Kathryn Younger hasn’t even started university yet but she’s already making considerable leaps in the photography industry. At 18 years of age, she’s testing with models (such as Oliver Magda and India Hammond), establishing links with designers, selling prints of her images, and even launching her own book covering her travels from picturesque destinations such as Manila and Cebu in the Philippines.
Meeting her was such a pleasure – she is smiley, polite and humble, espousing a charming maturity well beyond her years. Her warmth is emulated through a gentle presence, but when it comes to shooting, she becomes animated and instantly focused.
Her journey started when she received her own camera on her 13th birthday – which sadly broke down some time later! She began developing her interest and understanding of photography. Determined to push herself, she increased her networks, garnering opportunities such as shooting Academy’s menswear collection, assisting photographer Miss Aniela’s workshops and providing support to videographer/editor Mark North (at the British Country Music Awards). Younger is developing her career through assimilating lessons from each experience.
I had the pleasure of photographing the photographer, as well as gaining some insights from this prodigious young talent.
Travel seems to be one of your greatest outlets. Can you tell us how experiences shape your photography style?
To an extent my style is influenced by travelling as it leaves me more inclined to document things as I see them presented before me, so I make the most of what is on location at that moment. I generally avoid masses of planning. This because it is something that I feel isn’t really necessary in my experience. I suppose you can predict how things unfold and to an extent you can set yourself up at the right moment to get THE shot.
What single image (can be anything) has had the most impact on you?
Near impossible question, I think. However, I could say that I have found many of Don McCullin’s war images pretty impacting.
What makes a great subject for photography?
Just things that make you stare. A great subject to me is not necessarily super attractive but just exceptionally photogenic so they have something particularity defining about their look.
Above: Luke Baverstock
Tell us about being so young in the industry. Has it been challenging getting work and establishing a name for yourself?
A friend of mine always says that photography and dancing are the toughest two industries to break into. I think for any freelancer, establishing a name for yourself is going to be difficult. However, I think with the right drive and skills, it’s easily possible. I know that I have got a long way to go in regards to establishing myself but I think my efforts have paid off reasonably well so far.
I think with the right drive and skills, it’s easily possible.
Assisting with world-famous photographer Miss Aniela’s workshops must have been an overwhelming experience. Tell us about that.
It was a little nervous at first but once you get into it… you just get on with it! It’s great to assist with the setting-up of equipment and seeing how other photographers work. Would definitely recommend going to her workshops.
How would you describe your photography style?
I am not too sure about my style yet – I have had a few people mention they can see one there but I still feel it’s something I am working on!
What image in your portfolio are you must proud of?
I am very proud of this image as was commended by Sony a few years back. I cannot seem to bring myself to take it out of my portfolio as I have become attached to it, you could also swap the man for a “strutting Leo”!
The majority of my street/documentary-style images or landscapes are taken through a window or snapped quickly – it now just feels like the norm for me to only think of a shot momentarily and see where things go from there.
Do you have a creative process you tend to follow or do you improvise?
I think that there is only so much of a process you can follow. For instance, you cannot guarantee you will get superb natural light on a location shoot, so I guess you improvise there. For instance, say the model that you thought was really edgy… is actually super sweet or even vice versa!
Above: Elisa Fischer @ Body and Soul
As for my editing, it does tends to follow the same process, as do my shoots. I like to keep things simplistic. I prefer to think of my shoots “as a walk in the park and taking pictures” or if there is more than one look a “cafe crawl”!
there is only so much of a process you can follow…
Tell us more about your cultural identity.
Ok, so I am half English and Filipino, however I’ve lived in England all my life! Furthermore, I look more English than I do Filipino, so it’s amusing to mention it to people and observe their reactions.
I get to travel to the Philippines every few years. However, as I have grown up I have become increasingly conscious about the differences in lifestyle over there compared to here. A trip I took this year was the first time that I have felt that to some extent I have captured it in a way that can present the differences between the two cultures. It is all too easy to show off the beautiful scenery but I wanted reveal it in a different light.
To see more of Kathryn Younger’s work, visit http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/4590026-streets-of-manila-cebu and http://kathrynjayne.wix.com/younger. Interview by Yinsey Wang. Makeup Artist: Donna Oliveiro.