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Katie Hennessey projects authenticity and rawness in her photos

Katie Hennessy is a 22 yr old photographer born in a small town off the East Coast of Australia. Primarily a black and white photographer, she experiments with expired film and multiple exposures. Katie looks for character and beauty in everyday life, she brings light into the things most people would think are mundane or even ugly. Katie considers her self more of a documentary photographer by capturing moments people are unaware of, whilst they are in their natural state. Her focus is to look for subliminal sadness and emotion, portraying cracks of time that we can all relate to. Katie also enjoys experimenting with self portraiture, expressing all the different sides of herself honestly to her audience.

Katie is on instagram at @katieehennessy

ALTER/ANALOG: There is such a sense of humanity and emotion in your photos.  How do you think you are able to capture that so successfully where other photographers fail at it?

KH: I am a story teller, I have learnt a lot about myself and my own humanity through photographing others. I found my passion for photography, by capturing moments of my friends and the madness that would unfold by being bored teenagers in a small town. My friends were very interesting, odd, unique subjects. At their own pace they were all heading down the war path of creation formed through self destruction. My friends became my biggest inspiration, they unconsciously birthed my focus for photographing the beautiful imperfections of life and human fragility.

A lot of photographers put all of their time and effort into planning their photo shoots, getting every single detail right to produce perfect visual aesthetic. I admire that determination and attention to detail, but i have always been drawn to creating an aesthetic of authentic venerability and genuine connection. I am determined to bring light to my subjects in their natural state. I think there is something really raw about capturing someones true self and helping them be empowered by it. I feel I am successful at creating photographs that are timeless, bringing to viewer back into the moment where it was captured.

ALTER/ANALOG: Can you tell us more about the process you used to create these images?

KH: The images I have sent into Alter Analog are all from expired or damaged film. When I was 19 I moved to Melbourne from Sydney, I went thrift shopping with my best friend to buy some supplies for our new home. The first store I walked into, had for sale a garbage bag full of expired film for 15 dollars.There was close to 150 rolls and to this day, 3 years later I’m yet to still finish the bag. Every roll I developed came out so differently, I didn’t know what to expect. I very quickly became hooked on the unknown of each roll. I started to experiment with other ways I could alter my images, such as multiple exposure, intentional light leaks and long exposures. Since finding that bag of film my focus has been to explore the art of using expired or damaged film, I feel it enhanced the theme of imperfection I was already focused on capturing through my photographs.

ALTER/ANALOG: You do self portraiture.  Do you feel a sense of empowerment or vulnerability having your photo viewed?

KH: I’m guilty of being two faced to myself and i know a lot of other people out there feel the same. We have one face we present to the world and the other face is our own. The real truths of what we think and feel. Self portraiture is my way of showing the world the parts of myself I hide from it.

Taking self portraits have become a coping mechanism I’ve developed by photographing myself in my darkest moments, to able to understand myself better. Only few people other than myself have viewed my self portraits.

To me it is almost a sacred, personal ritual. I started self portraiture after big change in my life I wasn’t coping with. When I view my work now, I can honor all the moments that have changed me and remember all the old versions of myself. Through self portraiture I am able to capture myself when I’m feeling most vulnerable and turn in into something that makes me feel empowered, strong and gain empathy towards myself.

ALTER/ANALOG: You have had to censor photos for social media.  What are your thoughts on censorship?

KH: I think it's really ironic that in a society where we use sex to sell almost anything, artistic representations of the human body are censored. Nudity is such a taboo subject in our society. We have strayed so far away from authentic selves, its like we can’t handle nudity without sexualizing or objectifying it. In past few years a beautiful movement has been created highlighting body positivity. Many photographers aim is now to celebrate diversity in human bodies. A lot of what we see on social media gives us false expectations of ourselves. I admire the new wave of photographers and artists dedicated to creating art that makes us feel good about ourselves. Continuous censorship makes this acceptance of our selves more difficult, it makes us feel like there's something shameful about our natural state. I think censorship exposes the deep rooted embarrassment for the natural human body in our society. I feel as artists its our mission to keep making art to fight censorship, with the goal to completely recreate the idea of nudity in art. I truly hope we can reach a point where we can appreciate the pure beauty of the native, unedited human body.

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