30/07/20 BLOG 8: PHOTOGRAPHY AS SELF CARE
We have teamed up with Dundee-based photographer Kathryn Rattray to bring you four photography masterclasses. Here, Kathryn talks about what photography – and a newfound love of walking – means to her as well as what you can expect from her masterclasses over the coming weeks.
It’s lashing down with rain. I mean good Scottish rain, the type that looks biblical. It looks fake, like someone is dumping buckets of water outside my kitchen window. 114 days ago, I was in a state of excruciating high alert. I, like everyone else in the world, was flung onto the set of a Hollywood blockbuster: COVID The Movie. I whipped my kids out of school, bought pulses and rice, and stocked up on (in bulk, I hang my head in shame) vitamin C. The apocalypse was coming, and we were all catapulted into a state of the unknown. For the first 4 weeks of lockdown, my self-care routine was pyjamas, food (with a lot of wine thrown in for good measure), and a film - usually an action movie with lots of things being blown up. Although I felt fine – or so I thought – I was slowing down. My system becoming more sluggish. My skin becoming drier. My hair frizzy and wild.
About three weeks ago I took a notion, I’m quite prone to these notions. Out of the blue I just decided that I wanted to be part of something, something that I’d hope might make a difference, even just a small one. And so, I set my alarm for 6am to set out on my first 15km walk for the Kiltwalk. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would take up walking. Ashamedly, I admit I was one of those skeptics, the kind that rolled the eyes when I heard of people climbing munros and heading out for 26-mile walks. In my cynical heart I thought, ‘why don’t you lot just STAY AT HOME!’. But there was a defining point - as we hurtled through lockdown - where I hauled my tired, sore body out of bed and decided that I should walk. The first week was atrocious, mostly I moaned. Mostly I was tired, mostly I didn’t want to do it. But I persevered, that’s one thing I have in abundance: perseverance.
Still, after 10 years in the industry, I almost shy away from professional title of photographer. I can’t quite explain why, something to do with that very real ‘imposter syndrome’. You see, I am self-taught, I never went to art school. I never decided to become a photographer. It just sort of happened.
I remember just before my daughter was born 10 years ago my mum bought me a Canon digi camera. It was a beaut of a thing. Easy to use, was compact and fitted into my bag, my pocket and my hand. I LOVED this camera, like true love! It came everywhere with me. It was responsible for capturing memories of everything for around three years. Until I dropped it and it smashed into a million little pieces. I was sick to the pit of stomach, as I frantically scrabbled around picking it up and praying for it to still work, tears streaming down my face!
On my walks, I’ve been taking my camera. Something strange happened, I started to feel better. I started to find my mojo again. I felt stronger physically and happier emotionally! For the past month or so I have had purpose to my day. Getting up, eating porridge with lashings of honey, stepping outside for walk, taking photos but most importantly allowing and being allowed to submerse myself in the creative world of photography.
I have created five masterclasses for you to try at home. The first masterclass is all about movement where we’ll go for a walk and turn everything green as we learn to get comfortable with taking pictures. In the second masterclass, I’ll look at the joy of colour, showing you how easy it is to create magazine quality still life photography in your very own home studio. In the third masterclass we’ll be experiencing the connection of using food to bring people together and bringing a Thai green curry recipe to life through a series of before and after shots. In the fourth Masterclass, we’ll look at how to represent a grounding technique in photography. In the final masterclass, we’ll be exploring comfort – taking pictures of our favourite things that make us feel warm, cosy, and safe. I hope you will find these masterclasses easy to follow and most of all enjoyable as you step out of your comfort zone and into the world of a CLiCK Magazine photographer!
See you soon,