Photographer / Blaire Hawes / @imagesbyclairecatherine
Can you tell us about yourself?
I am a self taught fine art and editorial photographer from Phoenix, Arizona. I am a mother of 3 girls, ages 9, 7 and 4. My middle child is on the Autism Spectrum and this has dynamically changed my gaze as an artist. I am a lover of art and science, and love to aid in philanthropic endeavors, mostly having to do with animals and neurodiveristy.
How do you define photography?
Snapshot of real time.
Did you dream of something else when you (were grown up)? How did everything start?
No, I am a classically trained Ballerina. My goal from age 2 was to become a professional ballet dancer. I was injured at age 19 and had to stop. Fashion has always played a role in my life, and I studied the iconic images of the 90s. Sally Mann, Mark Borthwick and Helmut Newton were my main focus of film study. Physically taking images was something that I started about 8 years ago as a way of creative outlet and to document my children and their lives. I find beauty in the mundane day to day things we have to do. I have always been fascinated by light, and would ask my parents to let me watch sunsets and be outside during golden hour as a child. When I began taking photographs of people, I realized that there was lack of professionals who would take the time to photograph people of disability. It was in that moment, I knew that this was my calling. I have made it my mission to gift quality images to families with children of terminal illness, and also with developmental and physical disabilities. I do that for free while I pursue my love of fashion imagery.
What is the meaning of the word PASSION to you?
That feeling that if you stopped, you would die. This is how I feel about taking photos. It gives me life.
Since the photography techniques and equipment change quickly, it is important to stay up-to-date. What do you do to always keep up with the times?
Study, and then study some more. I can't get enough books on the photograph. I do not like to be typically "on trend." I religiously to study techniques used in past fashion images, so that should my "new" things break I can still rely on what I have on hand.
Which one is your favorite lens and why do you prefer it?
I love my simple 50mm prime. It's light, and it gives me excellent tight portraits.
Who influenced you the most? Is there any other photographer that you considers as a kind of idol?
My children have influenced me the most. The most influential photographer of our time I would say, is Sally Mann. Her work speaks to me as she documented her life as it was, and often was shamed for it.
In your free time, what kind of pictures do you like to shoot?
I have an ongoing series called #sixclicks It is of my daughter who is on the Autism Spectrum.
What, in your opinion, is most important to consider while shooting portrait pictures?
What has been your favourite place or subject to photograph? Children. They are the purest form of expressive freedom.