Born in Greenville, Katie Fenske dreamed of leaving town and moving west, but she later found simple beauty in the small Southern town she continues to call home.
Fenske now captures South Carolina’s warm pink sunsets and sometimes eerie skies in her landscape photography. Documenting her 9-year-old daughter’s childhood prompted Fenske to get behind the camera.
“I like reality. I like to take pictures of things as they are,” she says. “It’s really about catching it at the right time.”
To recreate the exact aura Fenske experiences when taking a photo, she keeps editing to a minimum. “I edit things so it looks how it did when I saw it,” she says. “I edit to look as natural as possible.”
Fenske intentionally omits the human figure from her photographs, but the presence of humanity remains. “I like knowing that someone has been there recently,” Fenske says. “If somebody has left something out in the yard like chairs and things, I like to imagine what they might have been doing.”
Lighting within a space is the key motivator for Fenske’s work. “I guess I want a painting more than anything else,” she says. “I like to envision it as a painting instead of a photograph — which seems strange.”
In search of the right lighting at the right time, Fenske enjoys catching a glimpse of the fleeting beauty that surrounds her at sunrise and sunset.
Her painterly photographs allow viewers to reflect amid the quiet stillness of the atmosphere.
“It’s kind of like a treasure hunt for me,” she says. “When I actually get an image, it feels like I stumbled on a piece of something shiny on the ground that I picked up — that’s how it feels.”
As a scavenger of sorts, Fenske also tracks down beads for making jewelry. “I love to scrounge up old beads like vintage beads, glass beads. Then I just string them up into necklaces.”
Working on tedious projects has always appealed to Fenske. Her day job includes building equipment that conducts chemical analysis. “It’s hard-left from what I do in my off time. But I like it,” she says. “I like to tinker.”
While her photographs are not available to purchase now, Fenske hopes to sell prints in the future. Her work can be seen at katiefenske.com.