Kate Black is a professional photographer who adores living in Inverell. She was more than willing to assist Focus in showcasing all that her regional city has to offer. We explore her life behind the lens.
> Tell us about your background …
I grew up on a property North West of Lighting Ridge, NSW. It was a very grounded and magical childhood, where I spent many hours making daisy chains in the paddocks with my two older sisters and mustering sheep with our dad. My sisters and I were very involved in the day-to-day operations on the property, and while I think Dad always gave us the light duties, I have fond memories of all the seasonal activities … whether it was shearing, harvest, calf-marking or making our way through the floods.
Looking back now, Dad was possibly the inspiration behind my love of photography. I remember the camera being in his saddle bag or in the ute, always on hand to photograph rams locking horns, an amazing dust storm or even a flat tyre, with the Blue Heelers panting in the background.
> How long have you lived in Inverell?
We moved to Inverell in 2005, with a new lease on life. My husband Matt and I were embarking on a new adventure together to pursue the careers we love. Inverell was a natural choice, being Matt’s home town, and we have not looked back.
> What photography do you specialise in?
Living in a rural region, I have found it both important and vital to be a ‘Jack of all Trades’. I photographed my first wedding in 2002 and have since developed into portraiture, commercial and photojournalism.
My particular love is photographing people – simple, natural photographs.
> Why did you become a photo journalist?
I am keen to learn about things people have experienced and achieved. I believe photographs are important to mark time and document history.
The feeling is hard to explain; there is a great sense of worth when you find a story that is both different and captivating. To tell a story in photographs takes skill, patience and can often be a humbling experience. I am given the opportunity to explore and experience new things and to see a lot of country when I am driving around for my work. It is a lot of fun and very addictive.
> How do you capture the perfect picture?
The perfect picture is one I am yet to achieve. You need to be organised, understand how a camera sees and have the ability to understand light. Sometimes luck has a little to do with it. It can be as simple as being in the right place at the right time.
The result I always hope for is to make a good photo great. Familiarising yourself with the subject and capturing their true nature and expressions can produce a great photograph.
> Describe some of your freelance work?
My freelance work involves working for commercial organisations and seeking out interesting stories which will build my reputation. I am my own boss, and with that comes responsibility and pride.
I was once told to never turn a job down. This attitude has seen me photographing out of a plane that resembled a cardboard box, reassuring brides when storm clouds are looming, pacifying children when the ‘arsenic hour’ is close and sometimes requires a bit of aerial acrobatics when trying to achieve an almost impossible angle.
In 2009 I had the privilege of my work featuring in a few publications, and I was invited to observe and practice beside other talented photographers.
My freelance work has given me opportunities and challenges that I would not have experienced otherwise.
> Why did you decide to feature Inverell in this month’s issue of Focus?
Inverell is a town that is driven by community spirit, pride and kinship. I have not been anywhere where the people have been so friendly and supportive. It is a beautiful town to live in 12 months of the year.
Inverell provides a wide range of products and services to its community and visitors. The tree lined streets feature relaxing cafés, beautiful boutiques, galleries and a wide range of thriving businesses.
> Your plans for the future?
2010 promises to be a good year. I have worked out, after a few hurdles, that you have to chase what you want and there is no time like the present.
I hope to photograph many interesting people, fascinating places, beautiful wedding days and spirited families. Aspiring to take my photography to the next level consumes of a lot of my time … I have a very patient family!
> Thanks Kate.