Katherine Maxwell is a New York-based choreographer and founder of the contemporary movement initiative Hivewild. While her work focuses on listening to internal triggers in the human body to create movement-based artwork, the passionate film photographer in her challenges her to change to the outside perspective. On Lomography B&W Film, Katherine explores her own work through a new medium, freezing her dancers' movements and playing with light and shadow.
Welcome to the Lomography Magazine, Katherine! Please introduce yourself and your work to our community real quick.
Greetings Lomo Community! Thank you for the interview!
I’m Katherine Maxwell, an independent choreographer, dancer and the founding Artistic Director of Hivewild. My creative intentions and movement making sprouts from the use of imagined triggers such as delicious flavors, emotions, and sensations on the flesh. I believe that all humans are inextricably interconnected. And frequently daydream about how can we learn to acknowledge the contingent nature of human life, and affect it for the better.
Can you tell us a little bit about your vision for Hivewild?
I founded Hivewid as a platform to present original works, more deeply connect with our New York community, and most importantly to pay our team of collaborating artists- dancers, musicians, photographers, designers, etc- for their work.
Your work is all about movement. How does that translate to still photography for you?
Great question! Honestly, the experience of witnessing movement in-person versus with still photography feels quite different. As the dancers are moving through actions and sensations, I find it incredibly informative to capture ephemeral moments. The work seems to frequently find new meaning when captured in a photo.
It says on Hivewild’s website that genuine impulse and internal triggers are of significance for your choreographies. Do these spontaneous aspects play a role in your photography as well or are you much more of a planner when it comes to composing images?
Funnily enough- I think I’m much more of a planner when it comes to making movements. With choreography, I find myself editing and frequently rearranging actions with my dancers. Since I don’t work in sequential order, I generate pieces of choreographed information and as the work develops I weave those pieces together over time finding a through-line.
With photography, I’m actually inclined to be less precious. Specifically shooting on film, I can’t really edit as I do with dance making. Time- in the sense of weeks or months- isn’t really applicable when shooting film. So although the photos are permanent and the movements are not, shooting images somehow liberates me from the idea of perfectionism that I negotiate within making choreographed works.
The process of shooting on film feels like a compliment rather than a repetition of my process working with bodies.
You photographed your dancers with two of our film stocks, the Lomography Earl Grey 100 Film and the new B&W 400 Berlin Kino Film, playing with hard contrasts and soft focus in direct natural light. What was your vision for this specific shoot and how did you like the results?
Yes! I shot both films on my Pentax Asahi. I was really interested in playing with shadows and the effect this would have on the tone of the movement when captured.
I am very pleased. I especially love the moody shadows that were created with the Earl Grey 100 ISO.
What do you like about Black and White Photography specifically?
B&W allows for more play with light. Without color, I can manipulate the viewer’s perception to focus on a particular place based on light. It’s fun to see how that can affect perspective. Also, since our inception, Hivewild has mostly been captured in black & white- this is thanks to my dear friend and photographer, Travis Emery Hackett. I believe we both found it created a special aura around the work as the b&w images neutralized the inconsistencies of capturing dance in different locations, times, and wardrobe.
Any advice for people shooting this film for the first time?
It certainly takes patience to figure out the personality of each camera and different film stocks. So, enjoy the process of experimenting and learning. Feel okay with opening yourself up to making mistakes. Every image does not have to be- and will not be a masterpiece.
And honestly, just have fun with it!
Last but not least: What's on the schedule for Hivewild for the rest of the year? Let us know where we can go see your work IRL.
Hivewild has an exciting schedule for the remainder of the year!
Here is a list of our upcoming events:
August 31, 8-10 PM: a billowing, powdered moon
A public performance curated by create:ART at the Ace Hotel New York (20 W 29th St)
Free & open to the public
September 15: Hivewild’s Annual Benefit 2019, NYC
September 21, 4-6 PM: Hivewild at the Kingsland Wildflowers Fall Festival
Free & open to the public
November 15: Hivewild x SPIN Ping Pong Players Night
SPIN New York 23
December 12-14: PRISM
A new work by Katherine Maxwell with collaborating artists Wardell Milan and Rowan Spencer
The Center for Performance Research, Brooklyn