Kat Alyst Discusses Combining Photography and Art in Exclusive Chat with Yahoo! News

·7-min read

Watch the full video HERE and read along below.

What should beginners look for when starting their photographic endeavors?

Pause and look at your moment before you shoot. So, whether you’re shooting in a studio with controlled lighting or more photojournalism style on the street with natural light, or maybe you mix the two, this is going to be your visual puzzle, and how are you going to create that? Move around, take your picture apart.

What poetry can you create with light and shadow? How can you use those two things together to manipulate a better expression in your message?

In my opinion, I don’t think there’s “bad lighting” … I think some people would disagree, but I found I feel much more success with just learning to manipulate all sorts of lighting and figure out what that message is going to be, for the brand, myself, the clients… and so before you really start get going in your photo career, really learn to read light and shadow. Once you get the hang of that, you will have great photos from the start.

How important do you feel it is to talk to people on set or the environment that you come into as a stranger?

That depends. I suggest just always be aware we are all just one piece to the simulation we are all in (laughs), what you project is exactly what you put out. If you’re going to be calm and professional, I think it’s always going to work out great.

What do you wish you knew earlier—something tha­t would be good advice for not only photographers, but also artists starting out?

I wish I knew that people are going to try to change you. And you just need to really hone in on who you are, and try to hang on to that, and live your truth. It will 100%, no matter who you are, keep you on the path and put you exactly where you need to be. Don’t listen to anyone, just be you, it sounds cliché, but it’s true, don’t let anyone change you.

What part of your work are you most passionate about?

I love the whole process, I really do. It makes me feel so… it’s one of the only times— that sounds so sad (laughs)—I’m excited, you don’t know what’s going to happen, you travel, setup, sometimes you’re outside, you’re against the elements… I mean, the whole experience is such a rush for me… but I think what sticks out is when the shoot wraps, (whether I’m alone shooting portraits, or with a team of awesome people) there’s just this feeling that’s so fulfilling. You’re so exhausted, your body hurts, and nothing feels better in that moment… your vision has been brought to life and then it’s on to the ‘next’.

Who inspired you to not only choose this path but stay on it? Couldn’t have always been easy without a rule book.

I think some of the best things are worth sticking out without a rule book. For me, I didn’t find myself wanting to be anywhere else. I just wanted to keep etching a path. I just wanted to connect with people and a camera initially gave me that way to do so—I think I look outgoing when I meet people—but I’m actually really shy. I’ve just adapted to look outgoing, but I just keep people with high energy and staying inspired closest to me. I have a very small circle of friends, and I just continue staying around people who encourage me and we can encourage each other… and then I also found the people like “The Greats” [Known Artists] that inspire me and keep me motivated.

You mentioned “Mental Health” topics in upcoming work. Do you think we will see more representation in your future work?

Yes, I will be doing what I can to speak out more about some personal struggles I’ve had over the last three years, with some visual interpretation, and then a few visuals of way back when or what could have possibly built up to those points and times. Hopefully that debuts this year (fingers crossed!).

What do you think you’re looking forward to in the future? Any art shows, life events, etc?

Yes, I am planning on having that art show I mentioned, it will be called, “Someone is Trying to Tell You Something”, and that will show sometime this year. I don’t know where yet, but I know it will show. The main thing I’m looking forward to is a better world full of real equality. I would love to see that amplify and really be where it is long overdue to be at.

Can you get into detail about “what” your favorite part of “art” is?

Where artwork makes you feel— it captivates this world of emotion and feeling, and it can—obviously we know this, but my favorite part about art is the part of creation that is not only how artwork is maintaining the visible world, but it’s also maintaining an invisible world… and to me, that’s just incredible.

Why do you think it’s important for you and both others, should there be art in the world?

Oh, it’s so important, for myself and others, maybe the same answer for that, would be an outlet for everything. And an experience for anyone who didn’t create it. I remember for example, I was in Art School, I had this amazing teacher [an Art History teacher for me but a Drawing teacher as well], she had painted these watercolor cherries. There was a faculty group show in a gallery downtown, and I remember thinking, there was something about her painting and it caught my eye. There were these two cherries, they looked like they had water droplets on them, on this white piece of paper, and there was a cherry stem in the picture, beside them. And I watched her look at her work, and she described it was simply these cherries on a plate at breakfast, and the way the light caught that for her, it was motivating enough for her to go and get her tools and capture this unique representation from her experience. There was something about her sharing this story in that moment and it always stuck with me. I realized that you can learn from every single person. I don’t know if this is the question anymore (laughs), but I think it’s just so important—going way back to what I said about truths—get your truths out… and if it feels right to watercolor paint some cherries at breakfast—here we are, years later, and I still think about that moment. There’s something just beautiful.

Would you ever say there are bad ideas within art?

Experimenting in art will only find what feels right to gravitate towards, or what feels wrong.Listening to that inner voice/feeling, and following your gut… you know, have an outline [idea] created [the project plan], but in the end, follow what feels right.

This one is a question from Followers, do you shoot film, digital or both?

I shoot digital now. I shoot with a Canon 5d Mark IV. That was my goal to get that camera. I started on film [Note: years before getting a Mark II before the Mark IV], and shot with that, and then was fortunate enough to get the Mark IV two years ago, and have been shooting with that ever since. I shoot digital, but think like I’m shooting film. I think about how from frame 1 through the last frame on the roll. Of course, you have more leeway with how many shots you can take with shooting digital, but I am to shoot quality over quantity. I don’t want to just burst shoot, they need to be thoughtful and felt out, and even with self-timer portraits.

How can we find you online or in real life?

You can follow me on social media when you search @katinthecloudz or visit my website at www.mynameiskat.com.

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