303 Style Profile is an ongoing series highlighting unique locals and they’re incredible style and stories. Go here to see past profiles.
Katherine McQueen is a Denver-based photographer who takes joy in all things creative, but she would also describe herself as a Latina creative. “I’m passionate about creating art with a purpose, fighting for equal rights and changing our industry for future generations,” she explained. Though based in Denver, her work takes her to places such as Texas, New York City and Los Angeles. She is making quite a name for herself in the world of photography but this is not the only way she has pushed her way out in the world. McQueen also takes the name Katherine Joy on Instagram. Her page is just what you would expect from an Instagram handle like that. It is a vibrant and honest depiction of who McQueen is. She shares everything from her style to her travel adventures. Just as much as we see the glam in her life, she also makes it a point to have fun and laugh at herself every once in a while. We got the chance to talk to McQueen and dive deeper into who she is and her passion for all things creative.
303 Magazine: How would you describe your style? Who or what inspires it?
Katherine McQueen: I’m currently obsessing over pastels and bright colors. Funky, fresh, sophisticated and fun. I love pops of bold color. The weirdness inspires me in the street style of Brooklyn, New York. I’m currently inspired by Emma Amos artwork — “Baby” is my favorite — and Kay WalkingStick’s “April Contemplating May” from 1972. Their work is currently in the Whitney Museum. Amos was the youngest and only female member of Spiral — a New York-based collective. She resisted the idea of a singular Black aesthetic, which put her at odds with artists who insisted on direct, often figurative depictions to address racial politics. As she later stated, “Every time I think about color, it’s a political statement.” I also am currently obsessed with everything Janelle Monaé wears.
303: Where are you originally from and what brings you to Denver?
KM: I’m originally from Miami. I lived in Nashville while working in New York City and now enjoy living near the gorgeous mountains in Denver. I moved here because of the progressive culture here and I can’t get enough of these mountains.
303: You’re based not only in Denver but New York City and L.A. What are some differences in the fashion that you see in those three cities?
KM: L.A. is great but New York has the best style, hands down. There are so many types of styles in New York City that everyone expresses themselves as true to themselves as possible. “Too much” isn’t possible in New York. The freedom to dress however you want is yours. What I also love about New York is that black and brown people also have their own space to dress like the way they feel about themselves without being put into a category.
303: What is your current trend obsession?
KM: My favorite trend is how comfort and sportswear being taken seriously. Right when bike shorts started becoming a trend, I took that trend to heart. There’s nothing better than being comfortable and classy. I’m also obsessed with square toe sandals coming back.
303: How did you get into fashion editorial photography?
KM: When I was 13, my mom got me a small camera, and I started making stop motion photos and my love for photographing people and my memories began. I also loved dressing up and would try to fit into all of my sister’s clothes. Since high school, it was my always my ultimate dream to photograph editorial and fashion in New York City and I love every bit of it.
303: What’s your favorite part about the work you’re doing?
KM: Sharing my story through my work and then other people also get to enjoy it and relate to it.
303: If you could swap a closet with one celebrity, who would it be and why?
KM: Janelle Monaé. Did you see her look at the MET Gala? A classy woman she is.
303: Do you have any projects you’re working on currently that you’re excited to share?
KM: I’m currently working on three editorial projects here in Denver that I’m super stoked to share. My favorite part of producing is art directing and styling the shoots because I get to put my personal touch into them.
303: What else do you want to Denver community to know about you?
KM: As a Latina originally from South Florida, it truly is such a privilege to have the freedom to do what I love and start my career in photography at such a young age. Life wasn’t easy growing up, but photography was my emotional outlet. It was the way I grieved. It was the way I processed my own story.
Today, I’m constantly inspired to use the pain in my life and the stories of other minorities as my motivation to create art. I’m passionate about creating a change in our industry when it comes to what we see in our media. I’m passionate about fighting for brown and black lives because we still have a long ass way to go when it comes to equal rights. I want to change the industry because I am tired of being tired.
All Photography by Giacomo Di Franco.