In Conversation with photographer Katt Webster

Finn, a black, curious cat, jumped on the couch where I was sitting, ready to start a new conversation about fashion and photography. He smelled my face, as a way to welcome me, and then started wondering around the bright room. Katt Webster is Finn’s owner, and the second artist I decided to portrait for my new series about young women behind a camera.
Katt is a very talented photographer whose style captured me since when I first had a look at her work. The beautiful pastel colours of her images, the harmony of the poses and compositions make her pictures really captivating and pleasant to the eyes.
Katt’s adventure with photography started when she was 16, and she was living in a small village in the surrounding of Oxford. Some fine art and photography courses make her interest in the field grow (one of her teacher was interestingly Norman Parkinson’s nephew!), and she began experimenting with shooting fashion, something that had fascinated her since she was a teenager. She then moved to London and worked for some time as social-media manager before becoming a full time freelance photographer.
Photography can be definitively a difficult path to walk on, sometimes, Katt reckons, but those around you really make the difference. She feels lucky to collaborate and work with emerging designers, brands and creatives. Although a certain luck of communication and the difficulty – sometimes also as a woman – to be recognised and supported can be draining, meeting new people, people to share a passion and an inspiration with, and doing something different everyday make her feel free. And freedom is what gives every artist a reason to live with their art!
We had just finished talking about this when Katt introduced me to Teddy, her youngest adopted cat, only one month, that I decided to photograph with her. Of course, we included also Finn in the session, and had what every creative should have when working: a lot of fun!

I thank Katt very much for her time and for what she shared with me about herself and her work. Do not miss to have a look at her website: https://www.kattwebster.co.uk/, and follow her on Instagram: @kattwebsterphoto. Here below you’ll see also a selection of her beautiful portraits!

©2019 Flavia Catena

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Katt Webster’s photos:

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Beate – A Christmas photo-shoot

“Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.” In Memoriam A. H. H., Alfred, Lord Tennyson

A Christmas photo-shoot done in collaboration with Bianca Elgar, with the beautiful Beate Howitt.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Paula

These are the last portraits I have taken at the end of the summer with the talented and sweet Paula (have a look at her beautiful Instagram @paula_agnes_art). We met in London and walked around Little Venice, which I found so similar to some areas of Oxford that I regularly explore. The weather was still nice and we enjoyed looking at the trees reflected on the water and at the boats where dreaming people live like in small dolls’ houses. It was such a lovely way to spend a morning outdoors!

©2018 Flavia Catena

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Mao and Kalissi

“Before a Cat will condescend
To treat you as a trusted friend,
Some little token of esteem
Is needed, like a dish of cream;
And you might now and then supply
Some caviare, or Strassburg Pie,
Some potted grouse, or salmon paste —
He’s sure to have his personal taste.
(I know a Cat, who makes a habit
Of eating nothing else but rabbit,
And when he’s finished, licks his paws
So’s not to waste the onion sauce.)
A Cat’s entitled to expect
These evidences of respect.
And so in time you reach your aim,
And finally call him by his name.” T.S. Eliot, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

Curious, sweet, adorable, Mao and Kalissi (one is a siamese/ragdoll cat, and the other one a bengal) are some of the most friendly cats I have met while working on this project so far. It was lovely to spend some time with them and her mum Manna, and I believe these photos below speak for themselves about how we enjoyed each others company!

©2018 Flavia Catena

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Big cat and Little cat

“If a fish is the movement of water embodied, given shape, then cat is a diagram and pattern of suble air.” Doris Lessing, On Cats

 

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Today I am happy to introduce you to these beauties: Big cat and Little cat (but they are called in many other different ways!). Harriet, the lady they love so much and from whom they are loved, rescued them years ago – they were living in very bad conditions with their previous owner – and gave them a beautiful home with a garden, in Oxford. Here I got the chance to meet the two, and to watch them happily sunbathing, playing behind the bushes and licking their lips waiting for dinner to be served. Such amazing animals are a joy for the eyes and the heart!

©2018 Flavia Catena

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Love come from rescued cats – Margot, Jerry and Monty

“What greater gift than the love of a cat?”, wrote Charles Dickens, and I truly believe it is hard to find something more special than an affectionate cat. Especially rescued cats can share so much love with their owners that you can feel it as soon as you meet them.
This happened also last week, when I visited Kelly and her two beautiful furry children, Margot and Jerry. They have been together for ten years now, and the three have a very special way to communicate to one another. While Margot is curious but a bit cautious, Jerry is more independent and definitively not interested in photography! It was lovely to see them play and at some point fight – in a gentle funny way – together, and follow their human mum even with a simple look, as to say: “we are waiting for you!”.
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Monty is an adorable twelve years old cat that Karen lovingly took from the street after he was abandoned from his previous owners. He is a very shy but gentle cat, with beautiful yellow eyes and a total black fur. He loves his human mum very much and he makes this clear kissing her and spending almost his entire day by her side. Unfortunately he was not confident enough in front of the camera to show me his unique way to say: “I love you!”. After all, precious things must be kept a bit secret to remain special.
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A huge thanks to Kelly and Karen to share with me these sweet moments!
©2018 Flavia Catena

Cats and their humans – Becky and Lexi

More than one year ago, I decided to start a portrait project about cats and their female owners, being a cat lover myself, and also strongly believing in that sometimes saving bond between humans and pets. I took the first portraits, and then, overwhelmed by commissions, work, and other projects, I had to stop. But I was still looking forward to going back to that series of mine, and now it seems the time has come!

Last week I visited Becky Paton, a very talented artist who makes and successfully exhibits beautiful mosaics (please, have a look at her Instagram page @beckypatonmosaics). She lives with her family in the countryside just outside Oxford, and has a sweet and gorgeous cat named Lexi. He – yes, Lexi is actually a male cat, but the vet found this out too late for his name to be changed, as he really liked it! – was adopted by the family while he was still a fluffy little kitty. Now he is a four years old beautiful feline who loves to cuddle up next to his human mum at night, but also exploring the fields following his hunting instincts. I could see he was just impatient to go out and enjoy the sun, on the day we took the photographs. But I thank him and Becky for posing in front of my camera and sharing with me a bit of their happiness!

©2018 Flavia Catena

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Alisa – Graduation portraits in the snow

You would never think to see such an heavy snow at the beginning of March, when spring starts putting sprouts on branches and flowers on the ground, but yet it happened, and Oxford was covered with a white shining blanket for a few days two weeks ago. Alisa, who travelled with her family from Thailand, had her graduation ceremony in one of those days, but she was very brave to bear the cold and show her lovely smile in all the photos we took! Despite the difficulties, I am happy with the result, as snow definitively added a touch of romanticism to the Oxford landscapes.

©2018 Flavia Catena

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Heather

“In a world that grows more and more rigid, industrialised and concrete-paved every day, the sight of a sunny field teeming with wildflowers can almost feel like something from a fairy tale.”

These are the words that introduce my fashion story “Heather”, published on Whim Online Magazine, and that entirely describe what I felt that day in August, while shooting in those beautiful summer fields in Buckinghamshire. It seemed like to be back in a glorious romantic past and so far from the modern world that for a moment being lost sounded like a new exciting adventure.

Thanks a lot to my beautiful model/stylist and make up artist Martina Sukupova Davidson, and again to Whim Magazine! Here is the published photo-shoot: http://www.whimmagazine.com/2017/10/photoshoot-heather-flavia-catena/

©2017 Flavia Catena

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