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Cathy Immordino Uses Photography Like an Artist Uses Paint

Cathy Immordino is a Los Angeles-based photographer, whose layered images form composites of personal experience and public spaces.

The Portal by Cathy Immordino

Initially Immordion's work used to just be photography, but she found this to be very limiting for her freedom of expression. The more she grew, the more she realized that she didn't have to stick to a preconceived idea of a photograph existing as what can be captured within the framing of what is seen in the camera viewfinder.

It was somewhere around 2015 that she decided to use her photography like an artist uses paint. "I no longer worried about framing. My only concerns where with lighting and capturing the right depth of field to show the subject in focus. From there, anything is possible with Photoshop and the extent of my imagination."

For the most part, her projects have similar beginnings. Like a journalist, she finds the story she wants to convey to the public. The lack of wording with 2-dimensional images leaves room for interpretation and imagination if the viewer wants to go there. Each project is composed of multiple photographs montaged together to form their own story with peeks and valleys of emotion.

Some projects have more of a double exposure feeling to them while others take on a more painterly approach with photomontage. While most pieces start as a photomontage or collage on paper, they end up becoming more of a mixed media piece once framed in ornate, rehabilitated antique frames.

Rags to Riches by Cathy Immordino

Immordino's project Pilgrimage of Heritage is about immigration. This series follows the story of her paternal heritage. "It is funny to image that this concept began in my childhood. Growing up, I wasn't allowed to know anything about why my father's family immigrated to America in the late 1800s and again in the early 1900s. I always toyed with the idea of our family being part of some Sicilian mafia and we weren't allowed to talk about it."

Her curiosity led her to researching on and meeting up with other Immordinos on Facebook. "I found a distant cousin trying to find out where all the Immordinos who fled Sicily went on what they were up to in their lives. He knew a lot of the history with the Immordinos that stayed in Sicily". In 2016, she went to Sicily and Italy and began exploring the locations associated with her paternal family lineage. The photographs captured in Sicily and Italy became photomontaged as her Pilgrimage of Heritage series.

L.A River by Cathy Immordino

Immordino's experiences of working in the film industry has greatly influenced her photography. "The attention to detail in the lighting was something that always fascinated me. Lighting can make or break a mood as well as direct the viewer's eye in a certain direction. This is something I noticed a lot of while working as an actress. It wasn't so much apparent on set as much as it was noticeable in the final, edited piece."

"I always feel that most artists often overlook the psychological aspect of each piece or their work as a whole"

"I was also very much drawn to the story and psychology of the character. I always feel that most artists often overlook the psychological aspect of each piece or their work as a whole. What propels a piece and why is it existing are too important things I took away from my stint in acting. What is my motivation? Without motivation, the work is just lifeless and not human. It is harder to connect with. And I am less motivated to work on it."

L.A River II by Cathy Immordino

Based in Los Angeles, California Immordino enjoys the benefits of the thriving art scene and a very supportive photography community. The photographers work ranges from snapshot aesthetic to various degrees of contemporary pictorialism. There is also quite a bit of photojournalism work. "I have seen a lot of mixed media work. Thanks to the film industry, Los Angeles is full of scenic artists who make amazing work of all types of art. It is hard to say exactly how the Los Angeles art scene will develop. With gentrification and the onslaught of New York art dealers and galleries, the art market of Los Angeles is evolving. I cannot say if any one style will prevail. We are still in some sort of post modernism, contemporary art phase."

Immordino is currently working on two different projects. One project is documenting children on the autism spectrum and photomontaging them with other elements. "This project was inspired by my curiosity of what other parents with spectrum children are dealing with. This project is a great way for me to build a community as my youngest is on the spectrum."

Another project she is working on involves photographed heads physically collaged with various elements. "I started off making these as a response to how society, especially Los Angeles, expects us to look a certain way, whether or not that involves us getting physically or mentally harmed to beautify ourselves to the standards shown in magazines with over-Photoshopped models. While this work is currently all done on paper, it will evolve in to some mixed media poetry as I continue working on it."

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