Catherine O’Donnell Photography

As a photographer, I specialise in portraiture, however I also work with brands for commercial/fashion shoots. I am also a qualified teacher and run workshops and tutorials.

I love inpsiring young minds and helping children and young people develop their skills and creativity which helps them to build their self esteem and express themselves through art.

Self Esteem/ Self Portraits
I would love to work with schools on various topics and projects – a project that I would also really love to develop within schools is that of ‘Identity and Building Self Esteem’. This project is suitable for primary upwards and involves students thinking about their unique skills, talents and positive personal traits. They would then create a personal banner e.g. I am kind/I am smart/ I am great at football (or this could be adapted to create a t-shirt or cap budget depending.) They could also choose some unique props and will have the chance to photograph a portrait of each other; they will direct each other and consider composition/poses/expression etc, with the idea of collating all of the images at the end and printing them to create a large collage. This project could use ipads/ cameras/ or I could even set up a tripod/ lighting etc and give students the chance to use one of my professional cameras instead/ or in addition.

“A Day in the Life of” Personal Project
Students will be given cameras/ iPads etc and have the chance to learn about
photography and how it can be used as a tool of self expression. They will be show some works by established photographers and different points of view and consider how certain photographers have used cameras to express ideas and their lives/society.
Students will then be asked to create a documentary style series of 12 images to tell their story and give a glimpse into their worlds. They will then print and display these images giving the series a title and writing a small piece alongside for a mini exhibition.

I am also more than happy to work with schools and students on a number of other
projects in line with themes and curriculums.

For GCSE or sixth form students I could also work with groups of students to set an industry style brief for a fashion or commercial project where they would have to work as a team to create a ‘fashion story.’ This could be set over one day or several days, and also include the chance to use some of my equipment if appropriate. Additional projects could be to work with students to help create and design an album cover using photography – a two day workshop, one day focused on giving students an understanding of the basics of photography, and an afternoon to brainstorm ideas and come up with a concept in groups.

The final day of ‘the shoot’ which will take place within school grounds in the morning and the afternoon will be spent uploading images and working on their covers in photoshop. With GCSE students and above I would also be happy to work with small groups of students with a strong interest in photography and tailor sessions and workshops to suit. With younger students, I could run workshops that consider the different various types of photography, and why it is important in our society, as well as showing some of my work and that of different photographers, they could then have an easy to digest lesson on how to take an interesting picture, and then have a practical project in the afternoon which would see the students work in small groups to create a set of interesting images on a particular theme.

Identity – the Power of the Portrait
A one day workshop, starting with a slideshow and discussion about why portraits are
important – the different types of portraits and how photography can be used to ‘represent’ a person. Students will then have then team up with a partner and imagine they going to be photographing them for a magazine or book cover. they need to find out a bit about them and think about how they would like to photograph them, will the final image be in colour/black and white? How will they be posed? they will then take their photos and if facilities are available upload, edit and print their pictures. (This can be tailored to suit various age groups.)

Capturing the Seasons
A project suitable for primary or middle school children, with use of either ipads, or cameras we will explore the beauty of nature and how to capture beautiful compositions through photography/light and framing, colour, shape and texture. We will look at how other artists have photographed landscapes throughout the seasons, the students will be taken on a nature walk and encouraged to explore their creative sides, printing their favourite work to be displayed in school.

Perfectly Imperfect
A discussion led and practical workshop based on how photographs of people particuarly celebrities are often edited too much, and the worrying effects that this can potentially have on the viewer of these images wellbeing when young people aspire to this unatainable beauty. This workshop will allow a behind the scenes look at some before and after images, and then give students the chance to have a go at editing some images themselves that they have taken to see just what can go into that ‘perfect’ not quite true to life image. The workshop will round up with a discussion about the effects that this unainable sense of beauty can have and how we can overcome it. By understanding the amount of work that go into the images that the students will see in magazines and online will hopefully help to diffuse the myth that beauty is flawless. (aimed at upper schools students or those who have access to editing facilities, though can be tailored to ipad use)