Alumna Kate Frese pairs up to advise photo student

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Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Photography student Kyra Shackelford, class of 2020,  from Hartford County, MD, is interested in a career in music photography.  Eric Weeks, PCA&D’s chair of photography, suggested she talk to alumna Kate Frese, class of 2014, a Philadelphia based photographer who combines music and sports photography with fine art photography. 

Below are excerpts from the interview with Kate Frese by Kyra Shackelford

Q: What made you get into photography?  How long have you been doing it?

My mother was an amateur photographer, always taking pictures of family events. It was she who bought me my first film camera. I took some classes in high school, but was also into 3D art. I originally began college as a graphic design major; I thought graphic design would have more jobs than photography.

Q: What is it like being a female in this field, Specifically, a female in the music/ sports scene- which is mostly male dominated?

The field is very male dominated. As a female, you are not taken seriously when you first come into it. You have to prove yourself, show them your work, and gain your respect. Be conscious of how you are conducting business, and always stay professional. “keep everything kosher.”

Photo by Kate Frese, in PH310, spring 2013

Photo by Kate Frese, in PH310, Spring 2013.

Q: Which do you prefer to shoot; events such as concerts and sports, or smaller projects more so within the fine art category?

Sports! I randomly got into sports photography during my junior year. The owner of a sports magazine saw my music photography and asked if ever tried sports. I landed an internship right away shooting pro sports and fell in love with it it.

Music photography is similar to sports photography in that it is high action and requires you to be good at catching the moment, and knowing where to position yourself. I have travelled a lot for music . Not as much anymore since I am now rooted in Philly, however i have been to Canada, and have gone on tour with bands up and down the east coast.

Q: Which artists are some of your biggest inspirations?

Gregory Crewdson, Todd Hido- fine art, music- any of the late 80’s New York and DC punk  photographers

Q: What is your best advice for beginning photographers?

  • Networking. Networking is key. Always be professional. Don’t be afraid to send out cold emails, even if you know you might get shot down. Try to get as many internships as possible, starting early, as a lot of companies give people internships only if you are in school. Do research. Doing work for free is the reality for a while. If you are pursuing music, keep working with local bands. You can’t be shy in this field. Make steps such as reaching out to magazines, walking up to the band and introducing yourself, sending cold emails in which you are blunt with your motives. Networking works by word of mouth.  I was previously shy, but my field has helped me grow, and I gradually got more comfortable .
  • Photo editing. Get good with photo editing: edit other people’s photos, as well as your own. I once did a shoot for bomber jackets, and was supposed to only edit the photos, but I ended up getting my own photo on the cover.
  • Website. A photographer’s website is important. I have combined all my work on one website; having all three of Fine Art, Sports, and Music together has really helped me. I advise having photography-based social media, or combining it with personal social media- but go about this wisely. I started out with Facebook, and expanded that when I took a professional practices class during my junior year at PCA&D. When building a website, look at web design, and look at other websites to see how the websites are interactive and how posts are made. Taking the time to respond to comments is extremely important; it helps you build a good fan base.
  • People. Learn to interact with people by instinct. Pick the people you associate with wisely. People are going disrespect work, such as crop watermarks out, but you have to get past it. Photo beef is a reality and is something to avoid .  Be selective of bands you shoot, and who you work with people will associate you with the bands you shoot. Never settle. Prove yourself!

Kate Frese considers herself an artist whose medium is photography. Her work has been published in a number of magazines including New Noise Magazine, Decibel, Alternative Press, and Sports Talk Philly/Flyerdelphia . She has been interviewed for in Miss Millennial Magazine



(Top photo: Kate Frese, by Kyra Shackelford)