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Meet Cathy Immordino

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cathy Immordino.

Cathy, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I began photographing when my mother gave me a Polaroid camera. I was 5 years old. I loved how instant seeing the end result was. I remember photographing everything. My parents called me a film waster. The beginning was slightly more complicated as I was bedridden in a body cast post-car accident. I discovered that by “wasting” film, I could draw attention to things often over-looked around us all.

I never really considered photography as a career until the Writer’s Guild strike in 2008. Before then I was an actress. During the strike, I took a side job as a nightlife photographer with a company called Napkin Nights. I would club hop 5-7 nights a week and photograph people and events around the nightclub scene.

From raves between the Coliseum in downtown to all the way out in San Bernardino and Riverside and ever luxury mansion charity parties in Holmby Hills. I really enjoyed this chapter in my life. I ever discovered the regulars of the nightlife in Los Angeles. The reason I stopped photographing the nightlife club scene had a lot to do with a few people I photographed at events one week were dead and in the news the shortly after.

When I stopped being a nightlife photographer, I decided to further my education as a photographer. I earned a BFA in fine art photography from the Academy of Arts University. Since graduation, I have been a lead mentor for new photography students in addition to being an international, award-winning artist.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road is never smooth. It reminds me of the roads in Silver Lake near the reservoir, where there are noticeable cracks with patching. I picture my artistic career as something of a worn road that many fine artists have traveled down before.

For a visual, I would imagine driving from my house in Silver Lake, going down the hill with your brakes on, slamming the brakes as to not hit a coyote or skunk at the bottom of the hill as I make my way over to Riverside Dr to avoid the express lane to Downtown L.A. Maybe you know this or maybe you do not, but there are a lot of distractions on Riverside. Frogtown and the L.A. River are very poetic to me. I often find myself exploring the side roads as a slight detour from my focus.

My artist career is the same way. I moved out to Los Angeles from the suburbs of Memphis to pursue a music career. Medical issues led me to work as an actress. I stuck with it until I realized I was portraying someone else’s voice, not my own. I worked as a photographer. I learned one day in a workshop taught by Aline Smithson that I could have my own voice as a photographer, that it wasn’t all about documenting the world as it is. A road is not a road. It is a much deeper metaphor.

I feel like I might have vaguely answered the question here. My real struggle for my career was feeling that my vision and my voice were not worthy. This year is when I have noticed a shift in my work being accepted. My struggle was finding the right people who understand my work.

Cathy Immordino – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My business is being a fine art photographer. I build photomontages, photo collages, photograph National Parks, people and events, and teach pinhole and cyanotype photography workshops. I also edit and sequence other photographers work, print their projects on my Canon printers, mentor, coach, and make custom 3D reductive laser prints. I specialize in fine art photography. I am known for my photomontages in gilded, antique frames.

I am most proud of having my own voice and not following a particular trend in fine art photography. What sets my work apart from others is the poetic narratives behind each piece of photographic art. All of my work revolves around what the story is in the photo.

In a way, it is as though I am writing a scene for each photo within a series or movie. My previous ventures in music and acting sets me apart from photographers who only know about photography and/or art history. My work encompasses all senses of the arts. This is what sets me apart.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The proudest moment of my career was when I co-founded the Shed Collective L.A. and transformed a good portion of my house and backyard into exhibition space for not only my own work but also other featured artists. The Shed Collective is a group of non-typical art galleries located on private properties. Our point of existence is to provide a more intimate art viewing experience without the stress of gallery sales.

The reason The Shed Collective is my proudest moment is because it began as a joke between Kristine Shoemaker, Diane Williams, Sheli Silverio, and myself. We just couldn’t stop laughing at the idea of calling an open patch of dirt the perimeter gallery and featuring artists in random closets, sheds, huts, or dollhouses inside our homes. It went beyond being our pure amusement when we actually followed through with regular programming. It all comes down to building community and strengthening artistic relationships.

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Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Nathalie Tierce

    July 25, 2018 at 00:20

    Great article, learned a lot about Cathy I didn’t know before. It gives a me a deeper insight into her work.

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