“Making Love to Business and Politics” is a politically driven and topical photography exhibit being hosted by the Homer Council on the Arts. The thought-provoking photography is the work of Homer’s own Kate Henry. While her work often plays with the abstract as well as the political, Henry draws inspiration from grounded and relatable sources.
Henry, who is 34, has a lifelong interest in photography. Before she had ever pointed a camera at a subject, she remembers admiring wildlife magazines as a child.
“I have loved it since I was a kid. I used to look at National Geographic and I studied the images for days,” Henry said.
Growing up in a family that valued practicality, Henry did not dive into her hobby or talents until she received her first camera in high school. As talented as she is, Henry did not study at a film or photography school.
Rather, she developed her skills on her own, cultivating talent and allowing it to grow as she learned. Forgoing the formal and technical training, she relies less on light meters and more on her instincts, creating “from the heart.”
“For me that was a voice that needed to be brought out. And I’m not that eloquent a speaker, so it was [a] feeling like I could speak through imagery. Which was fun, because I feel I can say a lot,” she said in a recent interview.
Indeed, it is from the heart that Henry’s inspiration flows. Her show, “Making Love to Business and Politics” is a collection of photography that reflects her views on society and politics.
“I love nature photography but I’m very politically driven,” she said.
Henry’s work is abstract and topical, reflecting her perspective of the world around her — portraits of a displaced businessman carrying the world in his gut or the earth strung precariously from a lamp deep in the woods. With her photography, Henry hopes to address the disparity between the wealthy and the lower to middle class.
“I see so much poverty in the lower and middle class. … And it’s really sad to me. I see people taking of those who are just trying to live their lives and be good citizens. It saddens me, it really does,” she said.
Henry’s worldview shifted in a monumental way when her son, River, was born eight years ago. For Henry, becoming a mother changed her in a powerful way, forcing her to re-evaluate what was important.
“I realized that it’s not just about what we have now, or what I have now, but about what I’m going to leave behind for them. Being a mother is an enormous reason why I do what I do,” she said.
Henry’s two children — she also has a daughter Ayda, 5 — serve as her muses. Already politically motivated and outspoken through her work, her campaign of topical relevance bears a different weight now that it reflects on the future of her children.
“Having children made me think about why I’m here and how I want to contribute, as opposed to just existing,” she said.
Henry’s “Making Love to Business and Politics,” on display at the Homer Council on the Arts on Pioneer Avenue, shares the spotlight with the work of photographer Patti Prince, 61, Henry’s mother-in-law. Henry credits her mother-in-law as a driving force in her work, and thanks her for providing encouragement to pursue her art.
The show is thought provoking, political. It discusses loud, earth-changing ideas and massive shifts in perspective. But the source of the message remains small, grounded and real. The motive behind the message here is a question all parents ask themselves: What will I leave behind for my children?
Fermin Martinez is a writer living in Homer.