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Katherine Young
Katherine Young

Katherine Young

Interview with Katherine Young
BIFA 2023 Winner, 1st Place, Non-Professional Architecture, “Duplicity”

Q: Can you briefly tell us about your background and what inspired you to pursue photography?

I was introduced to photography at a very young age by my father, who was an avid amateur photographer, but it was only in the last ten years that I was able to dedicate my time to learning and developing my own skills. I’m self-taught and began my journey with travel photography, aiming to capture the essence of each of the places I visited. Inspired by the contemporary environment of Singapore where I lived for seven years, I later focused my attention on cityscapes and architecture. More recently, I find myself being drawn to the wild and rugged beauty of the English coastline. 

 Photography has been and continues to be a journey of self-discovery for me and my work as well as understanding of photography are constantly evolving. I feel that I have a lot more to learn and explore and I’m really excited about the endless possibilities of growth.

Q: What drove you to submit your work to the BIFA competition and your thoughts on how winning this competition impacted your artistic journey?

I started participating in various photography competitions in 2017 and they have been a great learning curve, forcing me not only to carefully select my entries but also to look at my series of images in a more critical way. Submitting my photographs to BIFA, has given me the opportunity to gauge how my images are received by others, especially by a panel of knowledgeable and experienced judges. It’s the only way for me to receive, what I consider to be, honest and unbiased feedback. It’s a fine balance of making my work personal while at the same time being able to connect to other people so winning the architecture category has been a great honour for me and I’m truly grateful for it. 

Q: Could you describe any challenges you faced while capturing this moment (winning image/s)?

My first challenge with ‘Duplicity,’ was to find the right building facades and then photograph them during the right time of day and in the right weather conditions. I like to discover my locations on foot, wandering the streets, always looking up, hoping to find some unusual shapes and patterns so the series took a long time to complete.

My second challenge was to create images that were more engaging and captivating than my original captures which I felt, lacked harmony and balance. I think perfectly objective photographs are a lot less interesting and emotionally powerful than personally expressive images, so I decided to mirror my subjects for a more dramatic effect, creating a vanishing point drawing the viewer’s eye into the centre of each image. I also introduced a uniform background, partly as an additional interest and partly to produce a cohesive, unified look to my series. 

Q: What, in your opinion, are the most important factors in creating great images?

Creating images that are ambiguous, challenging, engaging and open to interpretation while also being aesthetically pleasing. 

Q: What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of photography?

Consistently producing meaningful images while simultaneously reflecting my personal growth. This can lead to a lot of frustration and more failures than successes however, with all this experimentation comes discovery and immense satisfaction in the end.

Q: What motivates and drives your photography?

Passion and curiosity. Passion for my subjects keeps me going despite any challenges thrown in my way, it gives me the reason to create and to see the extraordinary in the ordinary and the mundane. Curiosity makes me look deeper at my subjects, perhaps uncover things I haven’t considered before, look for relationships that may not be obvious and to constantly push the boundaries. 

Q: What’s next for you in your career as a photographer?

I don’t have any specific projects in mind. I would like to continue searching for inspiring architectural subject and to explore long exposure landscape / seascape photography. Most importantly, I’ll continue focusing on my personal growth, learning and reading as much as I can and who knows what may come out of it.