Female Film Photographers You Should Know: Catherine Costanzo
Catherine Costanzo is a fantastic analogue photographer from Cleveland, Ohio where she was born and raised. Thanks to her grandfather’s wonderful gift, a Polaroid 600 Land Camera and after taking pictures with it, Catherine found her voice in instant photography. Since then, her work has been focused on documenting everything from more mundane things to beautiful stories represented in unique and unrepeatable Polaroid shots.
♦ How would you introduce yourself to someone who just met you?
Hey there, I’m Catherine, a photographer and lover of all things art. I am currently working in Cleveland, Ohio as a digital designer. I’ve tried all types of cameras to make my art but it was the Polaroid that truly stole my heart. I also really like pizza. Nice to meet you all.
♦ What is the memory that you most fondly remember from your childhood?
When we got our family dog, Peanut. I was 9 years old and at that moment I knew what true happiness really was.
♦ Who were the most influential people during your teens and how did they influence you?
My parents and other family members were always so supportive of me and where ever my interests took me. They gave me the space I needed to grow as well as the confidence to be myself.
♦ How did you get in the world of analogue photography?
One summer, while visiting my grandfather in Arizona he gave me an original Polaroid 660 camera. For years, it sat on a shelf for display. Come January 2018 I discovered it worked and the obsession began.
♦How would you describe the photography you do? What is your work focused on?
For me, shadow and light are incredible performers for my photographic stories. Through photography, I get to write my own tales. A single photograph can tell a two hour story. So when I play with shadows bouncing off buildings and walls it allows me to bring more characters to the scene. When the light hits just right and the shadows fall in place, that scene becomes a whole new realm. It may only be for a moment, but it’s all I need to capture it forever.
♦ Are you working on any photographic project at the moment?
I am all out of project ideas at the moment but I am always taking photos. Those photos usually inspire my projects. Hopefully I will find something cool lurking in my photographic shadows. Stay tuned!
♦ Is there any photographic project that you would like to do but have not done yet?
I would love to make a zine of a collection of my photographs. Although I have been procrastinating creating the zine, it is really important to me to have zines or books out there in the world with my work in them.
♦ Which camera and which film do you use the most in your photography and why?
Mostly, I use the Polaroid Autofocus 660 paired with Polaroid 600 film. I love creating tangible art. But I also love photography. They go so well together! There is no app filter that compares to what happens inside a Polaroid camera. Many environmental conditions and chemical development changes can alter a Polaroid’s photo and that’s why I love the challenge of shooting on that film.
♦ Who are your biggest influences?
I don’t know if anyone is my biggest influence but I do enjoy the music and poetry of Ben Howard, the films of Edgar Wright and Christopher Nolan as well as artists Salvador Dali and M.C. Escher. They all share a creative and extraordinary view on reality. A view that I try my best to be seen in my work.
♦ What’s the best advice you would give yourself when you started in the world of film photography?
Don’t give up! I have made photos that are awful. I have wasted packs of film, loaded 35mm cameras wrong but the more you do it, the more you find yourself and your style. And in turn you meet all the right people.
Find more about Catherine Costanzo’s Work?