Katelyn-Jane Dunn – Photography Is My Air, My Pulse
Although she’s only eighteen years old and she only started photographing when she was sixteen, Katelyn already created a very appealing portfolio of photographic daydreams that caught my attention and made me curious to get to know more about her.
Please feel free to join the little conversation we had about her start into photography, her concept of beauty, the love for analog film and much more. Read on, bushwahnians!
Katelyn, thank you for answering some questions to bushwah! Would you like to give us an introduction to you first?
I am Katelyn-Jane Dunn, from many different places I call home; I have a problem with staying still for too long. I most recently have been living in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and I am eighteen years old.
My mother loves numbers, my father has always been enthralled by science and was once a police officer, and my younger brothers find an allure to sporting and recreation. I grew up as an only girl in a very rough and tumble boy house, and I learned to savour drawing, writing and daydreaming from a young age. I obsessively record in my journal, and spend my spare time painting in watercolour, writing and purposely getting lost for the sake of an adventure. I’m a little impulsive and stubborn, so spontaneous travels are a frequent thing.
My first photograph was most likely my brothers running on a football field from when I was very young, although I cannot remember and no longer have it.
When I think back to the beginning, I don’t think of my first photograph, but a photograph of my mother’s. She travelled out of Australia only once, when she was eighteen and mischievous. I found one image of the Grand Canyon before dusk one day when packing up my things into cardboard boxes for another move. Something about the enormity of the earth really shook her and it reverberates so much in the image. She was so young and wild, but something about this new place seemed to have stilled her completely. I still treasure it.
Was it kind of a steady development that photography became more and more important in your life afterwards or has there been a certain moment or event which made it clear to you that photography means more to you?
Everyone knew I was a creative child, and my artistic pursuits have never been a surprise.
It was only when I was 16 and Kristin Janota, my sweet best friend, placed her analogue camera in my hands one afternoon on the beach and said “shoot”. I had never been so eager or thrilled by anything as much as what I felt that afternoon, and after that it just made sense. Nothing else mattered.
As one can read on your portfolio-website, you’re a self-taught photographer only photographing for two years now. You currently also started studying photography. Aren’t you afraid that studying will influence your previous and let’s say “naive” approach?
I’ve been photographing, from that day when I was sixteen, for almost four years now. I’m in my second year of studying photography full time as a bachelor degree.
It’s been life changing so far, I have met the most incredible people and my head is filled with so many new things on a daily basis. I think style changes as you do; I’m still very young, I think I have a long way to go before my style has matured but the influence of my university is allowing it to grow and expand and help me understand how I photograph more.
“Beauty” seems to play an important part in your photography and your way to see the world. Can you please explain us your definition of beauty?
Beauty is in imperfections. I am drawn to the whimsy, the awkward, the ethereal, the flaws, the scrapes and bruises of youth. It’s a constantly growing, evolving thing. But really, I think the most beautiful thing is honesty and sincerity. This is how I try to photograph.
Most of your human “subjects” seem to be very vulnerable and shy, too. There’s a similar mood in your self-portraits which leads me to the questions what photography means to you in terms of coping with your enviroment or the world at all. Did photography change your view on everyday life?
Photography is my air, my pulse. It’s a passion that has become so deeply intertwined with my being that it’s very hard for me to separate the two.
Vulnerability has always been a part of who I am (I was always a shy child), but also is prevalent in youth and being a human. It fascinates me endlessly. Photography has given me freedom; it’s changed me as a person. I am more observant, and more fulfilled.
Your main tools are a film Minolta Dynax 500si and a digital Nikon D90. Even your digital photos still have this special analog look. Is there a special magic for you in this kind of analog look?
I’m passionate about colour and this often ends up injecting that film nostalgia into my digital work. I adore film, it’s my preference.
You’re living in Brisbane, Australia. There’s lots of creative stuff coming from “down under” currently. Amazing bands, film makers, artists … Do you have any explanation for this phenomenon?
I’m not particularly sure why we are suddenly bursting with creativity! It really is quite incredible to live in a capital city where I am able to meet other creatives.
I feel like I am a part of a living, breathing, firey thing!
What are your plans for the near future? Any upcoming projects in the making, you already want to share with us? Any further plans? Any goals or dreams?
My next photographs are my secrets, but I have many shoots in the works and am hoping to start crossing photography over with other aspects of art and working more with moving images.
At the moment I’m working with a modelling agency and I hope to begin working more in Sydney, and create more personal fine art photography. I’m dying to head on overseas, that’s definitely locked in my sights as a future goal.
Finally, please complete the following sentences for us:
- If I only could take one last picture … I would disintegrate into a very lost human being.
- Before I’m turning 20 … I would like to see much more of the earth and hear more stories.
- One day I will … rest. For now I am restless.
- When the shutter of my camera clicks … I feel a sense of euphoria like nothing else. That sound is what makes me feel whole.
- Please, never ever ask me … if I’ll stop creating; that’s blasphemy.
Katelyn, thanks again for the interview and all the best!
All photos © Katelyn-Jane Dunn