You might have heard it’s #NationalCatDay. A cat probably decided that! And if you have a cat at home, your cat will tell you that EVERY day is National Cat Day. But you know that there are tons of kitties out there without homes, and don’t live great lives. So today, while I snuggle on the couch with my awesome cats, I think of all the cats, big and small, young and old, who need a lap and someone to love/adore them. It’s why I do what I do! I’m so grateful to all the amazing people in shelters and rescues and feral projects everywhere for doing what they do for these amazing creatures that bring me such joy. They bring me joy just looking at them. Now go hug your kitty (even if they hate it)….
Hello everyone! I’ve been invited to contribute to a blog circle which draws its motivation and interpretation from songs given to us each month; it’s an honor to be asked and a great opportunity to share something a little bit different. Please make sure to follow all the way to the end to link up with the next photographer in our ‘Songs of Life’ circle! Since this is new thing that I’m doing, this will be a bit of a departure from my usual pet photography (or fanaticism, depending on how you see it!), but totally in keeping with the direction of where my own personal photography already is, and where my professional work is going.
What I’m talking about is Lifestyle Photography, documenting real life, with all its warts and wrinkles, tantrums and tears. Sometimes smiles and hairballs. Outside of my work with rescue cats, and pet photography, I have practiced my skills within other photography genres that forced me to work with low-light, flash photography, with posing, groups, you name it, I’ve been doing it. But I’m constantly drawn away with my urge to focus on what feels more natural (not always is it easy though): documenting what IS. And THAT is where I am headed, with both my professional pet photography and family photography.
Recently I was lucky enough to be a studio audience member on creativeLIVE‘s course by the talented, amazing, honest and awesome Kirsten Lewis on Family Documentary: Modern Storytelling, and it was seriously profoundly life-changing. What Kirsten stressed throughout is how photography is important because of how it transports us in time, it can be controversial, it evokes an emotion/elicits a human response, and often becomes more powerful over time. With our/your own personal photography, it does most of these, so neglecting our own stories by never photographing them (or by only ever having posed portraits done or getting cheesy smiles for the camera) we never will have those real moments frozen in time in our images.
I’ve been concerning myself too much lately that over this summer, we haven’t been doing much as a family, no big trip…too much comparing to what others are doing. We had a move to make though, the heat slows me down and well, vacationing is expensive. But here we are, at the end of the summer, and these are some of my recently photographed family moments. They radiate light, laughter, smiles, sun, life, childhood. These are moments when my son and my stepdaughter are actually getting along, which usually does seem to happen at the playground. I have kept the imperfections of hair in a mess, the sun flares, the motion blur, and just gone with how these make me FEEL. For me, it’s the joy that radiates from them that has led them into this blog piece. The song that was given was ‘Radiate’ by Jack Johnson, and while I originally just saw moments in my head all week of how it made me immediately think solely of my boy, these are the images that spoke to me.
**Please click on the photos to view them bigger and to scroll through! The next link in the blog circle can be found below so be sure to follow the circle around!
Until I post again (when I will just HAVE to tell you about my upcoming photography conference trip), remember to come say hi on Facebook.
Next up in this fabulous circle of amazing photographers is Jennifer of Jennifer Snavely Photography and you can find her post right HERE. I spy another little boy coming up…!
Originally meant to post on August 13th, 2014….
I’m writing this late, and I’ve had an emotional evening so maybe it’s not utterly the best time to write anything anywhere BUT I’m going to blow my horn for a moment. And in a moment…
I am at the end of Day 2 of being in the studio audience at creativeLIVE for Family Photography: Modern Storytelling with Kirsten Lewis (who I will have to say more about soon) and I have to say it has been an amazing course. Exploring the art and business of documentary-style family photography and learning from the best there is, from Kirsten Lewis has really got my ‘creative cogs’ turning. For some time now I have wanted to do sessions that are more lifestyle and documentary than posed, including ‘End of Days’ sessions for companion animals, and for families with pets included. This current course totally bookends the other Creative Live course I took part in, ‘Animal Photography with Rachael Hale McKenna’, along with my extensive pet photography work, and the style of shooting is just me. I’m at a crossroads with my business and so much more so I’m excited.
But my big deal today was winning 1st PLACE in the creativeLIVE Instagram challenge contest for Day 1 and I am thrilled. Stoked. Honored.
The challenge was this: Make a portrait of a stranger. You must take the time to talk to them, connect with them. Get to know them and share their story. This is to challenge your fear and reinforce how just taking the time to connect will gain you access and trust. Don’t forget about finding good light.
Well here’s the story and photo I posted. I received such overwhelmingly great feedback on Facebook and Instagram about it that I am genuinely touched and honored. Please feel free to leave any comments and feedback here – it’s utterly inspiring to hear from people!
I feel like I hit #kirstenoncreativelive1 contest gold this evening. When I heard we had a CL Instagram challenge: great. When I saw that it was to introduce myself to a stranger to get their portrait and ask them their story: yikes. I’ve always wanted to do such a thing but honestly never had the gumption. But I couldn’t have been happier that I did. While at the farmers market with my boy, eating freshly-made quesadillas and ice cream, this street musician with a kind face and one of those boots on for a hurt foot, played his guitar, and I finally got myself up to talk to him. Within seconds of me talking, he asked if I’m English (which I am), immediately recognizing my accent and from then on he couldn’t hold himself back on sharing his story. In his own muddled English/American accent, he told me his name is Joel Fleming, “but really I’m a ‘Davis’, of Welsh descent”, and he turns 60 this year. His military father had moved their family to England when he was a teenager and he spent the early 70’s there, a time that impacted him greatly. He told me fond tales of going to the summer solstice festival at Stonehenge with his friends. About meeting numerous musicians he admired (still to this day) at concerts. About hanging out at Hyde Park in London, and calling into a radio station and getting to say hello to John Lennon. He talked with fondness about the country that I love and miss myself, and how desperately he wishes he could visit again and find a way to stay there. Joel wanted a portrait of himself holding his new Stetson hat that he had saved $230 for, something he was obviously proud of. He showed me where in his jacket he’d hide his money so it wouldn’t fall out and also explained to my inquiring son about why he had the protective boot on: he’d had the tip of his big toe removed because of diabetes. He bared so much of himself to me with his stories, his openness, and probably spoke for half an hour or so. I don’t know if he’s homeless and I’m not sure that it matters, but I feel like many pass people like Joel by and never give a second thought to that person. He just wanted to share and for that I’m grateful.
I hope you enjoyed this post, the workshop (if you saw it) and I am excited to see where my new inspiration leads me. I’ll be back on here soon!
Things to share! The recent creativeLIVE workshop that I took part in about Animal Photography was beyond inspiring and maybe some of you caught some of it. Rachael McKenna did photo sessions with cats, dogs, a bunny, a pig…it was a great chance to get to see how she worked, and gave me many thoughts and ideas for my own future shoots. Networking with other pet photogs was an added bonus, and I had the chance to meet some fellow members of HeARTs Speak – other photographers who devote their time to photographing rescue and shelter animals. To hear how Rachael went about her amazing book project ‘The French Cat’ and her latest, ‘The New York Dog’, was enlightening (although it just made me want to get on a plane and travel – I miss Europe especially!).
The greatest message that I got from her was something she wrote in my copy of ‘The French Cat’ for me – a reminder to “shoot from the heart, and be happy.” It’s something that I will keep in mind when I am bogged down with things, feeling challenged, and need a bit of a lift. It’s easy to forget to make sure to do some of what you want to be doing…
Another fab thing that popped up here at the start of April was being contacted by someone at everydayhealth.com, about having an article written about me. Little old me. I couldn’t even fathom why anyone would want to do such a thing, that it took a couple of tries by the writer to convince me that she had really been given an assignment to write about ‘Katherine…a Seattle-based photographer that also suffers from MS.” I’ll be interested to read her article, plus it forced me to reflect on how MS affects me being creative, and to create a headshot for it; I didn’t have one already so that was a task for me. I’ll have to teach my boy to do portraits soon! I’ll share the article here once that’s done.
AND I’ve been invited to photograph at the Average Joe Cat Show, which is put on by another cat rescue close to Seattle, Purrfect Pals, as well as have a booth/table for displaying my photography and work (my first chance to do so). The hard part so far is deciding what products to have ready, what kitty faces to show off!! It should be fun.
Enjoy this spring weekend. And here’s the headshot I submitted for the article…I’m being brave by sharing, so be nice if you say anything!
xo ~ K
“When do I see a photograph, when a reflection?”
― Philip K. Dick, A Scanner Darkly
We’ve been fortunate to have had some great (even if cold) sunny weather here in Seattle for days now, but finally today the rain suddenly started to pour down. It’s one of those days where I don’t feel so bad about being camped out on the couch (with a half-sick child) doing some digital homework. And now that I’m armed with a faster laptop and hard drive, as well as a little wheeled desk to use my computer on, my photo-processing workflow has become fun again. None of that mind-numbingly slow exporting, saving and uploading that was going on!
Along with creating a band poster, today I’ve caught up with kindergarten photos in addition to gig photos, and I’m about to move onto (and back to!) photos from last spring taken in England. It’s about bloody time, I think!
Here are some gig photos of The Pop Cycle, that I took at the end of January, at back-to-back gigs at the Highline and at Tim’s Tavern here in Seattle. Some hot red guitars to brighten up this dreary day…
Stay warm and dry!! xo ~ K