Katy Sims is a Creative Londoner with a sharp photographic-artistic vision. Her work questions the boundaries between photography, fashion and visual art.
We meet on the Southbank – a hub of entertainment and culture in the city’s centre. With the area’s stark walls and harsh modernist architecture, it is one of Katy Sims’s favourite spots for photo shoots.
Incorporating subtle elements of fashion representation, Katy Sims’s basis is in the art of the picture. Her photographs bring together stylists and make-up artists, but make an experimental, even expressionistic, twist.
Her interest in photography began with everyday objects. Getting her first camera at the age of 16, Katy Sims found a new way to look at everyday objects and surfaces around the house, landscapes around the beautiful Somerset countryside, holidays along the British south coast. A fascination with found objects led her to wonder how she could incorporate them into her work.
Her time spent at London College of Fashion sharpened her artistic and aesthetic concerns. She began to develop a new ideas to combine her interests.
Creative Londoners: What was the most valuable experience you took away from London College of Fashion?
Katy Sims: I had a turning point when I stopped trying to the visualise images before I made them. Whereas before I would have an image in mind, I soon realised how limiting that was on my creativity.
In a craft shop, she found a few materials that excited her photographic imagination, such as silver reflective paper and rough-textured paper. Just like she had done with the objects she found around her house in her younger years, Katy Sims began incorporating found materials into her work by using them as overlays, adding an extra dimension to her representation of fashion.
Soon enough, models’ distortions would become the subject of her photographs; their bodies would be reflected with shiny, rippled paper and their image obscured by intruding layers.
Natural light has become a key component in her work, allowing her to reach the slower shutter speeds necessary for dream-like effects. Her shoots take place at various outdoor locations around London.
While carrying out her investigations, Katy Sims began to notice a very poignant aspect about visual culture. When we take photographs of ourselves, we never show the truth. It is always a representation, a manipulated version of reality, that is presented.
Creative Londoners: What’s the underlying message in your photographic work?
Katy Sims: I’m interested in perception – especially the difference between how we see ourselves, how others see us and how it actually is. I think that can be hard to show with straightforward, focused images.
When we present ourselves as stories on Instagram, we do not show our full selves. It’s a manipulated version. We just show the highlights.
Creative Londoners: How do you try to convey this theme in your work?
Katy Sims: Some of my shoots have dipped into the emotion of loneliness, and the mask of trying to be perfect. These are common feelings, but they’re not often spoken about openly. I photographed two females alone and then together. When they were together, I conveyed them as disconnected from each other and their surroundings. I then portrayed them as trying to reach out when they were separated. I wanted them to look as if they were focused on presenting a particular image when they were together. But that’s exactly where my materials come in: I want to blur the representation of reality.
You can follow Katy Sims’s work on her website katysims.com.