Our ninety third interview in this series of intimate interviews is with talented mobile photographer and artist Kathryn Garkut from from The Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia. You may know her from her Instagram account @one_two_bucklemyshoe. This interview provides highly readable and relatable text whilst simultaneously dazzling us with intriguing photography. Enjoy.
To read the other published interviews in this series including artists, Adria Ellis, Rino Rossi, Mehmet Duyulmus, Alexis Rotella, Lou Ann Sanford Donahue, Irene Oleksiuk, Kerry Mitchell, Filiz Ak, Dale Botha, M. Cecilia Sao Thiago, Deborah McMillion, Rita Colantonio, Amy Ecenbarger, Jane Schultz, Anca Balaj, Joyce Harkin, Armineh Hovanesian, Kate Zari Roberts, Vicki Cooper, Peter Wilkin, Barbara Braman, Becky Menzies, Sukru Mehmet Omur, Sarah Bichachi, Michel Pretterklieber, Alon Goldsmith, Judy Lurie Wahlberg, Andrea Bigiarini, Sean Hayes, Oola Cristina, Kathleen Magner-Rios Linda Toki, Deb Field, Emilo Nadales, Lydia Cassatt, David Hayes, Jean Hutter, Frederic Deschênes, Mark Schnidman, Fatma Korkut, Fleur Schim, Rob Pearson-Wright, Dieter Gaebel, James Ellis, Marco P Prado, Jeronimo Sanz, Manuela Matos Monteiro, Bleu Chemiko, Manuela Basaldella, Stefania Piccioni, Luis Rodríguez, Marilisa Andriani (@mitrydate) Mayte Balcells (@artofmayte), Nicole Christophe, Jennifer Graham, Cathrine HalsørPaul Toussaint, Carol Wiebe, Julie Denning, Kim Clayton (@berleyart), Karen Messick, Serap Utaş, MaryJane Rosenfeld, Paul Suciu, Susan Latty (@pause.and.breathe),John Nieto, Phyllis Shenny, Joy Barry, Max Lies Derdonk, Rita Tipunina, Violet Martins, Nizzar Ben Chekroune, Lynette Sheppard, Paul-Andre Hamel, Rejane Rubino, Susan Detroy, Rosalie Heller, Wayman Stairs, Cintia Malhotra, Anita Elle, Juta Jazz, Cheryl Tarrant, Hanni König Kaoru Shintaku David Gilbert Jana Curcio, Mary Lorincz Amado Ergana, Francesco Sambati, Philip Parsons and myself, go here.
What was your earliest childhood ambition?
I was intent on being good. Very, very good! I was here to save the world. I was entranced by stories an I fervently believed in magic. I spent most of my time practicing swishing a cape, adjusting my wings, brandishing a wand while searching for sparkly red slippers looking for the land of Oz.
I was a dreamy kid which sent most teachers into red-faced paroxysms. I also had an undiagnosed learning disorder. (It was the 70s). As a result school was torture. The teachers didn’t know what to do with me so they put me in with the ‘English Second Language’ kids where I spent my time playing with paint colours and falling in love with the long-lashed eyes of Luigi.
In my first year of high school something clicked and I was able to pull myself out of the remedial classes and into the advanced. I received the Endeavour Award and an award for poetry.
I remember being called to the Principal’s office before the assembly and was terrified, thinking I had fried yet another teacher.
Washing up for a neighbour who held large and lavish dinner parties. I loved it. The house was full of art and the left-overs were delicious.
Private or State school?
Both: A Catholic Primary, a State High School and a Catholic Senior School. Both Catholic schools were poor, the State School was well equipped and offered much more.
University or Work?
Both – I went to Nursing School. In the days when it was similar to an apprenticeship – working and studying and receiving a small wage. I loved the independence and the privilege of witnessing humanity in all it’s guises.
I desperately wanted to go to Art School but it was not an option.
Who was or is still your mentor?
My husband and daughters. They make up for the encouragement I lacked during my early school years.
How physically fit are you?
Fitness was once a big part of my life. I wasn’t an athlete but I loved moving regularly. These days I’m the opposite of fit as I have an auto- immune inflammatory condition. When I was first diagnosed I was able to keep a reasonable level of fitness but the last few years I seem to conjure flares when I become over-tired. My most recent flare was brought on by a gentle Aqua Aerobics class for the over 60s!
These days I’m happy if I get out for a gentle walk. I have found it hard to adjust to this reality but I would not have discovered photography without it. My diagnosis and interest in photography coincided. Instagram is a big comfort when I’m incapacitated.
There are many, many, many people worse off than me, my condition is humbling but it also reminds me how lucky I am.
Ambition or talent: What matters more to success?
The missing ingredient to this equation is opportunity. Every human is creative, it is the hallmark of our species but if opportunity doesn’t knock, success is much harder to come by. Success is one of those concepts that is in the eye of the beholder. One person’s success may be another person’s failure.
The following quote from Matt Haig has helped me understand that we are not our successes or our failures. We are not our jobs, our outward appearance, our dis/abilities.
“Beware of the gap. The gap between where you are and where you want to be. Simply thinking of the gap widens it and you end up falling through.”
How politically committed are you?
I try to keep informed and to read opposing views. To get out of my echo-chamber in order to understand. (I often fail to understand). It is a privilege to vote so I try to do it responsibly.
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
I have everything I’ve ever wanted. A loving family, a little library.
(Although I wouldn’t mind Mary Poppins’ umbrella and carpet bag).
What’s your biggest extravagance?
Books and coffee and green apples.
In what places are you happiest?
At home in our garden, reading, walking in nature with my husband and / or children.
What ambitions do you still have?
To keep learning, reading, understanding human nature and therefore myself. To write a little and make pictures everyday.
To be the best wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend I can be.
What drives you on?
Love. The beauty of the natural world. Creativity and curiosity.
What is the greatest achievement in your life so far?
Without a doubt my daughters. They are kind and brave and see below the surface of things.
What do you find most irritating in other people?
The trend towards populism; the blame culture, the lack of empathy, the self righteousness – it terrifies me.
If your 20 year old self could see you now, what would he think?
She would be surprised at first then content and would wonder why she worries so much.
Which object that you’ve lost do you wish you’d still had?
My beloved Grandmother gave me a signet ring when I turned 13. I lost it when I was 30ish while skimming stones across a river. My Nan was a farm girl and grew up by a river on the edge of the outback and I like to think she would approve of it’s final resting place.
What is the greatest challenge of our time?
The environment and the rise of populism. I often think the best thing for our planet would be our our extinction. Maybe blowing ourselves up won’t be a disaster after-all.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
I want to but I don’t. I would love nothing better than to reunite with loved ones.
I do find comfort in the idea of returning to the earth and becoming part of nature. We are after all, nature in all it’s glory.
If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?
Right this minute, it is 9:9. I have a soft cat in my lap, a cup of coffee and books at my elbow with my lovely husband by my side.
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