Female Film Photographers You Should Know: Catalina Cea

8 February, 2021

Catalina Cea is an analogue experimental photographer born and based in Chile and a member of Cooperativa Atkins, a collective entity of Chilean female photographers, dedicated to experimental photography processes. Her work consists in documenting her intimacy, seeking the possibility of transmitting all the feelings Catalina has towards the world around us.

How would you introduce yourself to someone who just met you?

I am Catalina Cea, 24 years old. I’m a designer and analogue -experimental photographer. I live in Región de Valparaíso, Chile. I’m a member of Cooperativa Atkins, a collective entity of Chilean female photographers, dedicated to experimental photography processes.

What is the memory that you most fondly remember from your childhood?

The best memories I have are the moments I spent with my pets, dogs, cats and hamsters. They always filled me with love and joy. 

Who were the most influential people during your teens and how did they influence you?

The most influential people were my arts teacher from the school. An ex-boyfriend from my teens, who always encouraged me to do paintings and analog photography and my friend José, with whom I share my love and appreciation for painting. 

How did you get in the world of analogue photography?

 The first roll I shot was using the Lomography ActionSampler camera with a friend, the first thing I learned was rewinding the film before opening the camera, as I ruined many films in my early experiences. The second film I shot was using the Zenit EM camera, but I was having trouble with focusing so I changed it for a Canon A1 camera. I made all kinds of experiments with that camera, like my first redscale film, double exposures, black and white amongst other things. 

How would you describe the photography you do? What is your work focused on?

My photographic work consists primarily in documenting my intimacy. Loneliness, longing, and myself are things that I always like to portray. I also love taking photographs of isolated places, building interiors, as well as natural and urban landscapes. I seek in these things the possibility of transmit all my feelings I have towards the world around us. I admit that darkness could be also is the main characteristic in my images.

That’s why I consider that through analogue photography and through different photochemical processes, especially cyanotype are the means in which I find my own voice. It is fundamental to take control of the process of image construction, and exploring diverse kinds of methods.

I absolutely love developing my own films, I have experimented with many film developing processes such as black and white, C41 and ECN-2 process as well as printing my work in a darkroom. 

Are you working on any photographic project at the moment? 

I love working with natural materials since the opportunity they offer you when it comes to experimenting is endless. I have studied for several years the chemical tonings used in cyanotype and now I’m working on it constantly and seriously. Also, during this summer (Southern hemisphere) I explored with Anthotype and chlorophyll print process, using different kinds of plants and taking advantage of the radiant summer sun in Chile

Is there any photographic project that you would like to do but have not done yet?

I would love to make a photobook of intimate photography using historical and alternative processes and perhaps using even textiles as well. However, I would like to have the contents of the work clearer before doing anything.

Which camera and which film do you use the most in your photography and why?

I currently use my Nikon FM, an SLR camera that adapts very well to my needs. While I really like shooting colour films and experimenting with them, the past two years I have been shooting with batches of Fortepan 400, an expired black and white film.

I have also been developing my films completely neglecting any methodical process in order to reflect in my images my emotional state of that moment. But other than that, I have been using Ilford, Kodak Color Plus and Fuji C200. To be honest I would like to someday been able to afford better quality films, like Kodak Portra 400 or unusual of Lomography films but I guess that it’s a matter of time.

Who are your biggest influences?

That’s a difficult question! I would say one of my biggest influences is the Canadian post-rock band Godspeed You! Black Emperor. This band transmits through an endless number of sounds different sensations that I translate them into visual textures in my mind. Also, I love the cover pages made by Karl Lemieux, I think he resembles every trait of their music.

Twin Peaks is one of my favourite pieces of art, since through different symbolisms they manage to deliver an unmatched atmosphere of the plot and of the story in general.

In general, I admire different artists from writers, musicians, filmmakers, to photographers. I like to try to understand their ways of working from different points of view to understand their art work bette, which it’s what I always try to apply in my photography.

What’s the best advice you would give yourself when you started in the world of film photography?

I would have prompted me to stop using the camera’s automatic mode or the photometer, I think that caused a kind of stagnation in my learning. Reading more photobooks and knowing great photographers would have been pretty useful too, because my primary source of influences were Tumblr photos in my teens.


Find more about Catalina Cea’s Work?

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ccattiuss