Everyday Essentials is an exploration of what defines our "essential." Below, a conversation with KT Auleta, a fashion photographer and director in New York (but whose true home is on the water, tacking her way through the sea).
How does sailing plays a role for you outside the physical experience?
It's a powerful place to be on the water while riding with the wind. The physical experience disappears because you are locked into reading the elements, making your response intuitive and collaborative.
What's your current curiosity?
I think I would love to sail across the Atlantic some day soon. Also, I’ve been working on writing a script for some time. This practice is still mysterious to me, but I can’t wait to direct it!
Much of fashion photography and filmmaking centers around evoking a moment. What feelings or concepts do you most often strive to create?
I love to put a model or actor in a real place and get a real response. So much of fashion is about fantasy or artifice which is exciting, but I like to break that wall down and allow the subject to truly participate in the moment and the character, have fun, and react with their true selves.
If you could pick any mentor any time who would it be?
Most of my life I’ve had a visceral connection to Jimmy Hendrix, but I’m not sure what kind of mentor he’d be. Right now I’m responding to ecologists, sociologists, and scientists for their work on cultural and environmental interconnectedness in the physical and quantum field. If this person could be merged into one, I think I’d want them to be my mentor. Or maybe someone who knows the earth so well — a hunter, a farmer, a forager.
What books are on your nightstand?
I usually listen to audiobooks these days with so much driving and chores on the boat and at my house. I just finished Good Omens (a comedy about the end of the world by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett), but A Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell is always on my phone and shelf. Some other great books: Tender is the Night (F. Scott Fitzgerald), and Tropic of Cancer (Henry Miller). And a re-read of On Photography by Susan Sontag.
What have you changed or done in your life that helps you to thrive?
Learning to meditate changed my life. My trip to India, and my travel in Mongolia showed me how not to resist but to flow with experience as well.
When I can come from this clear place, each day feels very blessed.