Kate Hook is an analogue photographer based in Birmingham in the UK. I think it is fair to say that Kate is the undisputed Queen of experimental film and film soup – and if you have no idea what film souping is, then I highly recommend you read my interview with Kate below! Kate also sent me an amazing selection of her images to accompany the interview showcasing all the different techniques that she employs in her work. Very cool stuff.
Hi Kate, tell us a bit about yourself and who or what got you first interested in photography.
Photography has always sort of been there since I was a little kid as some of my family members were into it – but it wasn’t until my early teens I really got into it. I use to go out and take pictures all the time of my friends and our exploits. I have freelanced and done commercial digital jobs since my early 20’s but found that hugely unfulfilling (and stressful) and started to focus more on being an artistic photographer near the end of 2016.
Who or what are your main sources of inspiration?
Normally I look at other forms of art like paintings and what not. A big part of creating my work is to just ‘play’ y’know? Also magic, I sorta believe in it and try to create it within my pictures.
I am one of those film photographers who picks a film stock for its colour rendition or tonal range and sticks to it (v boring I know!), but you really love to experiment with film stocks. What is it about the more experimental emulsions that you love so much? Do you have any favourites?
The fun answer is that it’s mysterious and requires giving up a level of control over my work. Throwing caution to the wind. The boring answer is that, after years of colour-grading digital photos, I realised how you can overthink and potentially overdo the look of a photo.
My favourite stocks are LomoChrome Purple and Turquoise and then Revolog Kolor and 600nm. I work with an online store called Analogue Wonderland who have been kind enough to provide me with new experimental film stocks such as Yodica and Dubble Films to try out too!
Let’s talk film soup. I had heard whispers about this method of soaking films pre-development but had not paid it much attention until I saw your videos – again, it is something I would probably be too scared to try – but you are a real champion of soup! How did you first hear about it and what is your favourite film soup recipe – also, what is the craziest film soup you have tried and how were the results?
Haha thank you! I read about film souping in a Lomography book many years ago. I was so surprised you can do that sort of thing with film! So I tried it with bleach and all sorts of stuff that was in my friend’s kitchen. The results were super gnarly but sadly I have no idea where those scans are now! I did a live video on Instagram recently where I did a soup with whisky, lemon juice, vinegar and peri-peri salt – probably the craziest one I’ve done and I gotta wait to see the results from that!
Photographers talk a lot about pre-visualisation, about how they can picture the final image in their mind before they click the shutter. With so many unknowns in your process, how does this work for you?
It’ll depend on what I’m actually shooting. So, if I’m doing something with light trails or light painting, I’ll have an idea of how I want the pictures to turn out in regards to the movement of the camera or subject. With portraits it’s more down to the lighting, framing any double exposures and poses. If I’m using a particular experimental film stock that I’m familiar with, I’ll work around on how to get the most out of it with whatever gear and other equipment I’m using.
What is next? Do you have any big projects on the horizon that you can give us a glimpse in to?
I have got my first photozine ‘Bloom Daze’ coming out very soon! I’m also about to start my next photozine which will focus more on architecture. I keep saying it, but I’m going to explore Super 8 too – and 2019 is definitely the year I’m going to do it as I’d absolutely love to create some moving pictures. Along with that, I want to host workshops and do more videos about photography and possibly art in general.
Who was the last photographer whose work made you stop you in your tracks and say ‘Wow!’?
See more of Kate’s work at:
All images copyright Kate Hook.