Interview #7: Kate Pulley


CUS: First of all, the most standard question in the book: how did you get into photography?

Kate Pulley: I've always loved taking pictures. There's no turning point in my life where I figured out just how much. I mostly shoot with Polaroids. They have always fascinated me!


CUS: What kind of camera do you enjoy using the most?

KP: Either of my Polaroid SX-70's. They're such wonderful companions. I never know what will develop.


CUS: Do you have a favorite subject you like to shoot? And why? 

KP: I love to shoot portraits. I guess I could say my twin sister, Amanda, is my favorite subject. Since she fills up the majority of my stream. She's also easy to order around because I don't have to worry about sounding rude!


CUS: If you could go anywhere in the world to take photographs where would you go? 

KP: Down the rabbit hole! Neverland! Okay, really anywhere I haven't been. I'd really love to take pictures of children in Uganda. I have friends who have been there and the people are so beautiful. A few others on my list are Iceland, London, Paris, and Ireland. I'm really up for anything. I can't choose just one.


CUS: If you could photograph any person (past or present) who would you choose? 

KP: Dang, that's a hard one. I really couldn't answer it specifically. I'd just love to meet new friends and take some Polaroids of them. But I also asked my sister for help on this one and we both agreed Audrey Hepburn would be a good back-up choice.


CUS: Do you have a favourite place to shoot? 

KP: Magical hidden places outdoors. With good lighting.


CUS: How much time do you generally spend on a shoot? 

KP: Most of the time I'll just carry my camera(s) around and hope to come across something. If it's planned, it's normally just taking a walk with a friend, or Amanda, and coming up with photos through the viewfinder. So it could take just a few minutes or a couple of hours.


CUS: Do you feel that your mood affects the type of photographs you produce on a particular day? 

KP: No, I don't think it really does at all. My photos tend to be bright no matter what. The fact that I shoot with mostly film contributes to that some though. Since the lighting always has to be bright to get results.


CUS: What is the thing you like the least about photography? The most? 

KP: The least is when I can't get the result I'm looking for. Sometimes, with excessive Polaroid use, I can use up a full pack of film without getting anything I'm satisfied with.
The most would have to be the satisfaction of seeing something I created come to life. And I love getting feedback. People see things in my photos that I don't.


CUS: Do you always have preconceived concepts of what you want to shoot? 

KP: Hardly ever. Ideas used to pop into my head all the time, but it's rare that I get a full photo plan to work with. I mostly just look for beauty in my surroundings, throw my sister in front of it, and shoot with high hopes!


CUS: Many of your photos seem as though they come straight out of a fairytale. What is it about this quality of photography that interests you? 

KP: Well thank you! It's what I hope for, but like I said, people see things in my photos that I can't. I'm used to being there when I take the photo and don't always see what I wish to. I really love creating a second reality. There's so much beauty in the idea of magic.


CUS: You shoot with a lot of Polaroid film; what was your first reaction when you found out that Polaroids were no longer going to be manufactured? 

KP: My reaction... was probably pretty spastic. It was hard to digest, but there was nothing to do about it, really. I went and bought a few packs of film, which is all I could afford. And somehow people starting gifting more to me until I had a small stash. I'm glad to hear it may be brought to life again soon. I'll always love Polaroids.


CUS: If every photograph should contain one key element, what would it be in your opinion? 

KP: Just any element of interest, really. Usually a human subject is the easiest way to get that, but it's not always.

CUS: What sort of themes do you try to explore through your photographs? Is there any one in particular in which you try to convey often? 

KP: Themes? Hm... I just try to capture beauty and whimsy in everyday places and situations.


CUS: Nature seems to play an important role in your photography. Would you say that being in the middle nature is the atmosphere you feel most comfortable in? 

KP: I love nature. I definitely prefer being outside. I mostly have to shoot in the sunlight too, because film won't turn out indoors and I don't like flash much. It's easier to find the right atmosphere outside also. I don't have to do much work with props and atmosphere when it's already been done for me.


CUS: What have you always wanted to photograph but have thought was too hard or difficult to execute? 

KP: Nothing in particular. Flying, falling, floating... water shots?


CUS: What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you on a photo shoot? 

KP: Nothing too strange that I can think of. Well last summer my sister, my friend Chrissey, and I dressed as hobos. More or less. And we went to the park to shoot. It wasn't intended to turn out the way it did, we weren't supposed to look like hobos, but that's what happened. It was sort of awkward to pass people and act normal. I ended up dropping and breaking an already ghetto Polaroid camera that day, trying to escape the stares. When really not many people were even watching... Paranoia = broken cameras. Avoid it.


CUS: Do you believe that with the rise of digital photography the phrase “everyone can be a photographer” is true? 

KP: No. It's not the camera that makes the photo. I mean... I hardly ever use digital.


CUS: Do you have a favorite photographer? 

KP: I have several! All within the boundaries of Flickr. There are so many amazing photographers who are so young. Probably the three I favorite photos from the most are Olivia (Olivia Bee), Elif Sanem Karakoc, And Elle (lenaah). There's a long list of photographers I love on there though.


CUS: What advice would you give to your fellow up-and-coming photographers?

KP: Don't base your photography on what you're necessarily "supposed" to do. Do what you enjoy. Try something different.


CUS: Where do you see yourself in 20 years? Do you think that photography will still be a big part of your life? 

KP: I have no idea! I don't even know where I may be living. I hope I'm still taking photos regularly. It probably won't be my career, but hopefully a side job. It's a passion of mine and I think it will last.


CUS: Our last interviewee, Kristin Manson, wants you to: Describe yourself in one word. 

KP: Oh dear. Hardest question on here... Thanks, Kristin! Maybe... dreamer? I don't know, that sounds so lame and cliche, but we figured out that I like fairytales, so I guess it applies.


CUS: Last but not least, what would you like to ask our next Interviewee?

KP: If your house were on fire and you only had time to save one thing, would you choose your camera or the computer holding all the pictures you have already taken?

Kate Puley, from Tennessee, USA


Images provided by Kate Pulley. All rights reserved.