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Women Making History: Marley Kate

Fashion photographer Marley Kate graduated from NYU, and went on to study photography at the School of Visual Arts. Her luscious style has been seen in Nylon and Vice magazines. Her images capture such personality and mood; an intimate, sometimes hardened but always playful look at youth culture and fashion. She talked to us about finding inspiration in her native NYC and making her way in the industry…

What woman, besides your mom or grandmother, do you find inspirational?

I am completely inspired by my mother, so this is a hard question to answer and not talk about her… I don’t really find any celebrity women “inspirational,” aside from some fashion inspiration here and there. The women around me who are doing their thing, working and being successful at what they love to do, those are the people I really find to be inspirational. My best friend and mentor, Samantha Moeller (creator of Missbehave magazine) is a hugely inspirational woman in my life. She is a woman who knows how to take charge, doesn’t take bullshit, and accomplishes what she puts her mind to- whether it’s having her own clothing store, creating a fucking awesome magazine, or raising 2 kids and being a wife, she is constantly inspiring me.

How did you get your start as a fashion photographer?

I loved photography and fashion since I was little. I started off taking a black and white photo class when I was about 12, and just kept shooting since then. I started off with internships in photo departments of magazines, and fashion PR offices. My first internship was with the photo editor of The Source magazine, I was about 15. When I got older, I decided I wanted to be the one taking the pictures. I started busting my ass, setting up photo shoots with friends, and other people just starting out. I was interning at Missbehave mag, which also was a huge help- Brooke Nipar was the photo editor, and helped teach me a lot about photography and the business.

Where does your interest in fashion come from?

My interest in fashion comes from my Mom. She knows more about fashion and music than anyone I know, and has amazing style. Her love and appreciation for fashion was definitely passed down to me at an early age. My favorite things I have now are hand me downs from her.

You’re a native NY-er, has that influenced the way you take photos?

NYC has definitely inspired me as a photographer. I feel really lucky to have grown up in New York, the energy of this city is something I’ve felt my whole life. I grew up in the best city in the world, and probably a lot faster than other kids, I was going to raves by the time I was 13, and running around the city like I owned it. That fun, carefree, youthful, but gritty and sexy feeling is exactly what I try to capture in my work- it comes from what I know.

What kind of camera do you shoot with?

Right now I mostly shoot digital, with the Canon 5D Mark II. If the shoot is something I really am excited and inspired about, I’ll shoot film as well. I like using my Yashica, and Contax G2- that’s my favorite film camera… Always 35mm. I shoot polaroids too, mostly the Fuji Instax camera.

What’s your favorite photograph/campaign/project that you’ve worked on?

There have been so many shoots I love… it’s hard to pick. I just got back from shooting the X-girl campaign in Venice Beach, California. That was awesome- I love Venice. We got to pretty much hang out all day, shooting girls on the beach and boardwalk. I love shooting on location, those are probably my favorite shoots.

What brands do you want to work with?  Any celebrities that you’d love to photograph?

I am kind of dying to shoot Iggy Azalea… hoping that can work out… I think Daisy Lowe is super hot, I’d love to shoot her… Abby Lee Kershaw is one of my favorite models right now, so that would be amazing… There are so many people I want to shoot, the list goes on.

What part of taking photos is the most challenging and do you dislike the most?

Freelancing is fun, but it isn’t easy… I have to hustle like crazy and find my next job when it doesn’t quickly come to me. It’s fun and exciting, but it is also a challenge; it is not for the unmotivated or lazy.

Any advice for ladies who are just starting out in a career path in fashion photography?

My advice would be to just not be discouraged! Don’t get lazy! Hustle! There’s always someone right behind you, working their ass off – let it be your motivation. And shoot – as much as possible.

Check out her work:

More on Marley Kate on her website.
Keep up with her on Twitter and her blog, too!

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