For the first interview on my blog I'm featuring retoucher Catherine Day. I've 'internet known' Catherine for about 5 years, and her work continues to inspire me and she was the first person that popped into my head when I decided I wanted to feature interviews on my blog. My aim with featuring interviews is to help gain insight into other elements of the photographic and fashion industries, so I hope you find them as fascinating as I do!
So, what do you do?
I'm a retoucher. A pixel polisher if you will! I specialise in fashion and beauty but I also retouch products, e-commerce and occasionally portraits and weddings.
Best thing about your job?
That's a tough one to answer. Retouching is my dream job, I'm one of those lucky sods who get to do what they always dreamed they would do...but I guess that just the fact I get to do it doesn't count!
I think the best thing would be getting to play with pixels all day long; all the endless opportunities. Every day brings something new and I never know what images are waiting for me when I open my emails. Will it be colourful macro beauty? Dark and moody black and white fashion? Brightly lit e-commerce? Will this image require a lot of compositing? Will it require any colours to be changed? I get to open these images and see them for the first time and envision what they can become. I find that exciting and so much fun!
Worst thing about your job?
Learning to have the right balance of work/personal life. I've been doing this on a self employed basis for 8 years now and still find it hard to shut the work part of my brain off! When your place of work is your home it can be difficult to switch off and relax with your partner/friends/family when there's a machine upstairs containing deadlines. The commute isn't bad though...
What are your weapons of choice?
My trusty Wacom tablet! I'd be lost without that baby.
If you could clarify one misconception about what you do, what would it be?
I don't retouch women to give them tiny waists, huge boobs and airbrushed skin. That's not what retouching is about. Every time a comment like that is mentioned it makes me roll my eyes so hard I'm scared my eyeballs may get stuck.
Favourite piece of your own work
This was incredibly difficult! I decided on one from one of my own shoots, in fact it's one of the last shoots I did. It was such a fantastic collaboration of people, and 3 years later I still love the photos. Any photographer will know how rare that is!
Photography and Retouching: Catherine Day
Model: Amber Tutton
Neckpiece: Patrick Ian Hartley
Makeup Artist: Shell Crosswell
Hair Stylist: Jodie Austen
What/when did you realise this was the job for you?
I remember the moment very clearly; I was standing in the Photography classroom in College when I was 17. I had just finished a lesson on Photoshop and I asked my Photography tutor if there was a job that consists solely of just using Photoshop. He told me vaguely about retouching and from then on I was dead set on becoming a photographer and retoucher. I have to thank Colin Cook and the late Mike Knifton for helping me realise what I wanted to do!
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to be a retoucher/photographer?
Don't just sit there thinking about how much you want to do it; pick up a camera or a copy of Photoshop and start doing it! If there's a particular thing you want to learn to do, try and figure out how to do it yourself, keep practising and find out what works for you.
What do you do in your spare time?
I've only recently discovered spare time, so I'm still getting the hang of it! I'm a bit of a hermit, so I spend a lot of my time being a bookworm, curling up with blankets and cushions watching movies with my partner, or having fun with home decoration and interior design. Though a large chunk of my spare time gets spent on the beach; I'm lucky enough to live on the coast, and have a very energetic (crazy) labrador who just loves to swim in the sea! So daily walks on the beach are a must. How very cliché...