That being said, I am so excited to introduce Kate Capato of Visual Grace to you today! She and I have both worked for the same organization, though not at the same time, and have a handful of friends in common though we haven't met face to face. Truly, everything about Kate's work exudes authenticity and the Theology of the Body; this girl deeply, deeply pursues and understands our unity of body and soul and the heart's ache for beauty. Through painting, dance, and photography, she strives, through Visual Grace, to "draw the viewer in to ponder what it means to be human." Truly, I'm amazed and am so grateful for her insights. Without further ado...
Your business, Visual Grace, has such an amazingly unique mission: beyond just expressing an image on camera or on a canvas, you strive to capture the good, true, and beautiful in your work, and for that beauty to point us to God and reveal our human nature. First, how did you even come up with something so great like that? Second, how does that mission come specifically into play when you shoot engagements and weddings?
As an artist, I have been inspired by JP2, particularly his studies known as The Theology of The Body. As I continue in the work of mission and the arts, I see how much beauty can transform hearts. I also see how much we, as a culture, lack in being able to see and receive beauty. My goal became to reveal authentic beauty, which includes revealing what is true and what is good. They all go hand in hand. Visually, this plays out by using what is authentic. In simple ways this plays out in a photo by using natural lighting as much as possible and really sticking to revealing the personality of the couples.
Do you work exclusively with Catholic couples, families, and individuals in your business? Regardless, what, to you, sets a Catholic wedding apart?
While many of my clients are Catholic, I do not work exclusively with Catholic couples. Catholic weddings, of couples who truly understand what they are doing in committing their lives to one another and becoming one, have such a grace about them. You can see it in their eyes. They stand before one another as a gift to behold. The Ceremony is such an important part to them. While their receptions are also gorgeous, they would never want the Ceremony to be something to move quickly through. They get that the sacrament is the moment of great grace.
Brides have so much access to visual inspiration when planning their weddings, often before they even meet their vendors. As a photographer, have you noticed pros and cons to this?
I don't mind this so far. Most couples I have dealt with trust me and, again, are more focused on the joy of the sacrament then having everything specific. Sometimes, I encourage them to look up things they would like to have captured. This helps them visualize for themselves how they would like to reflect back on the day. They have so much to think about so to be honest, I think it has been helpful.
What's the most helpful thing a couple can do for you as a photographer before and during their wedding day?
Strive to find places with good lighting. Where they get ready, the church, the reception, all of it may be beautiful, but natural lighting is what makes a photo fabulous. Furthermore, account for enough time as possible to allow for the photographer to get the best photos of the couples and bridal party (hopefully outside).
I'd love to hear stories from some of the weddings you've shot! Are there any particularly profound moments that stand out to you? Any funny or otherwise memorable ones?
For most of a wedding day, I am running around with the camera in front of my face. I get to see a variety of structured days. You get to learn about each couple and what is important to them. I will be shooting a wedding in a few weeks that is a full day with different Masses throughout the day, and the reception is at this really cool camp. I think it will be elegant but really down to earth.
Recently I flew to Canada to shoot a wedding. I forgot that I would have to figure out all the details in regards to currency and phone differences because it's not AMERICA. Anyway, getting off the plane was like playing Marco Polo to find my ride because I didn't have phone service!
You work for The Culture Project, an organization committed to inspiring and upholding virtue, chastity, human dignity, and a life fully lived through a relationship with Christ. Does this work influence your art, and vice versa?
Totally. With The Culture Project, I am constantly being formed and speaking on the topics of what is true, good, and beautiful. That being said, I am always learning more about what it means to love and how to share that with others. Love is so gracious and generous, much different then what our society portrays. Society points us to a passionate lust. They make lust a goal, when in all it is actually use. Our desires and passions are not bad; however, there is a much deeper peace and joy in knowing that authentic love thinks of what one can give verses what one will get. The union of two hearts and the deep joy that comes from that is so different from focusing only on the pleasure the other can give you.
Anything else you'd like to share?
I am also a dancer and a painter. I really believe that these two art forms greatly influence my photographs, not only the way I take them but how they turn out. I am constantly thinking about composition and how the bodies are facing etc. Really, all the arts go hand in hand.
Thank you so, so much, Kate! Visit Kate's website here to drink in her beautiful portfolio, and check out her latest work (and get in touch if you're looking for a photographer!) on Facebook.