My name is Cat Byrnes. I was born and raised in Kingston, PA. I’m a third generation artist focusing on photography and painting.
Over the last year, 2020, I used my camera as a tool to understand my personal experience. Being a woman using this tool can be powerful. When I’m behind the lens it gives me an opportunity to show how I observe situations and interpret them. It is an instinct and a gut reaction to try to capture space and time. The process of not knowing what will appear is what’s intriguing to me. From the time I take the photo, to when I develop in the studio and unveil the image, is why I use film. Eggleston once said “sometimes you need to just take the photo to see what it looks like as a photo”.
As long as there’s film in my camera, anywhere seems fair game, even when I’m in the bathtub. When I was growing up my family and I would travel back and forth to the city every weekend for my mom’s job. My dad would often take my siblings and I to the Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which started my affinity for art and antiquities. I began to reconnect with my childhood in the city when I went to college in downtown Manhattan. So now I have lived here for nearly a decade, where most of my work is taken on the streets of New York City and Brooklyn. Due to the pandemic my life has recently flipped upside down and I am temporarily in Northeast Pennsylvania. My practice now feels like home. Not in the sense that it brings me financial security or stability, but rather it can reconnect me with the familiar. As long as my camera is with me, it completes my expression. I believe this is my reaction to being uprooted from the city where I developed a visual language and dialogue over time.
Anything seems possible from the moment I open my eyes. I go about my daily errands and my camera is there with me. I create my own journey out of subtle bias based on favorite streets, landmarks or past experiences. I allow myself to wander the streets guided by daydreams and often searching for something. I am on a journey of self discovery through my art, both paintings and photographs.
My photographs form webs to help guide my memory like mycelium mushrooms. It’s my way of trying to understand the world in which I live and how I see myself within it. Being a street photographer opens the door to possibilities and situations I wouldn’t normally experience. I believe that being honest to myself will reflect in my artwork. I am present within each photo and I invite the viewer to be a part of my vision.