Cat Fennell is a portrait photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area with an innate ability to connect with her subjects and capture their innermost emotions.
How long have you been shooting and what first inspired you to pick up a camera?
I have been shooting since I was fourteen years old so it has now been ten years since I first started shooting. It all started when I decided to take a photography class during my freshman year in high school. I owe a lot to the teacher of that class, Jeff Hagerstrand, who taught me to see the world through the lens. Around the same time I found the first photographer that I ever really admired – her name was Lara Jade. Throughout the years I have continued to follow her work and she has grown to be such a wonderful fashion photographer and speaker. It was her work and the encouragement of my high school photography teacher that opened my eyes to my true passion.
In a nutshell, it’s the human condition and form, nature, colors, travel, dreams and emotions that affect my work.
Who or what are your biggest influences when it comes to photography?
I am very influenced by the many fellow young photographers who are all in the struggle with me; photographers like Elizabeth Gadd, Mark Harless and Chuck Lang are all inspirations for me and work like theirs influences how I shoot. I am also heavily influenced by traditional art, especially painting, as well as minimalism and the sublime. In a nutshell, it’s the human condition and form, nature, colors, travel, dreams and emotions that affect my work.
How would you define your style and what is it that you want your images to say to the viewer?
I would define my style as the strengths and weaknesses of what it means to be a woman. I try to capture something that lives inside of the individual and bring that to the surface. I have also always felt that the backdrop should be just as important as the subject, which is one of the reasons I shoot outdoors. I also enjoy shooting in nature to add to the subject’s story. Connecting the organic earth with the organic emotions, fears and dreams of the subject is always a goal in my work. I find myself bringing out courage more then anything. Courage to be okay with being vulnerable sometimes. Courage to be open with one’s own sexuality. Courage to be themselves. I hope that the viewer can see some of these connections when looking at my images.
Not everyone stumbles upon something that speaks to them so strongly and I am honored to be able to do what I love everyday.
Where do you see your photography taking you next?
To be honest… I don’t know where this is going to take me. I’m hoping for a career in photography whether it’s for a magazine, making fine art or becoming a professor. All I know is that I feel blessed to have found my passion at such a young age. Not everyone stumbles upon something that speaks to them so strongly and I am honored to be able to do what I love everyday.
See more of Cat’s work at:
All images copyright Cat Fennell.