Kathryn Phillips: Choate’s Resident Photographer

Photo courtesy of Kathryn Phillips

Phillips (not pictured) has been taking photos since she was a child, using her father’s camera as her tool.

When she was younger, Kathryn Phillips ’20 would furtively take photos using her father’s camera. Phillips attributes the start of her photography work to a childhood trip to New York. “It started when I was 12 or 13. I was in New York for the first time, and my dad had his camera throughout the trip. I would always sneak a picture or two,” Phillips said recently. “A few months later I found that taking photos explained and relieved a lot of emotions I was feeling at the time.”

In particular, Phillips praised the precision of the messages that photos can deliver to the viewers.

“Of course I love photography, why else would I do it? It is a language that always has a way of saying exactly what I need or want to say,” Phillips said.

Now, pursuing her art here at Choate, Phillips draws inspiration from her emotions — particularly, her anger.

“Anger inspires me,” she said. “Anger is so wasteful when expressed through yelling or negativity. I find that when I am really angry about something, photography helps me clearly explain why. It makes me want to do something with that anger.”

Phillips looks up to photographers who have developed a distinct style.

“I am also really inspired by Man Ray and Sally Mann — both black and white film photographers,” she said. “They are very unique. When you see a photo by them, you instantly know it is their art.”

Phillips described her creative process as organic and spontaneous. “I turn on my camera and start shooting. The best photos are when I am capturing a moment. If I am doing something about fashion, the look of the photos comes naturally. I try not to manipulate my style. Instead, I just take photos of what looks good.”

Phillips is now working on fashion pictorials. “I am currently working on a project with a few students on campus. We are working together to create an artistic fashion street look,” Phillips said. “I first come up with a look, vibe, or theme that I want to portray. After that, it is just about scheduling.”

Phillips said that she enjoys this type of photography because “it is also fun to photograph people you know. When you show them the pictures, the faces are priceless.”

Looking ahead, Phillips holds many plans and projects for her photography work. “I want to work towards fashion editorials in a studio or the City. It is a lot of preparations a makeshift equipment, but it would look amazing if I can pull it off. I also want to do a film project that I print and arrange as a part of a theme,” she said.

More important, Phillips hopes to find the story she would like to tell through her photography. She said, “Funnily enough, I really don’t like my work. I haven’t yet found the story I want to tell. Until I do, the photos will feel bland and the same to me.”

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