Monday, 31 May 2010

Cover me: an interview with Cat Lane

Cat Lane is a photography student from the south of England with a passion for fashion. At the end of last year she entered a competition to become the cover model for The New Goodbye, which she won. As well as the cover, the app also includes a handful of her self-portraits.

Like many of the entrants for the Mila competition, you’re a photographer rather than a fashion model. With this in mind, why did you enter the contest in the first place?

The main reason was that I thought, if I won, it would be great to be part of a shoot like this and to get to see and experience first-hand all of the work that goes into a shoot of this kind. It was great to watch the process from beginning to end: from the hair, makeup and styling, to the set construction, and to the actual shooting of the image itself and the reviewing of the photographs afterwards. I've never worked with a creative team before so I found it especially fascinating to see how everybody works together to create the final picture.

You’re pretty active on Flickr, where you post a lot of your work. Do you think the network is a positive thing for serious photographers?

I believe networking is of huge importance these days and is also a fantastic way to get regular feedback on your work. And I find it incredibly inspiring as well, I love being able to see great new work from the people I follow every day and to be able to watch their work grow and develop.

One of Cat's self-portraits.

A lot of the work you did have on Flickr consists of self-portraiture. Would you say you’re inordinately vain?

Absolutely not. I think now, especially on Flickr, it's almost normal to take quite a lot of self-portraits. I see more and more people doing it now and I think that self-portraiture is a great way to improve. For me, self-portraiture helped me to gain confidence with my photography, and in the early days it helped me to become familiar with my camera much quicker and helped me to experiment as well. Self-portraiture also meant that I was able to shoot portraits whenever I liked without having to arrange anybody to model for me. I also find there is less pressure with self-portraits because if the pictures don't turn out how you wanted them to, it's not a problem.

Tell us about the shoot for The New Goodbye, being in front of the lens rather than behind it.

Although I shoot a lot of self-portraits, it still felt bizarre to be in front of the lens because it wasn't me shooting the pictures. The part I especially enjoyed was seeing how the whole team worked together with one image in mind to create the shot they wanted. And it was also lovely to have my hair and makeup done and be pampered a bit. Ha ha!

You’ve recently finished a photography course at the London College of Communications. Is this a route you would recommend to others interested in becoming professionally involved in photography?

I would say so, especially if you're self taught. I think being self-taught is great but for me it got to the point where I wanted to learn more. More than I could teach myself with the little equipment that I own, or that I could access. I have learnt so, so much on the course about different photographic equipment and techniques, and although I can't currently afford the equipment I've learnt to use yet, at least I'll know what to do with it pretty much right away when I buy it in the future! Another thing I found especially beneficial about the course was being able to socialise and meet with others with an equally strong interest in photography. I think being immersed in that sort of an atmosphere is especially inspiring.

I only dozed off for a minute. Now my head's stuck to this tree.

Now your course is at an end, what are the next steps for you?

Moving back home, learning to drive and just to continue working on my portfolio. Shooting more fashion editorial style work. I'd also like to look into getting work assisting other photographers also.

To see more of Cat's work visit her Flickr page or drop by her own website.

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