Kathrena Rivera.

It is rare that we find an artist gifted with the ability to so perfectly tell a story with such a delicate amount of visual information. This minimally cinematic atmosphere contributes volumes to the aesthetic that Kathrena achieves. 

She also manages to accomplish such a bold physical texture in her exposures, even when displaying them through a screen. This texture contributes to the overarching ambiguous emotion that shrouds Kathrena’s work in a veil of quiet mystery. It gives me the impression that each exposure is the recounting of a memory, and what we are seeing are the pinnacle of someones hopes, dreams and desires. 

Please, continue reading to see Kathrena’s own words whilst exploring her visual narrative over at www.kathrenaphoto.com

In your own words, what do you do? 

I make images that are intended to speak to the stillness and natural “quiet” found in moments of solitude. I’m drawn to capturing figures, often just one lone figure in silhouette form, quietly interacting with their surroundings. I often use monochrome film and plastic or “low-quality” cameras to enhance the atmosphere and mood of the scene.

Why do you do what you do? 

I’m compelled to. It’s difficult to explain the “why” of it. It’s a strong desire. I’m always looking around me and when I see that moment I just stop, admire it, then make an image of it. There is also this desire to share it-to see if there are a few others who see the beauty in these moments as well.

What is integral to your practice? 

The tools and the light. My images are the products of low light situations and long long exposures. A healthy dose of wanderlust helps me find the areas to shoot as well. Why pinhole? I love the dreamy quality pinhole lends to an image. The subtle blur around the periphery, the hint of movement. Pinhole takes the onlooker into an entirely different view of the scene from what we see with our naked eye. The view becomes less stark-more like looking at a memory-hazy around the edges and intangible.

Are there any particular themes you pursue with your practice? 

Absolutely. I’ve become a picky photographer. The majority of my work is theme based. I do usually go out on a photowalk with a particular image already floating in my mind. The themes that most often pop up in my pieces are solitude, wistfulness, memory and desire. Not the romantic kind of desire-but the “want” side of it.

Has your practice change over time? If so, how? 

I started photography at a very young age. It’s gone through so many evolutions I can say with all honesty; “I’ve practically tried it all”. My area of focus has settled on the Fine Art side of the craft. I work to create images that are conduits for stories, or at least the beginning scene of a story. They are not simply there to look pretty or have people say “What a beautiful view.”-it’s more along the lines of “What is that person doing there? What just happened? What is going to happen?”. That story-beginning side of Fine Art Photography is where I’m becoming most comfortable. This is a change from my previous work in photography. I used to make photos of literally everything! I craved to just shoot away. I’ve been enjoying the transition to being more selective in what I choose to open the shutter for.

Is there a specific piece you’re especially proud of? And why? 

Solitary (see below). My pinhole image of a man waist deep in the ocean, looking out at the horizon. This was one of those images where I had that “Yes!” feeling as soon as I exposed it. That rare and often random image when you just know you captured exactly what you wanted to convey.

From whom do you draw the most inspiration? 

Often it’s music or a song inspires me! I will be doing something completely mundane, like washing dishes or driving, and hear a song and it inspires a feeling. The lyrics conjure an image or memory. I will often put that song on repeat for awhile and think up an image based on it. Within days I’m out trying to mimic that thought with the film and pinhole. A few of my favorite images were created with headphones on! Besides that there are so many of my contemporary photographers that really inspire me. I’m constantly amazed at the beauty we’re putting out there as an artist community. We learn from each other for sure and I can name a few that I definitely draw creative juice from: Nils Karlson, Shane Balkowitsch, Susan Burnstine, S. Gayle Stephens, James Wigger….to name just a few!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? 

A good friend and fellow photographer, Vincent Lawson, told me about his first moment of serious critique. A photograph he treasured was basically “ripped apart” by a mentor telling him it wasn’t good. Even after the criticism he looked at that picture with love for what it meant for him. I loved the story and this is what I took away from it: Shoot what you want. Create images of what you love. Even if they do not speak to others they speak to you-you are their creator-it’s all about what YOU want to see.

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