Interview: Photographer Kate Salley
How did your interest in photography begin and what inspired you to explore it?
My interest in photography really developed when I became a flight attendant 10 years ago. I started to see so much of the world — the sounds, the taste, the cultures. I couldn’t help but try to capture some of the candid moments. The kids rolling a tire together and laughing in the Philippines. A sizzling egg dropped into the best street food you’ve ever had in Thailand. An old women setting up her jewelry shop in India. They all tell a story and I started looking for those stories in my communities or at a wedding.
How would you describe your vision/style?
I guess I would say my style is organic/documentary/candid. If I am shooting a wedding for example I would sometimes set up a shot — say having the bride walk towards me while swinging her dress. But for most of the day I try not to manipulate too much of the setting. If the bride is snacking on Cheez-Its right before the ceremony. If the flower girl is bawling her eyes out. This is all part of it. I like authenticity.
What is the best experience you’ve had with a photo shoot?
Some of my best photos and photo shoots are the spontaneous, no pressure, I just happen to bring my camera kind of days. The other week I stopped by my best friend’s house who just had a baby and has a 2 year old and a 3 year old. They were eating popsicles outside. Which led to running through the sprinklers. Jumping on the trampling. And then basking in the sun with no clothes on. The pictures turned out awesome. It was an unexpected lifestyle shoot and reflected a typical summer day at home.
What are your biggest inspirations and why?
I definitely have photographers whose work inspires me. But more so I am inspired by people who are vulnerable and fail but still go after their dreams. Who challenge themselves and take risks. I’m inspired by people who are confident in who they are and authentic. I am not always feeling confident and have my insecurities so it makes me brave to know that it’s a journey and there is always room grow.
What are your goals with your work in photography?
It’s important to know the “why” before the “what.” My goals in photography are not just to be at a place where I can find my ideal clients and make a sustainable income. Although that is a goal. I want to feel fulfilled by the creative outlet and keep growing and challenging myself. I never want to get bored or comfortable. I want to use my skills and creativity in situations that allow me to travel and tell important stories. It would be awesome to work for a micro-loan company like “Kiva.” I would love to be at a point where I can teach others. And then maybe head up a women’s photography workshop where we also worship Jesus. Sooo many goals.
Is there something you’d like to improve on?
Of course! There will always be something. When photographing people — there is a sense of natural calmness and peace that is important to bring in order to allow the subjects to feel completely themselves. Which is important if I want to capture the essence of people’s love and personality. I want to slow down and improve on making people feel comfortable.
How does who you are affect your shots?
Everyone sees opportunity and beauty in different things or people. While traveling my husband, who is also a photographer, has an incredible eye. The details and people and framing a shot. I see completely different things than he does when we are both walking down the same street. And then we will come home and he will tell me the photos of mine that he likes the most and why — it’s so cool looking at a photo from his perspective. This is why I love the community over competition — we are all individual artists.
What is your favorite quote of all time?
I like this question. My favorite quote is one by Jack Kerouac.”
Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits. The rebels.
The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes — the
ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules and
they have no respect for
the status quo. You can praise
them, disagree with them,
quote them, disbelieve them,
glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing that you
can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
- Jack Kerouac
I like the movers and shakers of the world.
We highly recommend following Mrs. Salley on her Instagram and checking out her beautiful website to fully experience and appreciate her work — she deserves the upmost love and appreciation! Thank you to Kate Salley for taking the time to do this for us, her energy is so contagious and we couldn’t thank her enough for being so good to us!