YG15 Showcase: Cait Oppermann
By Brett McKenzie on Nov 14, 2017
Shining the spotlight on this year's Young Guns winners
Young Guns 15, arguably the most prestigious portfolio-based competition for creatives under 30, is going out with a bang! This year's winners were unveiled earlier this month, and it's safe to say that this is one of the most eclectically talented classes in Young Guns history.
This Thursday is the traditional Young Guns ceremony and party, (you've scored your tickets, right?) and nearly all of this year's winners will be travelling from across the globe, across the country, or across the Williamsburg Bridge to attend. Ahead of the festivities, the One Club for Creativity is highlighting many of the winners you'll be able to meet.
Based In: Brooklyn, NY
Originally from: Kansas City, MO
What does winning this award mean to you?
I first heard about Young Guns back in 2013, when Bobby Doherty (YG11) won the award. Bobby's work is iconic and the award came around the time he began to shape the look and feel of New York Magazine. He's had such a massive impact, and I decided, then, that I wanted this award for myself. This year was my first time entering because it was the first time I felt like I had enough solid projects to really have a shot at it.
What sorts of challenges have you encountered to get where you are today?
More than anything, I think the most important challenge that leads to success is never resting. Over the last five years or so, I can remember feeling like I couldn't spare an idle hour. For better or for worse, I developed habits of working ALL. THE. TIME. If I didn't have something directly ahead me of me to shoot, I plotted and planned to create opportunities for myself with personal work that led to the kinds of projects I wanted to be commissioned for. I adamantly dodged situations that looked overtly comfortable and set myself up in those which forced me to constantly solve problems. Each year, I sought personal work that enabled me to try something new - whether that be a new place, a new subject, etc. Personal work has been crucial to solving problems in my commissions.
Since Young Guns 15 allowed you to submit six projects for consideration, some self-curation was required. How did you decide what to enter?
I ultimately landed on projects that showed a range. I shoot a lot of different types of subjects and ideas, so I aimed to show a variety of work that was quite different from project to project, but all had to feel quintessentially me. I also aimed to show the correlation between personal work and commissioned work to help illustrate the path I set myself on to eventually get paid to shoot my dream jobs.
What keeps you going, creatively speaking? What drives you and your work?
I'm lucky. I get to do my favorite thing for a living. So much of my work is tied to experimentation and play. I'm driven by how much fun my job is and what it allows me to do over the course of a year. I get to be curious and I get to solve problems and I do not take that for granted.
Now that you’re a Young Guns winner, what’s next?
Keeping at it. I have a number of personal projects that are unfolding over the next year that I'm really excited about and I've been lucky enough to keep getting work that I love.
Cait and her fellow winners will be honored at the Young Guns 15 Ceremony + Party, taking place on Thursday, November 16 at Highline Stages in Manhattan's Meatpacking District.
Young Guns 15 is presented in proud partnership with Shutterstock, Levene/Leavitt and MTV.