Thursday, November 20, 2014

Katharine Boyd Davies : Editorial Portraiture ABIPP

One of the first things  I like to establish as a  " mentor " is to find out some background information. How they came into photography, their thoughts and aspirations ?

Each and every " mentee " that contacts me has to be realistic and have an understanding of what I feel is achievable for them. The last thing I wish to do is to offer false hope , it would be quite unrealistic to make promises that are at the best, misleading.

 Mentoring by Kevin Wilson takes time, and at considerable financial cost to the mentee . I have heard stories from some of those that I have mentored, or am currently doing so now, how  a previous mentor was paid a fee of £5000.00 in advance was paid and only one days tuition was given , the promise of everything just did not materialise.This is what I mean by misleading and leaving a bad taste with the mentees , money wasted with nothing to show.

 Countless hours, days and weeks are involved if you want to become one of the best at what you do. And be prepared to pay for the knowledge you will gain. 

I can proudly say that I have mentored some of the finest photographers in the UK, virtually household names, it is fair to say that nobody has had the success in teaching or guiding people through their qualifications at all levels and different genres as I have. 

By listening to their career and interests , I feel that much can be learnt  enabling to plan  for the ultimate success the " mentee " achieves , is it long term learning or is it something that can be reached fairly soon ?

Once we established the route to follow , it soon became very clear that Katharine's work was going to be more advanced than a Licentiate, so we decided to add strength and push for a level one step up, her Associateship .

 This is an unusual approach that is rarely  achieved and is dependent on the assessors all agreeing to take the submission to a higher level , thankfully , the assessors were all in total agreement that this should be the case , Katharine was awarded the higher status on the same day, furthermore , as her submission was deemed to be outstanding it  was nominated for the Peter Grugeon award.This accolade is for the best of the very best submissions throughout the year.

This is Katharine's story. 

" I always loved taking photographs but the thrill for me was finding finding the subject or seeing the image and composition, I was never much enamoured by the dark room process, although both my father and grandfather had their own.  I am lucky in that I have always been surrounded by artists and great imagery.  My father took us to many of the great art museums in Europe as a small child and I have been buying postcards or hovering around musuem coffee shops ever since! 

 My own early career in London was spent working across some of the best magazines, Harpers & Queen and Country Living and then on moving back to Dorset 10 years ago, working for the National Trust in the region.  It was with the National Trust that I discovered how much digital photography had changed the game for me with my own work and I started doing some location portraiture to help build up a bank of marketing images.  With little or no budget I would rope in mates and set up shoots at stunning locations and very quickly I was hooked.  

within a very short space of time, Katharine had a clear understanding of using light creatively, selecting the correct camera for the task in mind. Although almost every family owns a digital camera, it does not enable them to take a meaningful child study like this. 

" After leaving work to start a family I reinvested in my photography, trying to improve and building my portfolio.  I set about promoting myself in earnest for location portraiture in 2011 and step by step I have built my small business and reputation locally.  My love of the arts and creativity continually pull me towards more narrative portrait projects and increasingly I am commissioned for editorial and lifestyle projects ".

In this particular case, the artist has been placed within her surroundings which in turn adds narrative, Katharine has made good use of space and colour. In the second instance, I particularly like the mirror image of the artist , not instantly noticed, however the awareness of Katharine to seek something different has worked extremely well.

Katharine has a real sense of colour and is becoming a great stylist, turning up to locations and adapting as necessary to both light and surroundings, giving this image a light and airy feel .

 " By far the most beneficial part of my development has been the mentoring I have had with Kevin Wilson.  I approached Kevin in the hope that I could attain my qualification with the BIPP and crack some of the technical elements I wanted to develop.  What I actually achieved with him went far beyond that. 

 I feel I have a much greater understanding of my own inspirations and creativity and much more confidence in my work.  It has been a fulfilling and inspiring time for me and I am truly grateful.  I think photography has been a bit life-changing for me.

  My portraiture has  become better paced and more considered . I am fast developing a unique style that is polished and rewarding, both personally and of course financially which in turn has led to more commissions of varied nature.

I feel that I no longer find locations daunting, I have the skills and confidence to carry out portraits and stylised documentary work. 

" Creativity and Art ", can meet together, this is something I try to bring to each and every commission ".

During the last year, I have covered many rewarding portrait shoots , in particular providing character portraits of vulnerable young men in rehabilitation.

Passion for my work is never in doubt, I adore people and ensuring that I make them look their very best with composition that is commensurate to the portrait setting.

Composition of my imagery has improved dramatically , as has my posing skills enabling the sitter to look and more importantly to feel comfortable ".

Compassion for my work is never in doubt, I adore people and ensuring that I make them look their very best with composition that is commensurate to the portrait setting.

Composition of my imagery has improved dramatically , as has my posing skills enabling the sitter to look and more importantly to feel comfortable ".

I am always drawn to the quote from Paul Caponigro  "It's one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it's another thing to make a portrait of who they are."

Katharine is now embarking on her fellowship with a clear idea of what we are wanting to achieve, 2015 will be an eventful year for her, however, she now has all the necessary skills that will help her along the way.
I very much relish the thought of being a part of her journey. 

kevin wilson photography | wedding photographer | dorset