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Kate Cox

The London-based photographer talks to us about the importance of film in her work, travelling and photographing friends in bed

Kate Cox seems to have been magnetically drawn towards photography. Her eye for imagery, organically developed growing up around super 8s and old 35mms, is sensitive and considered. Her portraits of nudes and friends are romantic, but never romanticised. There’s a sense of narrative intrinsic to her photography, as if something is about to or has just happened. Coupled with her innate ability to suss out the mood of a space, her work is drenched in a cinematographic atmosphere. 

Dazed Digital: How did you get into photography?
Kate Cox: My dad was always taking pictures as I was growing up. I guess he was documenting our childhood but I hated it. In my teens I got infected with the bug my father had and I started taking photos. I really got into it at 18 when I did Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University. By final year I was specialising in photography and film exclusively.

DD: What camera do you use?
Kate Cox: I use a bunch of different cameras – 5D, Hassleblad, Contax G2 and some old 35mm point and shoot cameras.

DD: What makes a beautiful image for you?
Kate Cox: The Light. 

DD: Would you say there are any prevalent themes in your work?
Kate Cox: Everyone says my work is soft; there’s a sensitivity to it. It’s really important I connect with the person I’m shooting.  I hope my work shows that. Natural light - I like to use natural light wherever possible or emulate it if I can’t use it.

DD: Which photographers do you admire?
Kate Cox: I love Paul Jasmin, Alasdair McLellan and Viviane Sassen's work. Bill Henson, Collier Schorr and Corinne Day are favourites too. I think what Lina Scheynius is doing is interesting too. 

DD: Where do you get inspiration for your photography?
Kate Cox: From a location: the story comes to me from a place. I can see it happening when I’m there. I’d really like to travel some more and take some more pictures in different countries. It’s easier to find new inspirations travelling.

DD: What influences you?
Kate Cox: Films are a big influence, but a feeling really more than an actual concrete story - a kind of filmicness. Just trying to get an emotion or an atmosphere across.

DD: Which films in particular?
Kate Cox: I like quite bleak films like Philippe Grandrieux films, Nói Albinói, Let the Right One In, The Road, Women of the Dunes is an all-time favourite. Thematically I relate to coming of age stories – Badlands, Lawn Dogs, Christiane F, I think that’s a theme in my work. Most recently I loved Animal Kingdom. 

DD: What are you currently working on?
Kate Cox: I’m working on portraits of friends for The New British. I like photographing people I know. And strangers too. 

DD: Your photography is imbued with narrative.  Is it important for you to create a story?
Kate Cox: It’s something that happens incidentally sometimes. Sometimes I try to get it across as a part of the atmosphere.  Grandrieux’s films are like that: there’s a kind of tension or a feeling of fear but you don’t know why. It has something to do with the sound or his lighting. I like that, I find it really interesting.

Text by Katie Rose