At a recent concert, I was chatting with Jason Stoff when Ms. McDaniel approached. I’ve been an acquaintance of Kate’s for a while now so we exchanged pleasantries before she leveled a good-natured shot at me: “I really like that series you are doing, but it’s a bit of a boys’ club.”
I responded that I was well aware of the need for some female subjects and that I had already lined up a couple (I had!) but she didn’t seem to believe me and simply said, “Yeah, right”. So I pointed my meaty finger at her and said, “OK! You’re next, Kate!”. She smiled and walked away but I got in touch shortly thereafter and we arranged her session.
We decided to meet at Kate’s regular Saturday morning haunt, the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market. Originally I thought I’d shoot Kate paparazzi-style as she shopped for stuff but the crowd and the layout of the market was not very conducive to such an approach. But, I was really looking forward to the shoot since I didn’t know Kate well and wanted to learn more about how she got into photography, so the stroll around the market allowed us to chat a bit.
Like so many of us camera-toting folks these days, Kate got serious about shooting after graduating from a point-n-shoot to a “real” camera: a DSLR. And like me, she turned that camera on her music-making friends and started snapping away. After a while she started shooting for local radio station KDHX where she has (along with Nate Burrell and others) helped make the broadcaster’s website a destination for high quality local music photography.
After realizing that the market wasn’t yielding the photos I wanted (know when to fold em, folks) we decided to move to a different section of the park for a few portraits. Kate had ridden her bike to the market and when she wheeled up in front of me I knew I wanted to include it in a shot or two. I made her ride in circles for a bit while I snapped away, and then I parked her on a nearby bench while we finished our conversation and I made some more images and cracked jokes.
In talking to Kate I realized how vital photography has become to me, especially as a means for meeting interesting new people. Every one of these sessions has allowed me to get to know my fellow image-makers on a personal level and yielded some amazing stories. These are conversations I would never have had were it not for my camera and the passion I have for using it.
For example, I wouldn’t know that Kate has two masters degrees and taught in Guatemala. I wouldn’t know about the horrible accident that Nate Burrell recently recovered from. I wouldn’t know about the sweet shooting location that Bryan Sutter showed me, and a host of other things. I have no idea how this series might evolve, but I do know that I want to meet more photographers and hear more stories, both of which enrich my life to no end.
And it’s all because of this silly little camera.