are they also an artist?

Answer: I do not have a mentor. I regularly review the work of many photographers, and I am always taking courses in a variety of subject matters that range from interiors to wildlife to sports, people and photo editing. So, my style is constantly evolving.

A few years ago, I joined the Newmarket Camera Club and the club founder, Ross Chevalier, has been instrumental in furthering my knowledge about photography and photo editing.

Q. When you begin a new work do you have a set routine or some specific steps to start the process?

Answer: Definitely not. I often shoot from an 'aha' moment - when I see something that captures my attention.

Earlier this year I joined a group called 52Frames. They have weekly photo challenges with a different theme each week, and the photo must be taken during that week. I usually have a plan for my shot, rarely do I submit the photo that I planned to take.

Q. Do you have a favourite subject that you are drawn to? What do you think is the reason for this?

Answer: If I had to pick just one, I would say it is 'action'. That could be birds, sports, cars or anything that moves. I love the challenge of capturing the subject at a split second of time. However, I have been working as a real estate photographer which has created an interest in interior and architectural photography and has nothing to do with action photography!

Q. Do you have your own studio or specific place that you are able to work in?

Answer: I usually shoot outside, or on location, and I do not have a studio. I do all my editing in my office.

Q. Does your art require specific tools, supports, time requirements that would add to your ability to successfully complete a piece?

Answer: Unfortunately, photography is an expensive venture. There is always another lens, flash, or 'toy' that I need to have. In addition, a computer is essential to processing digital photos using software like Lightroom and Photoshop.

However, the only real way to complete a piece is to get out and shoot.

Q. What would you suggest as a way to begin, to assist someone interested in learning your art?

Answer: The single most important thing is to learn how to use the camera. An understanding of exposure and the exposure triangle is critical.

The other challenge is learning how to see the light and understanding what a camera 'sees' (it isn't always what a human sees!). The photographer's job is to make the camera see what the photographer sees.

Q. When you have dry spells or blanks in the creative process how do you deal with it?

Answer: Often I look at other people's work and see if they inspire me to try something new.

Q. Do you accept commissions?

Answer: Any of my photos can be printed at any size on any medium (paper, canvas, metal, acrylic). If someone has a particular subject in mind, I can review my archives for something or possibly go and shoot it.

Q. When do you know a piece is finished?

Answer: I usually have to walk away from it and look at it the next day. If I like it the next day, it is done. If I do not like it, I try to edit what I don't like. Sometimes I can fix it, sometimes I cannot.

Q. Do you have a quote or special phrase that you use generally in your life?

Answer: I can often be heard saying, "Mother Nature Always Wins". I believe we should all have a healthy respect for our environment and the force it can unleash.

Q. If our readers are interested to know or see more of your work how would you like them to contact you?

Answer: Readers can see some of my work and contact me through my website