Today’s guest has been evolving as a photographer ever since she picked up her camera! I first “met” Kat Sloma in an inspirational online e-course and immediately loved her view of the world. She was living and working in Italy at the time, while sharing her enthusiasm for her new home through her blog The Kat Eye View of the World. Kat’s interest for photography quickly shifted from blogging to teaching on her website Kat Eye Studio, where she offers e-books, e-courses and workshops to help photographers with their work. After picking up her first mobile phone, Kat began experimenting with various apps, where her work – and her passion for photography – took a sharp turn into an exciting and unexpected place: publishing her first book, Art with an iPhone: A Photographer’s Guide to Creating Altered Realities, coming out next month.
“That’s not photography,” the long-time photographer commented to me, “I don’t know what it is, but it’s not photography.”
A few years ago, as I started to transition to my iPhone camera and apps to create images, I got that a lot. It was a bit confusing, truth be told. I knew my images did not always end up looking like what most people expected a photograph to look like, but how could it not be photography? I was still using a camera; still using all of the skills I had learned over the years to see and frame and expose images. I just took them a little further in post-processing than I used to. I didn’t try to portray reality any more.
I went through a bit of an identity crisis after hearing enough of those comments. If it’s not photography, then what is it? If I’m not a photographer, then who am I? I loved what I was doing, and I wrestled with this question for a while, coming to a simple conclusion that took me back to where I started. Yes, I am a photographer, because what I do starts with an image captured with a camera. The starting image is crucial to my creative process. Without it, my art doesn’t exist.
I now call what I do “altered photography” because I want to signal that it’s not what people typically expect photography to look like, but I also want the people who see my work to know it started as photograph. I am proud of my art form, and the wonderful history of this fantastic medium. I believe what I (and so many others!) are doing with photographic images on mobile devices is one more step in the evolution of the photograph. We are, one image at a time, expanding the definition of photography.
But right now we are in a time of transition. Not everyone is on board with this point of view. If you ask other photographers, yourself even, “Is it photography or not?” I would expect to hear wildly different reactions.
You know my answer. What’s yours?
Kat Sloma is a fine art photographer, writer, and instructor who developed her distinct contemplative style when she began using an iPhone to create photographic art. She is the author of Art with an iPhone: A Photographer’s Guide to Creating Altered Realities, a complete guide to iPhone photography from capturing stunning images to artistically editing with apps, now available on Amazon.com. To learn about iPhone photography and see more Kat’s work, visit kateyestudio.com.