Katelyn Playford

Katelyn Playford is a photographer from Norwich, focusing a lot on sexuality, gender stereotypes, and challenging the norms. Shooting people she knows in subtle and minimal surroundings she creates a reality that celebrates their characteristics.


How did you first pick up photography?

I have always been a creative person and had an avid interest within the arts. Attending a specialised art school, my passion grew and developed from painting and drawing into photography. This was guided by various people of influence; including my teacher who grasped at my ambition and encouraged my progression through photography.

My dad has also always had an interest within this art form and often I would find myself playing with his cameras and lenses, taking landscapes and still lifes, and through this, I developed a love for the subject.


How do you choose your models? Is it people you know or strangers?

I personally choose my models through people that I know, this way I find it easier to gain an intimacy between myself as the photographer and my subject. My selection relates to the interest I have about them; within the shoots I allow them the freedom to move around and hope to capture off shots to portray them as they really are.


Which one would you say is your favourite camera and why?

My favourite camera is a canon 5d Mk III purely for its muted tone of colour. However, I achieve my compositions through the lenses that I alternate with – 135mm and 50mm. These, I find, are my preferred tools of use, and therefore I am not stuck to one singular camera.


Where do you usually get inspiration from?

My inspiration has been sculpted via the photographers that I admire and whose work I have grown to love. Since finding photographer Harley Weir, I have been in awe of her style and approach to photography and aim to take certain aspects of her aesthetic and combine them with my own in making new original content.

I also find that I draw inspiration whilst being in the moment on the shoot. I find that the models are a great influence to how I portray my work. Through their freedom and interaction with the camera, I am able to capture a reality that celebrates their characteristics.


Do you prefer to shoot indoors? How do you decide when to shoot colour or where to shoot?

I can be quite specific in my choice of location, as I feel even if it is subtle and minimal, it has an impact on the final composition. I enjoy colour within each image and pairing some of these aspects proves to be an interest of mine. Therefore if I have a shoot planned I utilise my surroundings to compliment the subject of the image.


What are you working on at the moment?

My most recent project relates to the double standards of gender. The images challenge stereotypes, questioning what is the norm and how it can be broken with a transgressive response. Each singular image represents a narrative, but as a whole they embody a character of empowerment.

There is mention of sexuality and connotations of sexual activity, which allows an altering perspective that women aren’t going to be submissive when it comes to sex. However, that there is a dominance through seduction which allows women to retake power and ignore social etiquette.

The project is a comment on how we live in an ever-changing world that allows for freedom of speech and the ability to be whoever you desire. However, self-confidence is not shy of criticism and is not visible to those who are blind by rules and shallow thoughts. The images aim to show people as they want to be and as they can be; real characters that should not hide away from their reality.