Interview the Artist – Catdot
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi, I’m Cath Leo and I live in the foothills of Adelaide, in South Australia with my two little boys (2 & 4), partner and a dog called Zippa. We’re about 10 mins drive from the coast and we are surrounded by gum trees and the occasional koala so it feels like the country, but still in Adelaide.
What is your first memory of using a camera?
My parents had a Minolta SLR and I only have memories of pressing the ‘button’ every now and then, even though Dad was quite into photography in his early adult years. It wasn’t until high school that I learnt how to use one (sort of) properly! And that’s all the formal training I’ve had.
Do you have any formal training?
What camera/s do you use?
Nikon D70..have used it since my 4 year old was born so getting on to 5 years of pretty faithful service. Before then I had another Nikon SLR but since going digital I haven’t looked back.
Do you manipulate or edit your photos digitally and how?
Small amounts of adjusting brightness and contrast but I’m not really in to over-manipulation.
What inspires you?
Appreciation and support for my work keeps me going with it, and knowing that I am helping create longlasting memories for families or providing some enjoyment to buyers of my landscape cards or enlargements. But outside of ME (!) I am inspired by emotions captured by photographers, and creative courage – attempting to go beyond the standard or the current/popular trends in photography. Individuality inspires me.
Do you think of yourself as having a photographic “style”? If so… what would it be?
There’s two main areas with my photography – there’s natural and landscape themes, and then there is my work with people, families, newborns and weddings mainly. With the first I’ve been opportunistic and tried to make the most of what’s available on a given day that I’ve had the ‘luxury’ of being out and about with my camera (and without my kids), so I may try to look beyond obvious scenes as they may not be that special on that particular day of weather and light.
With my work with people I attempt to capture real laughter, real smiles, or even just real anything. I use my personality a lot in my work, helping people to feel comfortable with this hideous black box in front of them (!) so I involve myself a lot in the sessions. I’ll be a fool if it gets some natural smiles. What does this say about my style? Well only what I’m intending to create, and you as the viewer can make your own interpretations from there.
Do you make your living with your photography?
I make a part-time living as I work generally about 2 days a week on photography and graphic design, and a bit of silk-screen printing and card-making.
Of all of your photographs, which is your favorite?
This is one of my favourites as it sparked a turning point from being a snap-happy photographer to one who thought a bit more about what I was capturing. It can be seen here with a bit more of a description : http://www.redbubble.com/people/catdot/art/190956-11-lone-seaweed
Who is our favorite photographer?
So many inspiring artists on Redubble, you could look through my favourited works to see some amazing images. But one that stands out as particularly thought provoking for me has been David Malcolmson http://www.redbubble.com/people/sorrento who has uploaded lots of special images he took in the 60’s and 70’s in England. Such moments in history captured.
Where can readers find your work online?
www.cathleo.com.au is my main website for ‘work’, plus redbubble www.redbubble.com/people/catdot has more of an artistic focus (less client shots) and then facebook allows for regular updates so it’s my most interactive medium at the moment: www.artist.to/cathleo
Do you have a specific subject or genre you prefer to shoot?
Babies and young families, but then love it when an older family member can be part of it too. I love being out in nature, along the coast especially, but it requires more time away from the family which isn’t so easy to get. Paid work kind of allows this at the moment, but not so much exploring arty stuff!
What is the most enjoyable aspect of being behind the camera?
Making babies and little people laugh, and then their parents along with them.
Are you connected to an online photographic community?
See above, mostly Redbubble and Facebook
Some random questions here…
What is your favorite color?
Blue but also love bright, grassy green
What is your favorite thing to have for breakfast?
Poached eggs on wholemeal!
Who would play you in a movie about yourself?
Audrey Tautou – dark hair, dark eyes and eyebrows..but she is simply beautiful and so why not have an upscaled version for the big screen!
What super power would you like to have? Why?
Flying would be fun.
What do you do to relax?
Feet up on the couch watching a favourite show is the ‘every day’ form of relaxing, but I love long lunches with a friend or two and some wine on a sunny day!