WOMEN WHO CREATE: PHOTOGRAPHER KATE BELLM TAKES US ON A TRIP
Kate Bellm is a photographer who combines personal and commercial work effortlessly. Drifting between psychedelic desert landscapes, to intimate underwater portraits, the trippy colours create scenes from dreams. As well as having big name brands under her belt, and having worked for world renowned magazines, her personal work is deep and otherworldly. It feels silent in its hazy, blurred motion, with the camera keeping its distance from the scene. But at the same time the vibrant colours pull the viewer in, as girls run freely through fields in bloom or swarms of women become mermaid figures under water. Kate Bellm’s photos are a visual ecstacy.
How did you start taking photos?
It’s been a driving force within me since I got my first camera aged 12 . I have never stopped because it makes me so happy. We had a darkroom at school so I spent most of my time there developing my own rolls and printing photos which was a great experience and kickstarted my whole career. I’ve always wanted to be a photographer. I started by shooting my neighbours, school friends, and sisters and by the time I left high school I had built up the confidence to shoot for magazines – which led to advertising, and all my own personal projects.
What are the upsides of personal projects and what are the upsides of collaborations?
Personal projects just flow from your heart and you get inspired for them by whatever surrounds you – the people, the scenery – you think something up and make it happen. Working with brands is also an amazing experience, but much harder work as you need to adapt your style with flow… but you always get to travel somewhere and work with an amazing crew of people that you can connect with because you’re all in it for the same reason.
What was your most exciting experience as a photographer?
Being taken to amazing places and connecting with special people. Also, my skate and underwater projects have really opened up my mind as sometimes we are in dangerous or more unplanned situations so it always feels like an adventure. The journey and the process of creating, everything that comes with it – I have met so many of my closest friends through photoshoots.
What is your artistic process – your photos seem more spontaneous than planned – is that deliberate?
When I’m shooting, I really like to go with the flow and just feel the personality and comfort levels of the person I’m photographing, whilst mixing that with working with the location and the light.
But when it comes to my psychedelic landscapes, I work before and after on manipulating the film and placing different homemade filters on my lens, so you could say it’s more planned even though it’s always a surprise how the images come out.
What is the most important thing you want people to feel from your work?
Freedom and inspiration to travel and experience nature as much as possible.
With the series Women Who Create, Material Magazine is looking to highlight women from a variety of professions and passions that use their unique talents to carve out a space for themselves and their art in our cultural landscape.