Cathy Ronalds | Mentee in focus

Cathy Ronalds | Mentee in focus

Cathy attended our 12 Month Photography Mentorship Program in 2019. We speak to Cathy about her photographic practice and journey.

How long have you been photographing?
22 years.

When did you fall in love with photography?
As a teen - my Poppa toted his 35mm camera everywhere and I wished I had tools like his to freeze light when I was out in wild places. My camera connects me with people, to tell their stories. It helps me express my deep love for the Australian landscape. 

I like painting and drawing - but they feel so slow!

What was your first camera
An entry level Nikon SLR (analog) that a friend and I bought for our trip to Nepal/India, 1998. I took a lucky portrait of a Nepalese girl on that trip (and loads of crap photos) and was hooked. 

Tell us about your personal practice
I'm a portrait photographer. Honesty is really important in my work - genre labels not so much. Portrait photography gets me out of my head to connect with people - it gives me a high.
I'm working on a series about what contemporary femininity means. It's a portrait and landscape series. I'm using mostly medium format - analog has helped me be clear about what I'm saying. My favourite camera is an old Rolleiflex SL66 - it's cantankerous and jams every few rolls, but I love her!

What drives this?
I've been a people watcher since I was kid. Regular bouts of anxiety and depression have made me empathetic. People open up to me and I find it easy to relate. I've been curious about femininity since my teens, for various reasons. eg. feeling I didn't fit society's or my family's view of it; struggles with fertility; and finding my own way being a Mum. 

What type of work are you available for?
Making portraits with women and projects with artists. I also do lots of commercial work with businesses, head shots, portraits and weddings and family photography. 

What did you gain most from the mentorship ?
Paul, Morganna and Stephanie were very honest and showed me parts of my work that I was blind to. My work has shifted gear as a result - I'm clearer about I want to say. I'm using new tools. eg. journalling and switching back to analog. I learned loads watching classmates progress their work, too. 
What can we expect to see from you in 2020?
I have two shows coming up - Loud & Luminous exhibition at Contact Sheet, Sydney (April) and our 13 mentorship group show in May/June. I'll be very busy continuing work with new women to shoot for my series.