Meet Katie Lee, Our TICE Photography Mentor


Katie LeeKatie has been a professional photographer for 15 years and has worked for a variety of clients, across a range of genres. She worked in Scotland from 1998 – 2006 for a variety of newspapers , The Edinburgh Evening News, The Scotsman, The Sunday Herald and then for the last 6 years as a full time staff photographer for The Sunday Times. When Katie moved back to the North East in 2006 she went freelance and now does a range of work including mentoring on TICE.

Aswell as being the Photography Mentor on TICE, Katie still works for newspapers such as The Sunday Times and The Express and works for local companies in areas of promotion and advertising. Katie also covers social photography, weddings and portraits.

We decided to interview Katie plus filter in a bit of her work for you to see:

1. What is your favourite aspect of photography?

I do a lot of portraiture and I love how nosey it allows you to be. You get to see into people’s lives, I meet such a range of different people and they all have an interesting story to tell. I especially love it when I get to go to people houses or somewhere you wouldn’t normally be allowed. I love being nosey and photography is the perfect excuse!

2. Do you have a favourite style of photography? If so, why do you like this specific style?

I love portraiture, no particular style, but I am drawn to dramatic portraits with strong lighting. I just love seeing a good portrait of someone, a photograph that really sees into their eyes, shows the person for who they are. This is a real skill and not a lot of photographers have it. The eyes are a window to a world we never really know and photography is a way of looking in. I love the photography of Bill Brandt. His portraits are so strong and moody and really draws me in.

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3. Do you think it’s important for young people to have access to creative opportunities, and why? 

It is so important! I have only been with creative enterprise this year, but I can really see how the programme helps give the students confidence. I see this growing every time I meet them. It allows them the freedom to express themselves and do something they might not have access to at school. Creative industries can be seen as a soft option when thinking about career choices, but this all wrong. It is not an easy option and to have creativity in any area is a real gift. By offering students creative options and experiences we are tapping into this gift and showing students the creative world that is out there for them.

4. How do you feel access to creative opportunities in schools has changed over time? (for example, in comparison to when you were in secondary school or throughout further studies)

Access was non existent when I was at school. I don’t ever remember creative industries being mentioned as a career choice, it was just for the less academic students! I did do Ceramics at school which I always felt was such a unique opportunity, but it would never have been pushed as a career choice. I think schools definitely offer a broader amount of subjects and do give the students more creative options. But I’m not sure whether they are shown all the creative options and industries that are available. This isn’t maybe about not wanting to they just may not know the options that are out there.

Katie Lee25. Do you feel the current curriculum provides a sufficient amount of exposure to creative industries?

No, I think there is always more that could be done and Creative Enterprise is just one way of doing this.
6. Is it realistic for young people to pursue experience in creative industries? (in the sense that there is actually a job market in these fields)

YES! Like any other career choice it isn’t easy and there’s a huge amount of competition, but if you are good and want it enough anything is possible. Just looking specifically at photography, there are so many different career choices. From working as a photographer (newspaper, commercial, weddings, portraits, advertising, landscape and I could go on), to being a picture editor on a newspaper or magazine, to a digital photography re-toucher and on and on and on. Students just need to be given the tools to access this information and be given the right support and motivation to find out what they need to know.

7. What is your favourite part about running the Photography workshops?

There’s nothing more satisfying than feeling like you have opened someone’s eyes to theKatie Lee3 opportunities that are out there in the creative industries and seeing the excitement on someone’s face when they produce a great photograph or something new and interesting for the first time. When you see that the students have really got a lot out of the activity you have set and go away excited and enthused. It reminds me of what I felt like when I realised what I could do with photography.

See what Katie did with the Photography Gold Stage students: Click Here!

Katie Lee4Contact:
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