So most of you Durbanites might have seen her roaming the markets and beach front. Camera in hand, carrying a funky style and a sharp, humorous tongue. She can capture portraits in such a charming way, lighting always right and never shy of atmosphere. BOW Design (Birds On a Wire) owner and blog writer Kathy shared with Creative Stream about her passion – photography & design.

{Below: Wedding photographed by Kathy}

I believe Kathy not only holds an eye for graphic and web design but she explores photography, specifically people, in such a beautiful way with her trusted Canon. I am excited to share with you about this down to earth and honest women. I like her portraits and her style, I like her frank personality and her eagerness for honesty. She gives great advice if you venturing into photography or already hold a passion for it, read on … 

1- Tell us about BOW? What do you offer?

BOW Design is something I started in late 2009 when the company I worked for liquidated during the recession. We offer both graphic and web design, but the majority of our work is print based advertising.

2- When did you know graphic design was for you? Did you have a natural knack for design?

I guess it was when my mom dragged me to Durban and told me I was going to start studying it. I had great plans of living on an island as a divemaster, but alas it wasn’t to be. Good thing too as the island I was on in Thailand was hit pretty hard by the Tsunami.

I wouldn’t say I have a natural talent with regards to graphic design, I was one of those jack of all trades, master of none kind of children, so I never stuck with anything long enough to get really good at it. I’d say that 80% of the time you’re creating work to a specific brief on an extremely tight deadline and the other 20% is where you can give your creativity free reign.

3- What is the graphic design market like at the moment and do you do anything else that runs long side your design career?

For us, I’d say it’s pretty good. We have some really great clients that have been with us from the beginning. Cultivating new clients is pretty tricky and there are a ton of small agencies and freelancers in Durban to compete with. For us service really is key.

4- I know you take photographs and are very good at it! Tell us where that passion started and how?

I’ve always loved photography. I used to take my point and shoot film camera everywhere with me when I was younger but printing photos became so expensive that I gave it up. I really only took it up again a couple of years ago.

5- Do you have any photographic tips for us?

Practice, practice, practice and practice some more. Get an SLR and forget that the green auto setting exists. Build a rock-solid foundation, start with the basics and get them right before you go any further. Learn all the rules before you start to break them. Don’t try to turn your hobby into a business until you really are good enough to charge a competitive rate.

6-  Can you tell us about your favorite photograph and why?

Wow this is hard. I reckon it’s the pic I took of my grandfather’s brother in Joburg. It’s not perfect, but it embodies exactly who he is.

{Kathy: My grandfathers brother. He’s 78 and still plays tennis once a week}

7- Can you share with us your most fun or accomplished design project thus far?

BuDDys Designated Drivers. We created their logo, website and promotional material. They’re a fun company to work with and pretty much gave us free reign to do as we saw fit. Their emphasis is on the DD’s in their logo so we had some fun with that as well.

8- What kind of photography do you enjoy doing? Stills, Landscapes, people, fashion, creative….?

People, people and more people. I love candids, for me it’s about capturing a person interacting with others or their environment, I’m really drawn to happy people. I’ve got this thing about capturing people’s faces and I tend to zoom right in for the head and shoulders shot so I really have to force myself to zoom out so people can get a bit of context as well.

9- What camera are you using?

Canon EOS 5D MKII. I waited months for the MKIII to come out so that the price would drop enough for me to afford it. I’m just stoked to finally have a full-frame camera.

10- If someone wants to go into the graphic design field, what qualification or steps do you recommend them looking into, should they be just out of school etc.

I’d recommend getting at least a diploma if not a degree. You really need to learn as much as possible before you start working and companies are more likely to hire you with some qualifications behind you. People wanting to get into the field also need to be aware that 75% of their career is going to be spent deep-etching and only a tiny margin of your work will be completely your own baby.

{Kathy: Muth Suter – I love this pic, it was taken at one of the Gunslinger Pushes on the beachfront. It makes me think of California.}

{Kathy: Moses Mabhida – I like the symmetry.}

11- Why does photography blow your hair back?

Photography is a way for me to give my creativity an outlet. I’ve never been the best at translating things in my head onto paper but knowing your camera backwards can allow you to take a moment in time and preserve it any way you want to.

12- Tell us about your blog?

Ah my blog, I have been a bit neglectful. It’s going to call childline one of these days. Cherish is a way for me to share all the people and places that inspire me with anyone who cares to read it. I also use it as a kind of library so I can go back and revisit things without having to write it all down on a piece of paper I’m only going to lose anyway.

13- What do you love about blogging?

It’s all me. I can decide what I want to write about, when I want to write it and it gives me a good excuse to trawl the internet late at night.

14- Who is your favorite artist/photographer etc.?

I have a few but if you’ve read my blog you will have noticed that I’ve done a couple of posts on Kalle Gustafsson. He’s a Swedish fashion and lifestyle photographer and I’m completely in love with his style. Jose Villa  is one of my favourite wedding photographers. He shoots on film so he really manages to get the light to wrap around his subjects and the colours are nicely muted. Locally I like Andrew Brauteseth‘s work a lot. He does a lot of commercial work but still manages to find the time to get creative and get out there and just take pictures.

15- If you could have coffee with anyone- who would it be?

It might sound cliché but Annie Leibovitz . She has such a massive body of work behind her, specifically in portraiture. She’s pretty controversial at times as well so I find that quite intriguing.

16- And lastly, what do you rate most about where you live?!

The wildlife on a Friday and Saturday night and the drunken mating calls of said wildlife. No I’m just kidding although things can get pretty rowdy. I like that we’re so central, everything is really only a 5 minute drive away. Loads of great restaurants, the beach, parks, shops and friends all within the same small part of the world.

{Kathy:bf-tree , Just a pic I took on Florida Road}

{Kathy: Ché – She was laughing at something Rick said and you know how hard it is to get her to relax in front of the camera}

{Kathy: Dee Collard – My grans best friend throughout her entire life}

Pretty creative women don’t you think??

Thanks Kathy for sharing your photographs and your time with us. You’re awesome! 

Please be sure to check out more of Kathy’s work on Facebook and blog and website.


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