Happy Friday everyone! To continue our photographer Q&A series, I am extremely delighted to have the fabulous Cathy share with us what makes her tick and her photography “story”! She’s an incredible person with an amazing heart. You can, and will, learn TONS from her…I know that I have! Thanks Cathy! =)

CHRIS: Let’s start with a little background info, tell me about yourself.

CATHY: Thanks, Chris, for the opportunity to share my story with others! I’m humbled and grateful to have a few moments to talk about my life in front of, and behind, the lens.

Where do I begin? I am addicted to Dots. Pick out the green ones and we are BFFs for life. I love too much. Sleep too little. Indulge at Starbucks more than I should. I have a weakness for handbags. I could burst with pride every time I hear the Iowa State fight song to the roar of a packed stadium at the start of a Saturday morning football game. Seriously, it brings tears to my eyes. I would like to pack my suitcase and move into an Anthropolgie store. I may appear like a tough nut, but I’m so soft at heart. I get to know my clients as if they were part of my own family. I love pretty things on paper–the touch of letterpress as it graces an envelope with a handwritten note makes my day every single time.

I’m a native midwesterner. I understand the value of hard work and a sometimes-stubborn attitude. I created Cathy Mores Photography to provide my clients with a portrait experience that is about more than making great pictures. Currently based in Manhattan, KS, we serve clients all over the Northeast Kansas, the Kansas City metro and some of our favorite places across the midwest and beyond.

My website is www.cathymoresphotography.com and I keep a blog of current news, sessions and ramblings at www.parallel39blog.com. I’m on facebook too at www.facebook.com/CathyMoresPhotography; my twitter handle is twitter.com/cathymores. I’m pretty much an open book at this point. You can read about what I had for lunch, see my latest session, or find my latest flea-market find at any one of those.

CHRIS: How did you become a photographer?

CATHY: I have always been a creative person; I took a huge fascination to the magic and mystery of creating beautiful images as a child. My dad had a Canon AE-1 and a couple of good lenses. He wasn’t a professional photographer, but was a huge influence as I began making pictures at a very early age. I took that camera to college, where I studied photography as part of my major, and I still have it today as a reminder of where I’ve come from. (It proudly sits next to my collection of vintage Kodak Brownie cameras from the 1930’s and 40’s.)

I didn’t lose my love for photography after college. I knew I’d ultimately come back to it :: the smell of darkroom chemicals were too embedded in the fabric of my life. 🙂 But it took a burner to my work in the advertising industry, in nearly ten years spent in ad agencies across Iowa, Colorado and Kansas. I did a little commercial photography during that time, and it energized me. I saw a need for photography that did more than capture the physical attributes of a person, and instead photograph their emotions and interactions. It was the underlying premise and desire to create Cathy Mores Photography.

CHRIS: Why should I book you as a photographer?

CATHY: I listen. I hear your story and turn that dialogue into imagery that you’ll have your entire life. Generations from now, those images not only share what you looked like, but who you are as an individual. Who you are as a family. Your story is so unique, and you deserve to have someone behind the lens who you trust to tell that story.

I am your trusted partner through each step of the experience. I’ll help consult you from the first time we meet to discuss your session to selecting the right portraits and products for your home. I develop long-term relationships with my clients; when I photograph your family, you become part of mine.

I take the responsibility of being your family’s storyteller very seriously. It’s a great honor and privilege to be able to document your family’s story through photographs.

CHRIS: How would you describe your style?

CATHY: I call my style “photoartistry”. It’s kind of a mutt of traditional portrait photography turned on its ear and blended with photojournalism and strong emotional ties. Basically, it boils down to this :: I want you to feel something when you look at my photographs. Joy. Warmth. Love. Comfort. Family. Respect. The moments you remember most between you and another person aren’t necessarily the ones that involve “tip your head this way and look at each other like that”. It’s the moments that happen in between posed shots. The way dad swings his little girl around or the comfort of mom’s warm embrace. The kiss on a nose between a new bride and her groom.

CHRIS: If you had to pick your favorite piece of equipment, what would it be and why?

CATHY: You’re killing me with this! I can only pick one? 🙂 I would be lost, completely lost, without my prime lenses. I like that I have to force myself to move to get a great shot–that I can’t just zoom in and expect that to be good enough. Right now that includes the 50mm f/1.4 and 105mm f/2.8. Tack sharp and buttery-beautiful all in the same breath.

CHRIS: What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?

CATHY: Connect with others. No man is an island in this business–connect with others on SOME level. Online, through a mentor, workshops. There are so many useful resources available to help you succeed. But also don’t be afraid to think outside the box and blaze your own path–those mentors and workshops are merely available to offer you their opinion. It’s hard work, but worthwhile and humbling too.

CHRIS: Care to share 5 recent photographs?

CATHY: Oy!! That’s like asking a mom to chooser her favorite child. 🙂

This remains one of my favorite images to date. My husband and Little Man were playing in the grass one night, laughing and being silly. I still hear Little Man’s giggle when I see this image.

I went to San Francisco a couple of years ago to study with four photographers who changed my life. (Not to mention the other photographers that I still connect with!) It was an incredibly intense, emotional weekend of discovery and art. In one exercise, we were matched up with a member of the Stinson Beach, CA community to hear their stories and photograph them, with the images donated to the community’s historical records. I was matched with a woman who recently retired and was finding her new wings of freedom, and trying to re-discover what inspired her. We were blocks from the ocean on a chilly early May morning, so we grabbed our shoes and walked to the beach, one of the places where she feels most alive.

This little guy totally wasn’t sure about me at first. Think about it to a two year old–you’re a new person with this big black box in front of your face and telling him to smile? Yeah, right. So he stayed where he was comfortable, right between mom and dad–and all of a sudden he was hamming it up. We’re totally BFFs now, minus the Dots.

This image feels like childhood! Fresh, free, unabashedly chasing after a dream. You can’t make moments like this up. It screams happiness. And summer.

This is a really recent one–if you’re a regular blog reader, just a couple of weeks ago. We photographed this beauty at a fresh five days old; I love newborns because you have to be SO patient and calm and it’s a wonderful step back from my usual pace. I didn’t learn until I arrived at the session that the baby’s dad was about to leave a few days later for his first deployment overseas. Knowing he was holding her for the first and last time for the next several months still pulls at my heart. I cried while editing this session–this is what I talk about knowing the deep responsibility that I have as a photographer–that these are some of the few photographs that he’ll have while he’s away from his family. It’s so humbling, and incredibly gratifying too, to share those gifts with others.

Are you on Facebook? Of course you are! Check out the La Brisa Photography Fan Page to view the latest teasers, helpful articles and more!