Kate Orne

I first became aware of Kate Orne’s photographs when she won the Berenice Abbott Prize for her work with sex trade workers in Pakistan. The series, Brothels and Fundamentalism, captured poignant and powerful images of women trapped in a lifestyle of abuse and fear was deeply felt and appreciated.

Kate is a unique voice in the photography world. She is an editorial and fashion photographer (see image below), a documentary photographer, a fine art photographer, and a humanitarian. In 2002, she created MyFarAwayFamily.com, an organization providing Afghan refugee children with education and their widowed mothers with micro loans and guidance to start their own businesses. Provided food distributions in Kabul and Peshawar among refugees. And she’s one hell of a nice person.

Kate was born in Sweden, and now lives in New York City. One of her first jobs was as an editor for Interview Magazine, but by the mid 1990’s Kate was busy working in all areas of the photo landscape. And within that landscape, she has created a new body of fine art work that is just about that: landscape, but landscape as meditation and inspiration.

The Landscape With: As far back as I can remember, I have been drawn to the wide-open landscape: a canvas of land, water or sky where I feel expansion within and around me. In that setting, my mind is free.

Over the years, I have frequently returned to the landscape, on assignment and for personal work. I’m rarely shooting in a place where there are people – I don’t want them interrupting the pull of natural elements. As I look through the viewfinder, I wait. A shadow, a shape, or some interplay or tension between forms, sparks my curiosity, calling for attention. This is a starting point.

To me art is a form of meditation. In the time when we create, we travel inward. When I photograph, I want to include as much of what is there as possible—both what I can see and feel. My intuition guides the process – a secret language within me, which I regard as the most valuable measurement of honesty. This is what my heart sees.

The feelings that I experience are powerful and the image afterwards brings me back to them. It’s often during the edit, when I look closely at a photograph, that I see what in the landscape captured my attention.

I want it to be the same for the viewers, for them to feel free and have their minds and hearts expand when they rest their eyes on an image. This is why I prefer my work printed on a larger scale, creating a space that invites the viewer inside.