"With the current pandemic, I think it's making a lot of people rethink their future because people are having to work from home. I think that's making people think differently about where they'd like to be based."
- Katie Collins
Katie Collins is a freelance press photographer, picture editor, and creates hand-cut collages in Southwest London. She contributes to EMPICS/PA Media and has worked as a press photographer for The Press Association and on the picture desks at the FOX TV Channel, National Geographic Channel and The Daily Telegraph. She has an MA in Photojournalism from the University of Westminster. [katiecollins.co.uk]
What is your definition of studio space?
Somewhere where I have all my tools at hand and a quiet space. I have a desk that I use in our home so I kind of see that as my studio space. Sometimes I move around the house and work in different locations, depending on how I feel. But yeah, for me, it's working at home at the moment.
Because you predominantly from home, I don't know if you have had a look at the communal studio spaces, or what your initial thoughts are on those spaces?
I haven't really investigated renting a studio space for what my needs are currently. I've been working as a freelance press photographer and along with my photography kits, I have my laptop where I do all my editing, I don't need a huge studio space for that. And the kind of photography I'm doing is out and about; what is in the news, or London Fashion Week, for instance. When it comes to my collage I do find that my collection of cuttings and materials are increasingly growing and I almost feel like, I'm running out of space at home.
If I could have a small room where I could lock up my materials and perhaps there’s a small cafe, that would be ideal because I’m not using big canvases and things like that. It’s something that I may investigate in the future, but for now, it’s not something that I need. I have easy access into London from where I’m at in Southwest London.
Do you believe London has an impact on your collages?
Yeah, definitely. I feel hugely inspired living in London.
I grew up on a small island near the beach and that was a wonderful experience. But as I got older, I really felt like I was missing out on things like a decent cinema and being able to see art or photography exhibitions. And that is a real favourite thing of mine to do is to take a morning out or an afternoon out and go and see an art exhibition.
Some of the ones that I've seen over the past year has left me feeling really inspired. I think just by taking that time out of your day to go see an exhibition, can plant a seed of what your next piece might be. And, you know, what my next collage might be. So, yeah, I feel hugely inspired by being in London and what London has to offer.
So then, would you consider moving outside of London?
With the current pandemic, I think it's making a lot of people rethink their future because people are having to work from home. I think that's making people think differently about where they'd like to be based. For us in Southwest London, I have a young family and we do have a little bit of green space. Of course, we'd love to have more space, so it may be something in the future, but I think, for now, it's sort of ticks all the boxes for us.
I do love having culture, on my doorstep, I probably don't use it enough. But the one thing I am looking forward to is going and seeing more exhibitions and going back to the cinema, we have a lovely local cinema, just five minutes walk away. So yeah, I think for now we're not in a hurry.
Do you think it would impact your art if you were to move out?
I think it would probably.
I think with the collage, I'm very inspired by my current surroundings. It might lead to a whole new series of something completely different. If I were to be in the countryside, then I would probably be inspired by what was around me, and that could lead to a new series of art pieces. In terms of the freelance press photography I would be having to work with, with new patches as it were so yeah, I think it would definitely impact.
Is there any way we can ensure artists remain in London?
I think by supporting communities coming together. For instance, like working with councils, working with artists, putting on exhibitions, encouraging artists, and making them feel part of the community. I think by continuing to produce great exhibitions that people want to go and see because that's a big draw for people when they're in London. I know at the moment a lot of galleries have gone online and that's incredible to have the access to that because there's nothing quite like going into an exhibition and spending time looking at the images. I think that's really inspiring.
Do you believe there is a way for artists to collaborate or communicate with developers in London to try to maintain that cultural community it's known for?
I'm just thinking about my local area because there's a lot of new developments going on. And I think it's tricky.
I think working together on making everybody feel part of the community. If developers are looking to create communal spaces for artists to use they should speak to those who would be using it because different artists are going to have different needs. And I think it would be working with them at each stage. Communication is key and opening up the lines of communication so that everybody is informed the whole way along in the process, I think that's the most important thing.