Kat Bawden

Scheduled to teach:

Kat Bawden is a photographer and teaching artist whose work explores the duality of our internal and external lives. Her work has appeared in The Los Angeles TimesThe Huffington PostNME, and F-Stop Magazine, among other publications, and has been exhibited across the country. She was born and raised in the Chicago area but now calls Los Angeles home. Before a career in art, Kat was a community organizer and teacher. Website: www.katbawden.com

Kat Bawden Portfolio

Julia Dean Interviews Kat Bawden

LACP Founder and Executive Director Julia Dean asks Kat Bawden ten questions about his background, career in and beliefs about photography

Julia Dean: What kind of photographer are you?

Kat Bawden: I’m a fine art photographer. Half of my body of work is urban landscapes, discarded objects, and physical remnants people leave in public spaces. The other half is intimate personal narratives – I photograph recreated scenes from my life, make self-portraits, and combine these images with text and objects to create installations and hand-made books. However, I started out in documentary and photojournalism.

JD: How long have you been shooting?

KB: I’ve been photographing since I was 14 years old, but I started my professional career in 2014 in documentary and photojournalism.

JD: Where did you get your training?

KB: I studied documentary photography at the Duke University Center for Documentary Studies in their certificate program. I’ve cobbled together a rich fine art education from workshops I’ve taken with Aline Smithson, Diana Markosian, Charlotte Cotton, Kevin Weinstein, Thomas Alleman, and Susan Burnstine, to name a few.

JD: When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?

KB: Ever since I developed my first photograph in the darkroom at age 14. But it took another 14 years for me to actually pursue it.

JD: Did you ever come close to giving up?

KB: So far, only once.

JD: Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?

KB: Oh yes – stability, income, the comfort of a straight-forward path.

JD: What have you gained by being a photographer?

KB: I’ve gained deep meaning and purpose to my life, an incredible community, ways of seeing beauty in the world, and a deeper connection to people.

JD: What classes do you teach at LACP?

KB: I’m fortunate enough to teach in LACP’s youth program. I teach Introduction to Portrait Photography for Teens and The Urban Landscape for Teens. For a year I taught with LACP’s Boys & Girls Club program in Lincoln Heights.

JD: What do you love most about teaching?

KB: It’s amazing to see my students grow and develop as artists. In my urban landscape classes, I love seeing their different ways of observing and analyzing the world around them. In my portrait classes, I love seeing them work together to plan and execute a creative idea.

JD: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?

KBReach out to photographers whose career paths interest you. Take classes and meet people. Try as many different kinds of photography as you can to see what kind of photographer you want to be. Find inspiration in the every day. Get a journal and write in it frequently. If you don’t like your work or don’t think it’s “good,” ask yourself why. Be honest with yourself, and try to channel that into growth and improvement. Work hard and have fun.