Kat Hannon is a freelance commercial photographer. She recently photographed kissing couples in romantic locations around the city as part of the #loveinchester campaign.
“I started out at Salford Uni studying a BA honours Fashion and Styling Degree. After that I moved to London and started assisting and doing internships at places like Arena magazine. That was me in London then!” Over the years Kat has worked with some high profile clients including Mercedes Benz, EMI, Toni and Guy and many others.
“Its a mixture of working with artists and bands and PR. ” Kat shot the first PR campaign for London band, Captain, in 2007. She says that she “photographed Sam Smith 2 weeks before he got signed. That was awesome. It was dead quick as well, he was doing a gig at Hope House in London, the guy who was managing the event asked me if I minded doing some shots of the guys playing. We spent five minutes together!” she laughs.
Kat Hannon : “I’ve got a bit of a crush on Chester”
Kat says that her work is quite varied, but her personal interests are fashion and music. “Marketing and PR is a good umbrella term to describe the work that I do”
Kat moved to Chester in October 2013 and I asked her about why she came to the city:
“I got pregnant!” she replied. She decided London wasn’t the best place to raise a family. “I’m from Wigan.. we didn’t want to do it in Wigan, didn’t want to do it in Manchester because I was a student there. ” Kat liked Chester and used to visit her sister in law who lived here. “We would go and see them but we didn’t really see Chester. ” Kat lived in Richmond before Chester and saw some similarities with Chester particularly the River. Like many adopted Cestrians she soon fell in love with the city
“Chester was beautiful. We only visited it a couple of times before we knew it was the place. 2 hour train journey to London so it was a no brainer.”
Kat’s base is now in Chester but she has clients all over the region and beyond.
“I did a photoshoot at the Abode at the end of last year and its just been printed in the March edition of The Cheshire. (Lifestyle magazine.) We did a collaboration with Majestic models and The Hat Shop, and Rigby’s jewellers. I started a group as well “Chester creative projects” its in its early days, its a platform for anyone wanting to produce images for whatever project they have going on. ” She says that she was glad to hear of the launch of a similar co working hub being established by @IndustryChester as part of the One Chair project on Northgate st – see https://shitchester.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/the-one-chair-project/
“The kissing campaign was the most recent project I did with marketing Cheshire and Big Heritage. Marketing Cheshire gave me a buzz..” she says, and there was a quick turnaround on the project which had to be delivered in the week before Valentines day.
During the shoot “people stopped and asked what we were doing, and then when we told them, they said “isn’t that lovely” .It generated the best reactions from people, it wasn’t pretentious, it was people having a little kiss in a nice place. They were all actual couples, we had ten days to do the whole thing!” She has received 10 enquiries about work based on the success of the campaign.
With alternative romantic locations over the city suggested such as the Rosies smoking area, the back of the Blacon parade, and the 24 hour asda, I asked Kat what sort of places she associated with romance ?
“Personally.. anywhere where you can have a cheeky feel, doesn’t have to be dark!.Just a but of a public display of affection.”
Moving onto a series of questions found via googling “Questions to ask a photographer”
What motivates you as a photographer ?
“It’s the same as daydreaming.. Opportunities arise and you turn that dream into reality. It sounds complex but its not..”
What tips would you give to aspiring photographers ?
“There are so many people now… Talk to other photographers who are doing what you want to be doing, is the best way. Go and assist, go and try it, if you fail just go and try it again. Its a very competitive market- I’m finding in all industries its the same. Its creating more division and sub categories than competition…
Is everyone a photographer in the cell phone and Instagram age?
“That’s like saying is everyone a painter because they can pick up a paintbrush which people have been doing for hundreds of years. No. everyone does have a vision, everyone does have an eye.. if they want to turn that into something else that’s up to them. Everyone has it in them !
Is everything a photo opportunity , or are you a normal person when you dont have a camera in your hand?
“Everything is a picture and I have to tell myself , when I dont have my camera, dont worry about it. Its a hard lesson to learn. Just enjoy it! I used to do weddings, but I dont do them anymore. The highlight of that was going to friends weddings and not being able to see them because you were shooting the wedding, and feeling like you hadn’t been there. If I go to events I like to be there myself and take part.
Is Chester on the up?
“I think Chester is on the up, but there seems to be an undercurrent of people not letting it. I dont think they can stop it, there is too many people migrating out of London and big cities because of over saturation, they are finding new places to go and Chester is like a hidey hole of greatness! People dont want to tell you it exists, but people who are here love it and protect it. Theres the odd person who is saying “oh what are you talking about Chester is shit! But if you go anywhere its a bit shit ! Because that’s the world!”
“I think Chester is going to be up there with Liverpool and Manchester. The tourism side of things is a fantastic platform for people to use, for other industries to use as a way of letting people know we exist.”
How can Chester promote its events more ?
“When I drive from Northgate , by the fountains roundabout , there is an awesome view of the Welsh hills. I was thinking of sticking a big electric billboard, which lights up with the sunset behind it. A bit like Las Vegas but more beautiful! I thought we could have a rotating restaurant , another thing to do in Chester at night! My husbands a builder and I’m in marketing so I think together we could do this!” Kat may be joking
What are your strengths and weaknesses ?
“I have been thinking about it all night, and I decided it was my left hook, and high notes, I can’t decide between them .”
Are you good working in a team, or do you prefer working as an individual?
I like working for myself but I like in terms of my projects, to work with people. That’s why the collaborations stuff comes about, because you can’t sit on your own.
Where do you want to be in five years time?
I want to be in California, dreaming. I want to be shooting film posters, and bring them back here and see them on our bus stops, and then I want to take a selfie by it. I want to be posting it and saying “go see the movie at our new cinema that’s been built in Chester !”
Thanks Kat !