Meet the artist – Cate McCrae

October 5, 2010 at 3:59 pm Leave a comment

Through by Cate McCrae

Tell us a little about yourself

I live in Furzedown with my husband two sons. I originally trained as a teacher in further education and worked in that field for almost ten years, then I decided to change track and fully explore my lifelong love of photography.

What type of work do you do?

I do both personal and commercial work. I work as a photograph restorer, and I work on personal projects. Most of my personal work is made on film and printed in my own darkroom. I use the finest materials for both digital and darkroom work, and my darkroom work uses traditional fine printing techniques such as toning with selenium, sepia and gold.

Can you tell us a little more about your restoration work?

I work professionally as a restorer (via digital or darkroom copy, as opposed to a conservator) for both corporate and individual clients. Recently I have been restoring photographs for the Furzedown Voices Oral History Project – we hope eventually to create a permanent archive and exhibition of prints. The prints are made with the most recent archival inks and fine art papers to ensure longevity. The work for the Project is unpaid and I am doing it because I am completely fascinated by old photographs and social history which centres around peoples’ own stories of their lives.

What about your personal work?

I have always worked on projects which relate closely to me. Family, memory and landscape in the widest sense are themes that run through my work.

Where did you train/ develop your work?

About 12 years ago I began to take part-time courses in both Art and Photography at Central st Martin’s, Camberwell School of Art, an the City Lit. I took many courses over a number of years an this enabled me to benefit from the teaching of some of the best photographic printers and artists in London. I am very thankful I was able to do this at a time when such courses were much cheaper! In 2003 when my youngest son started full-time school I trained full-time for a year in Photography at South Thames College. In 2005 I became an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society.

Who inspires/influences you?

There are so many, both photographers and artists, and the list is constantly evolving and changing. I am definitely inspired by the classic photographers of (mainly) the twentieth century, such as Cartier-Bresson,  Dorothea Lange, Paul Strand, Bill Brandt,  Don McCullin, Jane Bown, and Fay Godwin, but also photographers such as William Eggleston. and many other contemporary photographers. Too many to mention! Also, this might sound strange but I think I am influenced by writers as much as by photographers/artists.

What project do you have planned for the future?

I am currently working on a project which is the portrayal of my mother’s garden, and my mother, and my son within it. It is also the place I grew up in. I have always made pictures of this place, but for the past two years am aiming at a cohesive body of work. I currently have edited to 30-40 prints and will be continuing making photographs, editing and printing – probably for as long as the place exists for me (which may not be very long). A small number of these images can be seen at the Open House. I also have ideas for future projects alongside this, one of which is playing more with the idea of past family stories and memories.

What do you like about being an artist living or working in Tooting and Furzedown?

I love having the Common close by as I try to walk on it every day. I find this is essential when you are working alone as it helps the creative process and keep everything in balance! I really appreciate the peace around here and especially the chance to have enough space for my darkroom!

What can people look forward to seeing at the Open House?

There are some prints from the Furzedown Voices Oral History Project on display. These are not for sale but you can buy reproduced postcards.

There is a small selection from my “Garden” series and also a selection of past work, including selenium/sepia/gold-toned work and lith prints.

Why are you taking part in Wandsworth Artists Open House?

When Gillian (Fabric Nation) kindly asked me to join the group at her house I couldn’t refuse! I have become very lazy about showing my work in the last few years and have tended to work in a world of my own. I thought it would be very good for me to share something of what I have been doing in the local community.

Whose work are you looking forward to seeing in the Wandsworth Artists Open House?

Again, too many to mention. I hope I get a chance to see more artists next weekend. It is very exciting to see so much artistic activity so close to hand!

Cate will be at venue number 78.

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Win an original work of art! Lots of fun last weekend

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