Five Minutes With Katriena Emmanuel | Photographer Genius

Posted: Jun 12 2013









Five Minutes with Katriena Emmanuel | Photographer Genius

How would you describe your photography style?:

To be honest, I don't see that I have yet a set "style". I still consider myself developing a "style" or having no style at all, as I like to experiment all the time and try new things, and sometimes a series of photos just dictate the style they should be photographed in, if that makes sense. So I adapt.


How did you get in to photography?:

Back in 2008, there was a restlessness stirring in me, in my then job as a paralegal. At the time I was searching for my passion, something I can do that will keep me happy career wise as well as be flexible with my time, as I was contemplating to start a family, and I wanted a job where I could be my own boss, so I could still manage to look after my child. I knew I wanted to get back into doing artistic things, so I considered a graphic artist course, but I couldn't get myself to pay so much for such a course, which would also mean giving up the job that pays the bills. My attention then turned to photography, next best thing to painting pictures. I had always loved photography and I thought I could teach myself while still working as a paralegal, hone my skills more and more that way rather than formal study. And the rest is history.


When you're scouting for models what do you tend to look for?:

I have a "thing" I look for when I go through a model's portfolio to determine whether she is right to cast for a job. The make or break for me is the model's versatility. I go through their portfolio of images and if I can see a range of emotions, expressions and poses throughout, then I feel confident that she can adapt to whatever character or story I invent for her. Secondly, the model just has to have the right physical features or "look" for the story that I'm intending on shooting. 


We noticed you've been represented by an agency, congrats! How has the journey been so far?:

Thank you. Its a new artist management agency, so they are still finding their own feet in the industry. But regardless of how established an agency is, it doesn't mean they do all the work for the artist. I still have to work at it, at promoting myself and my work and finding new clients.


What is your thought process when putting together a look for an editorial?:

It always begins with a concept/ an idea that leads to a story that I can narrate by stitching together with imagery. It may come from a line in a song, or just random thoughts that pop in my head while I'm out walking the dog, or a still shot from a music clip or movie scene, a dream, or the model or the garments may provide the actual musings for it all to spin together a story in my head.


What inspires you?:

Literally everything, most of my inspiration comes from nature, walking through it and observing how everything works together, how the light spills through the leaves of trees, to how the thread on a spider's web glistens in the morning.


Your concepts are so original. How long does it take to an idea to come to fruition?:

It depends on what is needed, sometimes its sourcing the right team of people, from the model that most embodies the idea to the stylist I feel confident could achieve what I'm envisioning, the location, or sometimes to construct certain props or accessories for it. Depending on the nature of the shoot, I could pull it altogether in a few days or spend 6 months planning, researching, scouting and sourcing.


Where has your work been published?:

Its been published here and there, from Peppermint magazine to online magazines like Ellements and Zeum and blogs like Ben Trovato and Touchpuppet.


Advice for guys and gals wanting to be photographers?:

Don't compare yourself or your journey to anyone else's. Save yourself the heartache.


How do you juggle being a new mum and a business woman?:

Juggle? I more like struggle! Its challenging to balance work and family and keep both sides happy without one being sacrificed somewhat. I think motherhood naturally puts someone's needs in front of yours and your partner's, so its quite the challenge to keep relationships going, far less to keep up with shooting and editing, especially when I've got no close family in Australia to give me a break with the baby. So I shoot in the day, sometimes with the baby in one arm and camera in the other, and at nights stay up to retouch. Sacrificing sleep sometimes sacrifices your sanity the next day.


Thank you so much for spending time with us today, Kat! We love your work so very much. Keep on producing beautiful imagery!!

We spy our girls amongst some of Kat's shoots: Laura Evans [Vivien's], Jazmine Hikaka [IMG worldwide], Zoe Cross [IMG]

You can find Kat's work online here, Instagram: @kat_r_ella and follow her journey on Facebook here

All Images supplied by Katriena Emmanuel and are Copyright of Katriena Emmanuel [Emmanuel Photography].