For new book 'I Wash You Dry', Katie's publisher said: 'This is the weirdest thing. But yeah, go for it'."
This month, Katie Burnett releases her second book of photographs. A stylist by trade — with clients like Gucci, Burberry and Calvin Klein — Katie only began taking pictures herself two years ago, shooting self-portraits with a catalogue of props (elastic bands, packet noodles and fridge magnets) in her Brooklyn apartment. Encouraged by her friend, the photographer Paul Kooiker, this humorous black-and-white series became Cabin Fever, a book released last year. I Wash You Dry, the new follow-up published by Dashwood Books, covers similar territory as the previous book, with the introduction of the Jamaican sea.
"I've always gravitated towards drawing, painting, making things — anything I can do with my hands," the Missouri native tells me. "Funnily enough, I originally wanted to go into photography, I was mesmerised by it, and then a photographer I asked about assisting suggested I style a shoot, and it just felt like such a perfect fit." The work in Cabin Fever was borne out of the oddness of the early months of the pandemic. "I was joking around essentially, shooting potatoes to cheer up friends. It was a bit bonkers, creating stuff every day as a kind of experiment, but it was so nice to make pictures with no pressure. It wasn't for anybody."
A recurring motif throughout the book, the sock puppet was a way for Katie to incorporate a second character while shooting alone. "I've always been intrigued by how simple objects take on a life of their own. Since everything [so far] is self-portraits, I toyed with having another presence, and then the sock puppets became that secondary presence." The decision to shoot between her home and on a beach in Jamaica meanwhile was essentially another consequence of the pandemic. "Over lockdown, I quarantined in Jamaica for three weeks — I was trying to get into London for a job. So when I was thinking of where to shoot, it seemed obvious. I also wanted a lot of space because the last book was shot in my house, mostly under my kitchen counter."