London-born photographer Kate Bellm’s work is all about letting loose. But don’t let the carefree attitude behind her images fool you: with her colourful and striking images, the young talent has already worked for clients such as Adidas, Harrods and Fleet Ilya, as well as exhibited at venues such as the Galerie M. H. Karst in Paris, alongside household names such as Terry Richardson and Nick Knight.
Twin caught up with the photography wünderkind to chat about cosmopolitan creative contrasts, Guy Bourdin and why nudity equals freedom…
What first sparked your interest in photography?
I liked everything about photography from the moment I started: playing around with different techniques in the darkroom and in camera, meeting different people all the time and making imaginary scenarios and memories that are all yours. My favourite thing about it is definitely the memories you save, imagining the photos in 30 years time when you look back on these small worlds of different people who have travelled and inspired you for all the shots.
Working between Berlin and London, what creative differences do you see between the two cities?
For me they are worlds apart. Berlin is all about characters and crazy shoots, freedom, nature and getting naked, breaking into old houses and shooting amazing untouched spots. I feel like a lot in London has been seen before as so much photography is done there and obviously the work is much more commercial and fashion based. Nevertheless, I am inspired there too, by my family and where I grew up in the countryside which evidently is the location for most of my shoots in England.
Some of your photos have a quite Guy Bourdin-esque feel to them, would you say that he is a big influence? Where else do you find inspiration?
Yeah, he totally inspires me. I have had all his books since I was a teenager and actually was just in a group show with his work! [The ICONS OF TOMORROW exhibit at Christophe Guye Galerie in Zurich] That was definitely a dream come true. Also, I am really inspired by all my friends in Berlin right now, they always come by my studio and together we think of crazy new techniques to develop my photos with and have big painting and illustration sessions together.
On the subject of Bourdin, what role does sexuality play in your work?
I just love sexy photos. I mean it’s not even underlying anymore for me unless I’m working it into a fashion shoot. I like shooting my friends naked, for me it’s complete freedom!
As female photographer how do you attempt to represent women in your images?
I represent them as free and having a good time in whatever situation we find ourselves in. I want people to realise that naked images are not a big deal, it’s actually more a state of mind of being happy with your body. But somehow without even realising it, the girls always look insanely sexy.
What work can we expect to see from you in the future?
More road trips, naked girls, skateboarders and paint bombs. Issue 2 of my zine ROCKERS is coming out next week. It will be a Girls edition, so full of all my favourite ladies. I also have a group show coming up in Berlin in September where we are building an acid forest full of colour-painted wood, space skate ramps, wigwams, bone chandeliers and other mystical wonders. Watch out for it on my blog: katesworld.tumblr.com.