Today I am talking to art photographer: Kat Sloma. Get yourself a cup of tea and join our conversation. Welcome Kat!
Let’s start with your creative background. Can you tell us about yourself and your creative practice?
My creative background starts in childhood, growing up with creative parents. There always seemed to be art or music being created!
I have very little formal training in art or creativity. I regularly took art classes in school until college prep courses took over, and that began a long period of studying for degrees and starting a career in engineering where there was no artistic creativity in sight. Once through that phase, I discovered scrapbooking as a creative outlet, which married a love of paper, color, design and photography in one craft.
Eventually, my desire to capture better photographs led to a deeper pursuit of photography as an art form. I’ve learned photography through a couple of basic classes and many books, but really it’s been my own exploration and play with the medium that has taught me the most. I approach my art as a practice, with a lot of internal exploration and soul searching along the way.
What inspires you?
I am inspired when I see people who are filled with joy and love of what they do. And I don’t mean only people who are doing what they love as a job or career, but anyone who has found that joy in some aspect of their life. Witnessing pure joy and love of something through someone else is one of those things that surprises and delights me. It brings me along for the ride, and I am inspired to find that kind of joy for myself.
When did you start incorporating photography in to your creative practice?
It’s funny, but I think photography has always been part of my creative practice, even when I didn’t have much creative practice to speak of. I’ve always had a camera, since I was 10 or 11 years old, and I’ve always loved what I could capture with it. People, places, moments, feelings. I began to seriously study photography in 2000, through a desire to more intentionally create the kind of images I love. When I really began to explore creativity as a practice later, photography was already there as my main tool for creative expression.
What does Photography bring to you and to others?
For me and many others, photography brings awareness. There is a heightened sense of “seeing” the world around you and finding beauty in simple things. There is a stronger sense of being present and in the moment. Because of that, photography often becomes a practice of joy and gratitude.
How would you describe your online classes?
My online classes are a combination of both photography and personal artistic growth. They all have an element of thought and introspection along with elements of photographic approach and technique. I believe our internal growth is just as important as our technical growth as artists, and we have to pay attention to both. Individual style and direction in our art comes from the inside.
My classes have this very individual/introspective aspect but there is also a social/group aspect to them. We have an online discussion group where the course participants can talk about the class topics, share photographs and discuss what they are discovering. I’m right in there too, interacting with the class almost every day, which I’ve heard is unique compared to many online courses. I believe everyone gains something through the interaction with others on the material, especially me.
Is giving back to your community important to you?
Yes! It’s very important to me. I’ve been given so many gifts, I believe I have a responsibility to share them with others. Giving back is so much more than financial contributions, it can be through sharing our time or talents with others. I think we all can contribute to our communities, whether they are online or local. Online, I love to share information and what I’m learning about myself and my art on my blog. My online classes, which are a deeper learning experience, are an outgrowth of that. Locally, I’ve recently become president of the PhotoArts Guild, to help serve the local photographic community. I love the artistic medium of photography and I want to help others find and develop as photographic artists.
Tell us about Liberate your Art?
Liberate Your Art is a an international postcard swap designed to encourage artists to create, share and connect through their art. So many people create, but don’t feel comfortable sharing their work. This swap offers artists a safe and fun way to take that step of liberating their art out into the world. For those who are already comfortable sharing, it’s a great way to connect with a larger community. It also reminds everyone who participates of the fun and delight of receiving something physical and beautiful through the mail.
It’s been a fantastic project! I’m so inspired by how unique and creative each artist is, and I love seeing connections formed between the participants. I’ve just finished up the swap for the third year, and 215 artists from 11 countries participated in 2013. My goal every year is for it to grow – encouraging more and more artists to create, share and connect through their art.
Describe an eureka moment you have had recently?
Recently, I’ve gone through quite a transformation of the type of photography I’m doing and the aesthetic of my work. Surprising to me, I’ve become fascinated with trees! The winter branches and interesting shapes against the sky captured my interest this winter like nothing else has before in my photography practice. In the past I’ve not been interested in photographing the natural world and I’ve always struggled with effectively capturing the landscape. My photography focused on smaller scenes or details in the urban environment. With this shift to photographing trees, I recently discovered the secret for me to effortlessly create a good landscape – make it a portrait of a tree! It was exciting to discover just shifting my mental approach, thinking of a photograph as a portrait of something rather than a landscape, could entirely shift how easy it was to create an image in a genre I’ve always struggled with. That was a fun discovery for me!
How can we connect to you?
You can visit my website, kateyestudio.com, as the starting place. From there you can read my blog, learn about my classes and find lots of free content including an eBook called Digital Photography Basics. You can also sign up for my monthly newsletter, the Kat Eye News, which will keep you up to date with what’s going on in the Kat Eye Studio.
What is next on your creative calendar?
I’m taking the summer off from teaching online classes to focus on my own artistic practice. I hope to get a shop up and running this summer, and will continue to host the Photo-Heart Connection, a monthly practice which invites photographers to connect at a deeper level with the photographs they take, hearing the messages of the heart.
The next courses I plan to offer are the Find Your Eye eCourse series, starting in the fall. I would love to have you join me!
Who is your favourite Bhoomie and why?
Love Bhoomie, because he gets in touch with a TREE. I resonate with that!’
Thank you for sharing your world with the Bhoomies!
If you want to know more about Art Photographer, Kat Sloma link to her website to find out about prints, eCourse, workshops and general happenings.
Keep seeing the Wonder,
Our stories shape our world.