Thursday, May 03, 2012

Feature Interview - Life Is Art: Kitty Gallannaugh

This is the incredibly inspiring Kitty Gallannaugh, get ready to get lost in her world....


1. Fill me in on your background, where are you from and how did you get in to photography?

I came into existence 21 August's ago and was named after my great-granny. We've lived in the same place in London all my life and my roots have grown deep down, I'm so happy here. I started to photograph when I was 5 or 6, I was given a red child's camera and I spent all my time photographing everything. Everything includes my hamster to car journeys. When I was 7 we went to a hotel where I went to play with a group of other kids of all ages. A large boy with shaved hair came up to me and said, "your camera is stupid" and it made me really scared. His friend came over and they mocked my camera saying it wasn't real and how I was a stupid little girl. Impulsively I pulled the viewfinder to my face, squealed "smile", took the skinhead's photo with the flash on and ran as fast as I could away from them. And I still have that photo today! it gave me this boost of courage that photographing was a way of documenting, whether it was the hotel bully or something that made you happy. When I was 13 I picked up my first digital camera and taught myself how to edit photos on the computer, and since then I just never stopped. for the past 8 years I have never slowed down with experimenting or wanting to take the camera away from my face, it is more than a passion to me.


2. Who has influenced you the most in terms of photography?

I think everything now is the culmination of a lifetime of inspiration. I grew up with a very open mind, I loved learning about geography, about art, how to make things, inventions - I liked to get my hands dirty. I once spent an entire afternoon as a 4 year old dipping my pennies into marmite to make them look 'old', much to my parent's dismay. I believe we're all influenced by our surroundings, especially when we're young and have a mind like a sponge, we're constantly learning and growing. My family was very artistic and greatly encouraged me to follow my own heart with what I wanted to do. I don't think one person has contributed greater than anyone else, it has been more of a team effort from everyone.


3. What is your favourite style of photography (Self portraiture? Fashion? Documentary)?

I specialise in fashion and editorial photography but do adore photojournalism (only to look at, not to take myself).


4. What is your process when taking photo's, from getting ideas to editing?

I think I'm a little bit erratic when it comes down to any form of photographic process, every time seems to be different. sometimes I'll have an idea and shoot it the very next day, other times I'll sit down and draw on paper what I want to achieve and then find the 'perfect' model for the theme. I shoot like a monkey; halfway up a tree trunk or rolling around on my stomach, I kind of forget that I should be a person walking on their feet. I picture the final image through my lens, it keeps me focussed and helps me direct the model more easily. afterwards I then spend time picking the strongest images to edit, I make notes as to what needs to be done and then play around in Photoshop until I'm a happy monkey.


5. What are your tools of the trade?

A wild imagination and spark in my heart. and 'canny' my camera of course.


6. Where do you hope to go with your photography?

To the ends of the world and home again. my dreams are too big to fit beneath my skull, so I kind of just let them leak out instead. I hope to continue to grow both as an artist and as a human being, continue learning and just never stopping doing what I love.


7. Why do you think people are drawn to photography?

Photography can cover all manner of things; it can provoke emotions, advertise, it can document, be an escape but also an eye-opener too. there are so many forms of photography which can suit anyone and everyone, it engulfs and includes those who wish to be immersed in it. It never turns people away, it welcomes them in and I think that is why people are drawn to it.


8. What draws you to a particular model/subject? What do you look for in a model/subject?

Everyone has different qualities, and I find people's individual traits fascinating. I like models who are comfortable with themselves and down-to-earth. I get drawn to the shy kids who don't believe they have anything 'special' when they really do, they make me more determined to prove just how unique they are. whether someone has a beautiful smile, amazing hair, nimble fingers, sun-kissed freckles or sparkly eyes there is something wonderful about everyone. and as a photographer I believe it is my duty to photograph what makes them stand out from the crowd. I photograph everyone and anyone who is willing to let their guard down.

flowers for a bed

9. Who are some other photographers you admire?

Tim Walker, Akif Hakan Celebi, Sally Mann, Rosie Hardy, Annie Leibovitz. They are all so wonderful at what they do.

daisies of the galaxy

10. What is your best tip to taking a striking photo?

Photograph something that you're passionate about. Emotions of the photographer are so easily translated through the composition of a photograph, and if your heart is fully into what you're photographing then people will be able to see it.

rooftop jungle

11. Your photos seem to incorporate your surroundings and the elements, is this a big part of your style?

Absolutely. there's nothing better than being able to lay across an old oak branch or swing from a postbox. Having surroundings to interact with makes things feel more fun, and that's definitely something I try to incorporate into my style.


12. What is your favourite photo taken by another photographer? (Link and describe why)


It locks my eyes in, it's the yummy tones which look like a balmy summer afternoon. The styling makes me think of my childhood dolls, so I connect into it and it leaves me with a nostalgic feel. Overall, I think it's a stunning photo which I consider my favourite. Katie is magical.


13. What is your favourite photo you have taken? (Link and describe why)


I don't think there is one that stands out more than the others. I am incredibly fond of Windspray (above). It's a sentimental photo, my sister and I sat on the jetty all afternoon taking photos. the canoe club came and watched us take this photo, there were about 30 teenagers all standing behind me as I took this one shot, I felt so intimidated but Libby was as cool as a cucumber and didn't let it phase her. her courage and willingness is something I admire so greatly, I'm lucky to have such a beautiful sister to model for me.


14. What are some of your favourite films, books and musicians?

I love the films 'submarine', 'amelie' & 'love actually'. my favourite book is 'the notebook'. my favourite musicians range from Sigur Ros, Coldplay to Gotye.

bed of roses

15. What has been your biggest achievement so far with your photography?

I see every day as an achievement, each new shoot I complete is a new milestone for me. Every new opportunity is gratefully received whether it's a lookbook, editorial or just getting to chat with someone new. I recently was asked to go out to Lebanon and shoot a Galaxy chocolate campaign which I was thrilled about, but the job fell through last minute so I had a bit of a sad heart. But I have some new prospects which I am excited to let unfold so they will hopefully be new achievements for me.

sixties sun

16. Do you think it’s hard to be original in photography? How do you keep your ideas original and fresh?

Yes and no, it's a funny balance. whatever one does in photography will have likely been done before, but no one can ever own a concept or theme, we can only put our own interpretation into something that may have already been done before. Lots of people shoot themes like alike in wonderland or little red riding hood, but what makes it different is each artist's style and take on it. I think to be original, people need to be inspired by others and take it to their level. turn an idea into your own, change it like clay in your fingers until it leaves no trace but just your own fingerprints on it. It isn't always easy, but the more one tries new things the more they'll find themselves pleasantly surprised with their results.

oak wood cult

17. Which photographer do you think I should interview next and why?

Emily Tebbetts, she is such a role model both as an artist and a soul. she has bucketfuls of talent and is someone I consider a wonderful friend but more so an incredible human being.

tendres baisers

18. Do you often change a lot of the original photo in Photoshop?

Not at all really, I usually tone the image with colours - either colour it with delicious hues or desaturate it, but nothing ever beyond the realms of colouring.


19. Do you think you have an original style that is you own?

I kiss my photos with pastels and learn how to tame the light to be hazy, so I suppose that is where my comfort zone lies. I do think I have something of a "style" in that respect.

we are one with the trees

20. Do you prefer studio or location?

Location just works better for me, I prefer to be able to interact with the world around us and draw it into the frame.


21. If you could photograph any person alive or dead who would it be and why?

Gemma Ward, I'm a huge fan of her. she has such a pixie-like quality which is hugely inspiring and truly beautiful.


22. You seem to document your relationship with your boyfriend, does he inspire you? Tell us how you met?

Endlessly so. He's my blue-eyed muse. We met on deviantart in 2006, he commented on a blossom tree photo of mine and that was the first communication we had. He moved over officially from Australia in 2008 and now we have our own little house and spend our time playing scrabble, baking banana cakes, listening to our vinyl's and going on photo adventures. Life wouldn't be where it is now without his support, devotion and encouragement.


23. Give us the skinny, what's the next project you've got coming up?

The skinny is probably more of a chunky (like the kitkat bars, mmh!) I'm working on a new blog at the moment. I already have one, but it's just limited me on too many things; not being able to have pictures wider than 593 pixels on display or feeling it wasn't interactive enough with the viewer. I love blogging and felt determined to keep my blog going, but decided it would be more fun to make something completely new that I would be wholeheartedly thrilled with. I wanted to be able to blog without feeling like it was a chore. I think this new lease of life will hopefully make me focus more on the quality of my photos rather than the quantity, and I hope others will enjoy what I make!


24. Which actor would play you in the film of your life?

I think that would be the single most boring film ever! It would probably have to be Elle fanning for the fact she giggles a lot just like me and does tend to talk very fast and go off on little tangents (story of my life!)


25. What did you want to grow up to be when you were a kid?

Lots of things but mainly a firewoman called penny (I was somewhat obsessed with the show fireman Sam).

how can you swallow so much sleep

Thank you so much Kitty, it was truly a pleasure to feature you :)

See more of Kitty's work on her Flickr and her beautiful Blog.

Peace xx


  1. this post swells with inspiration! ♥

  2. Only just found this on google and so happy i did! Kitty is a god! Love her work!