(Credit: Kate Seabrook)
Photographer: Kate Seabrook
Speciality: music photography, portraiture, documentary
Biography: Kate Seabrook is a self-taught photographer and occasional contributor to online music magazine Mess+Noise. Her work to date has largely been to document the vibrant underground music scene in Melbourne and those who inhabit it, both onstage and off. Kate has held two solo exhibitions in Melbourne, photographed a wide range of events from underground punk-rock gigs to large community and corporate events, and is currently taking her husband and cameras on an exploration of Germany.
Equipment: Nikon D700 and D90, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, Nikon 50mm f/1.4 lens, Nikon 85mm f/1.8 lens, SB-600 speedlight, Hoya UV and polarising filters, Adobe Lightroom, Werra 1 film camera, Olympus Trip 35, Rollei black-and-white and Kodak colour film and a recently acquired Ricoh GR Digital IV.Q&A
Your personal series Housepeeking documents people's living areas. What do you look for when you step into someone else's private space?
With Housepeeking, my aim is to document the "setting-up-house" aspect of a relationship, as well as allowing both myself and the audience to get an insight into people's private lives. I am very interested in how people express themselves through fashion, as I explored in the series "Frock fetish", and Housepeeking is kind of an extension of this. I am looking for objects with stories to tell, beautiful alignments of colour, shape and form, gorgeous kitties, but, most importantly, evidence of people's creativity, unique personal style, memories, hopes, dreams and general presence in a space. Plus, it gives me an excuse to visit lovely people, be nosy and share a cuppa and a chat!
Who or what are some of your inspirations?
As much as I have the greatest respect for the work of the photographic giants such as Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank, I draw most of my inspiration from my subjects — the beautiful, talented and colourful people I surround myself with — as well as my photographic peers. Leah Robertson and Lauren Bamford (both Melbourne based) and Lyndal Irons (Sydney) all do absolutely beautiful work, and have been hugely supportive of my work, to boot!
How do you go about building and refining your personal style?
That is a tricky one! I don't think it is something that can be done deliberately, as that would be too forced. I just focus on documenting people and things that I love and/or find interesting, and try to be as sympathetic and respectful to my subjects as possible. The personal style seems to develop/appear of its own accord.
What advice can you give to photographers who want to start photographing bands and musicians?
Look to your local music community first, and get involved. Forget about making money from it. Music photography is not a way to make a living, for most, so you will have to love what you are doing. Try to find the balance between generosity and being taken advantage of. The great thing about music photography is that it really hones your photographic skills; if you can find a way to deal with the horrendous lighting in many venues, you can deal with most things!
How much of your time do you spend taking photos, as opposed to post-processing?
I tend to get very wrapped up with what I am shooting and get a bit obsessed with capturing every angle and take too many photos. I am trying to rein this in a bit. I do only minimal post-processing on my photos, so most of my time in Lightroom is spent agonising over culling decisions!
Where do you hope to take your photography next?
I really want to dedicate myself to Housepeeking, as it has not been as regular as I would like. The challenge in taking it overseas will be in convincing strangers to let me poke around in their homes!
More of Kate's work can be seen on her website www.kateseabrook.com.