Photographer: Kat Borchart
Stylist: Jardine Hammond
Hair: Giovanni Guiliano at Celestine
Makeup: Christina Guerra at Celestine
Model: Paige Tiziani at No Ties Management
Special Thanks to Jules Newmark at No Ties and Chip Adams at Celestine
We are insanely excited to present the 38th installment of The Handsome Project! This is our first Streets shoot and we could not be happier with the results. Each month we’ll showcase an amazing young photographer who blows our minds, shoots our stuff and is all together fantastic. Read on to see the rest of Kat’s WAH photoshoot and interview…
How did you get to here? (What’s your photographer history?)
I was accidently placed into a Yearbook class my freshman year of high school. It took a few weeks for the teacher to get to the bottom of it, but during that time I picked up as many assignments as possible. 4 years later (as editor-in-chief!) I knew going into editorial was my calling. Layouts, shooting photos and getting background on the subject – I was hooked. I took photography classes during that time too instantly knew that shooting was really the epicentre; it combined little bits of all the things I love about journalism and my strengths in production. I studied at Brooks Institute of Photography and moved back to LA (where I’m originally from) half way through college – commuting between my internship in Huntington Beach and finishing my major in Santa Barbara.
Are you a self-taught photographer or did you have a mentor/teacher that showed you the ropes?
I definitely have a slew of teachers in my past that helped push me forward. Once I started doing internships I had a few mentors there as well that really gave me thick skin and helped me focus on the photo path (turns out there are so many!) that I could take. Then started assisting as well in LA – which I think is the absolute best way to gain experience when you’re fresh out of school.
How did you come up with the concept behind your Handsome Project shoot?
I absolutely love shooting at the beach (during magic hour – duh!) but I wanted to challenge myself (and my partner in crime-Jardine!) to do something a little different with swimwear – style it in with outfits. I really love the glittery lights and fantastic characters on Hollywood & Vine so it made for a great night setting! I had a particular girl in mind to and when Paige breezed into our hearts I knew she was perfect. She’s a true California girl and had the ability to carry the heavily styled look I wanted so effortlessly.
What keeps you enthused in the photography industry?
I’m my own worst critic – I’m always thinking what if I had done this differently or how could this shoot have been better. I’m constantly trying to fill in gaps in my body of work and sort of cover all the bases. I’m also constantly meeting new people and going to new places so that keeps me inspired to continue shooting.
Describe your approach in three words.
Natural, colourful, energetic.
Black & white or colour?
I appreciate a fantastic black and white shot but it removes some of the moment to me that I always love so much. Sometimes I do a shoot with the intention of doing the whole thing in black and white (to this day I’ve only done 1!) but I always come back and am drawn to the colour first.
Do you prefer film or digital? Why?
Digital fits into my work flow the best. It’s inexpensive and fast which are the two most important things to clients. I don’t really shoot film for my personal work, but I have been obsessed with my new…
Fuji Instax 210! Every time I see film somewhere I stock up in a major way – like is going out of stock. For every day use I shoot my Canon 5DMII, but I genuinely love shooting that polaroid simply with the look it gives you, the amazing colour and the freedom the camera gives you with controls.
Describe your photographic approach.
For me everything starts with one thing and then everything sort of falls in around it. Whether it be styling, location, specific person/personality type or lighting, I get the central piece and build everything around it. What the central piece ends up being varies every shoot.
The classics are always great: Herb Ritts, Patrick Demarchelir, Helmet Newton, Mario Testino, Steven Meisel, Richard Avedon. But lately I’m very drawn to a random sprinkling of people: Terry Richardson, Koto Balofo, Tim Barber, Cass Bird, Peggy Sirota, Harri Peccinotti, Ben Watts, just to name a few!
I can’t pick one – it varies so much! I have been vying for Ellen von Unwerth’s book Fräulein for a long time now.
What turns you on?
People who take charge
What turns you off?
Socks with heels
How do you decide on locations & subjects for your shoots?
The locations and subjects seem to run into me somehow in every day life. I’ll see something and be inspired or meet someone new and be instantly drawn in. I’m always keeping a short list of either people I’d love to photograph or places to go.
If you could take your photography in any direction without fear of failure or rejection, where would it lead? What new things would you try?
Commercially I’d love to up my production scale and venture to new locations with my great crew. On the short list is: Tahiti, Japan and Paris. I’d love to eventually relocate to either Japan or Paris and try my hand in a new country for a bit!
Personally one day I’d love to slow my roll and give back in someway with photography. My idea at the moment is to work with animal adoption agencies to photograph pets in a pleasing way to encourage adoption, and help agencies build a network of photographers that can regularly volunteer.
Best advice you’ve ever received.
I try to constantly remind myself of the 10,000 hour rule – where doing 10,000 hours of any given craft really helps you hone your technique and that you can’t always be perfect right out of the gate. I was also told early on that being a photographer is mostly about business, and less time is spent actually shooting so I really tried to shadow the production side of things when I was learning.
What is the one quality you think is needed for a photographer to be great?
Passion. You really need to have a thick skin to be in the industry and nothing will help push you through it better than truly being in love with what you do.
Where to next?
More shooting! I’m constantly trying to push myself in different directions – new locations, new subjects, and new concepts. I’m sure my work will evolve throughout my life so I generally want to hope I can continue to change and roll with everything else that comes along!
We would like to say a HUGE thankyou to Kat and her team for putting together this stunning shoot. The location is wonderful, the model is gorgeous and the whole thing is pulled together with a kind of big city cool that we absolutely adore. If you think Kat’s work is the Bees Knees (as we do!), check out her Blog and Website.