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  • Katie Aird

INTRODUCING MYSELF

Hello! I'm Katie Aird, a Visual Artist based in Greater Manchester. A 2021 Graduate of Photography at The University of Salford, UK. Experienced in creative direction, retouch and fashion photography, here is an introduction to my work.


HOW I GOT INTO FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY

My Grandad always spoken about his interest of photography, he’s the one who gave me most of the film cameras that I still use today. Starting off shooting film - focusing mainly on subjects such as flowers, city life and my surroundings. During the beginning of my photography journey I admit that I wasn’t so keen on getting involved in the fashion industry.


My friend Brooke had been studying Fashion Communication and Styling at Leeds University, she needed a photographer for her final project - she asked me and that’s how it all started. You can check out our early collaborative projects on https://www.instagram.com/_bkstyling/


WORKING WITH OTHER CREATIVES

After shooting editorial fashion, I learnt how fun the process is. Especially working with MUAs, stylist and designers. It’s so important to try new things and collaborate with others - I wouldn’t be doing what I do now if it wasn’t for Brooke. I now have a varied portfolio of working with other creatives such as MUAs, model agencies, stylist, and designers. I also find it important to remain in your own style while working with others. In terms of fashion photography, working with other creatives is so rewarding because everyone’s strengths in their own profession allows the outcome of the visual to be 10x stronger. I can’t stress how much I’ve learnt from working with various creatives.


THIRD YEAR OF UNIVERSITY

Unfortunately, Covid hit half way through my second year of University. I admit that it was a slight struggle since the pandemic routine was so new to everyone, no one really knew what to expect or what to do. I tried to use the time of studying at home to make goals or at least research some plans for my final year of study…


Once reaching my final year of study, I tried to make the most of my remaining time at University. Due to being furloughed from my job at the time, I felt like I could reach my full potential at University. I took advantage of this extra time and developed my practice further.


EXPERIMENTAL PROCESS



I’ve always been fascinated in making fashion photography into something more interesting and unique. The transition between fine art and fashion is something that is key to my process. The University of Salford encouraged me to become experimental in my final year. This was the final part of the course; allowing us to challenge the process and embrace the failures of art. With these photographs above, I frozen two images from my ‘fire’ series. Through trial and error achieved this outcome of ‘Fire in Ice’, installed at our final year Interim Show.


FILM OR DIGITAL?

I always get asked which I prefer and I feel like both are just as advantageous as each other. Luckily for me, all of my film cameras and lenses have been passed on by my Grandad. My most used is the Mamiya 645 Pro. Although film stock tends to be more expensive, I much prefer the quality. The process of film is also important to me; it encourages slow culture and escapes the rush and needs from our fast paced society. This gives me time to properly reflect upon my on-going projects. I do find it beneficial to shoot on both Digital and film when I'm working on commercial practice. As Digital owns a sense of back up and security compared to the unknown process of film. I believe that photography is an art form that doesn't need to rely on the best equipment that you can get. Personally, I feel that some photographers can see it as a competition of who owns the best camera; I don't think that correlates to making the best outcome of a photograph.


SELF PORTRAIT OR PORTRAITURE?

For my Graduation show, I installed a piece of work called ‘To be Individual’. Inspired by the individuation phase of Carl Jung’s Collective Unconscious. I find that photography locates me to who I am, I use photography as a tool for individuation.

However, most of my work contains portraits of people. Especially editorial work, I find it important to place emphasis on something so unique and bold. Most of these portraits are experimented with and played with, to create alternative portraits.


SUSTAINABILITY AND FASHION

Starting my sustainable fashion project ‘Collection’ during my second year of University, I always look back on this project to see how it can be developed into a bigger series. For my next up and coming projects, I will be focusing on the implication of the fast fashion industry by highlighting the effects of poverty, gender, environment, and consumerism. The image above is taken from my collection of work installed for graduation show: ‘To be Individual’.


SIDE PROJECTS

An important way to gain inspiration especially when tackling a creative block, is to start a mini project. This helps me to get back into the flow of the creative process. Here is an experimental scan of some flowers photographed for my series ‘Life, Death and Entropy’. A project based on the continuation of nature’s cycles. Exhibited in Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival 2022.


PLAYING WITH PHOTOS

When I look back into my archive, I’m always looking at older photographs to see how I can revisit them- or if you like, recycle them. It’s important to look back at older work since this is the way to develop projects further and maybe even gain inspiration for new projects.


AFTER GRADUATION

After working on my portfolio during university, I made sure to keep balance of my creative exploration with my personal life. It’s normal to feel lost after graduation, especially when hit with a global pandemic. However, I made sure to keep connecting with other students from my course and keep producing / developing my practice. Thanks to Salford Arts Collection, Red Eye the Photo Network and Castlefield Gallery, I have been awarded a scholarship award which is full of mentoring opportunities, workshops and gallery visits.


COMMISSIONS

After graduating I have been successful with paid opportunities. Working with stylist and art director Ona Greenwood has allowed me to collaborate with brands such as Kickers, The House of Foxy and Native Youth (to name but a few) . Other than fashion commissions, I have also been involved in teaching workshops focusing on my experimental outcome of photography. Recently, I have been published by KALTBLUT Magazine, Unesco Courier, Lomography and MARIKA Magazine.



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