We sit down with photographer Katherine Minott
"With my abstract style of photography, I explore the beauty hidden in everyday objects, the sacred hidden in the mundane" - Katherine Minott
Tell us about your method. What kind of camera do you use? Film or digital? Do you manipulate your images in photoshop or some other editing program?
I keep my method simple and that’s by default. Much of technology confounds and/or bores me. I use a very simple digital camera (Nikon Coolpix P100); it’s just one step up from a point and shoot. I am 50% proud to say that, and equally 50% embarrassed. I do use a photo manipulation program (picmonkey.com), something very dumbed down and nowhere near as complex as PhotoShop.
I’ve decided that one of the five questions will always be from the Proust Questionnaire, and here is yours…What is your idea of happiness?
Happiness is being completely, in the words of Ram Dass, “here now.” But maybe that’s where his words/ideas end and mine begin. Because I take that further (and how I develop that idea might not be seen as spiritual or in the way that Dass intends it). It’s when there’s nowhere I have to be, nothing I have to be doing, or no role I have to play. I certainly find moments of Deep Happiness when I am wandering in the woods with my camera. I am on a journey of discovery with no agenda, just complete awareness and wonderment. Usually silent and un-self aware.
I love the idea that there are spirits everywhere, and I love the way your abstract photographs often seem to become maps or signs. Do you feel that inanimate objects sometimes speak to you or send you in new directions?
I’m so glad that you see those “maps” or “signs” in my work. I think the objects that I photograph often speak to me by saying that God is everywhere, even behind the old crumbling wall and the newly rising grass. The beauty, the decay, the details worth noting are everywhere, especially on or in the things we, at least initially, shun. It’s like that scene in American Beauty where the plastic bag is being tossed and turned and becomes the most beautiful act of ballet ever.
Speaking of spirits, many of your photographs, especially of people, places and animals seem imbued with a passionate and unusual spirituality. Is that something you can describe to us?
You are so aware, so keen to what my art is saying. Or trying to say. Thank you. Actress Stella Adler once said, “Life beats you down and crushes the soul. And art reminds you that you have one.” I would have to agree. Like everyone, I have suffered some soul-crushing tragedies in my life, and art – both viewing and making it—has kept me from really being taken under by a mortal wave. Art reminds me that there is a divine pulse to our being here, something that breathes us and wakes us to a new day. We really aren’t at the helm but we can certainly look out and see the beauty that is revealing itself to us at every moment.
Such fun questions! I love mornings. I’m always up and at ‘em (but I’m the one everyone makes fun of when I’m the first to hit the pillow at the early edge of night). I love summer. I wish it could be warm and sunny all the time. Favorite book? Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlife. Favorite Movie? Defending Your Life. Thai food rules. Favorite song: One by Oka. It’s by an Australian band that I listen to, ad nauseam.