Kate Battersby

Kate Battersby

BDes (Hons) Photography

I am Kate Battersby and I grew up in Taupō and went to Tauhara College. My family are really close and we all knew pretty early on that I destined to do something in the arts.

While I enjoyed painting at school, I chose to major in photography at Uni – not sure why as I really hated first year and considered dropping out nearly every day! But I carried on with photography, and that is where I found my people! Because photography is a small department where you get to know your teachers and fellow students pretty well. Helen and Caroline were amazing lecturers. I experimented a lot with the different processes and mediums like embroidery and discovered a passion for making books, which I did for my major project. I never really knew what the world of photography had to offer, but it is a lot bigger than I ever imagined. 

I lived in university accommodation in first year which was a challenge given most of us had never met before and we were all trying to figure out how to live away from home, and adjust to the expectations of life at university. It’s also helpful if your family can support you financially so you can focus on learning all the new things!

I am proud to say I graduated with first class honours, but that’s also when things got tricky. In Auckland I started working part time in a café, doing freelance photography and also design and illustration. I ended up working pretty much for free at a cafe doing their branding and putting together a series of little books that they sold. That was the hardest lesson - learning my worth. No graduate should ever work for free. Ever. You deserve at least minimum wage for your work - like everyone else you have bills to pay and student loans to pay off and "great exposure" isn't going to help you with that. 

Happily I now work as a photographer and designer for Annabel Langbein Media in Auckland and I am soooo lucky to have this job. It’s a full time position photographing food for numerous books and columns and magazine features. That’s not all I do (I also eat a lot of good food) but the list is very, very long. It is really busy but totally rewarding! And I get to see my photographs on the best-seller lists every week!