Homegrown photography talent at Brooklyn School

I just want to share some of the awesome work produced by the Brooklyn School kids who chose to do the photography elective I taught this term. We printed five photos per child, made a poster advertising an exhibition by internationally renowned photographers, and staged a Grand Opening of the exhibition on Monday (complete with some dramatic ribbon-cutting from Louis).

Most of the kids are shooting on their phones, so there was little point dwelling on the technical aspects of photography. Instead the classes were all about learning to see things differently; changing your perspective, looking for light and texture, and zeroing in on your subject to eliminate distractions and create a strong, simple composition.

Over the last few weeks we’ve looked at colour abstracts, shadows and documentary photography, and we’ve experimented with video lights and prisms. We took lots of portraits, and even did a “Humans of Brooklyn” trip down to the local shops, where they had to interview their subjects and find out something interesting. Each week it was so rewarding to download the kids’ work and see them trying out the ideas we talked about.

I am so proud of what they’ve achieved. These guys are only Years 5-8: I’d be proud to have taken these photos!


Amy Thompson


Sophia Stephens


Joshua Tane-Wheeler


Hunter Watson


Leon Baddeley


Kaia Larkin


Louis Case


Miriane Mottin Rutledge


Khalid Abdelrazig


Ruby Kendall


Niamh Speir


Sarah Walker


By Hunter Watson


Joshua Tane-Wheeler


Sophia Stephens


Amy Thompson


Leon Baddeley


Sarah Walker


Ruby Kendall


Miriane Mottin Rutledge


Connie Chang


Kaia Larkin


Lola Hendry


Niamh Speir


Louis Case


Jessica Tilney

Allison - December 6, 2017 - 6:50 pm

Having had the privilege of attending the opening of the exhibition, I must say I was blown away with the work these photographers produced.

They look even better on the screen – the colour and clarity improves.

Thank you Catherine for sharing your enthusiasm and passion and thank you children for your work. Good luck for the future.

Vicki Bealing - December 7, 2017 - 8:49 am

These are totally amazing! What talent! And a great teacher :)

rachel - December 7, 2017 - 9:01 am

Fantastic array of work; I am so impressed with the photographers!

Victoria Vincent - December 7, 2017 - 9:13 am

What wonderful photographs. I love the abstract ones. How lucky they are to have such an inspiring introduction to Photography. Well done.

Catherine - December 7, 2017 - 9:49 am

Thank you so much, everyone!! The kids are pretty proud of themselves and will be thrilled to hear you love what they came up with. :)

Jo Smith - December 7, 2017 - 11:25 pm

Wow, some really interesting and very cool work in there, well done guys and well done Catherine!! Brilliant!

Catherine - December 8, 2017 - 8:48 am

Cheers Jo! :) :)

Erena - December 8, 2017 - 3:05 pm

I hope the local press was present at the exhibition opening. The standard of work is so high it would be lovely to share it with as many people as possible. Most impressive. Congratulations all round.

Catherine Cattanach - December 10, 2017 - 11:52 am

Thanks Mum, you’re quite right – definitely newsworthy :)

At the Edge of Art – book launch

Woohoo – we made a book!! We had the launch party last night for At the Edge of Art, a book about my husband Alistair’s engineering company Dunning Thornton Consultants (DTC), in particular about retiring director Adam Thornton. It was written by my good friend Alan Perrott, whom I met at journalism school in 1995, and who was a feature writer for the NZ Herald for nigh-on 20 years. It was pretty awesome to work together on this; he did the main bit (i.e. writing a book!!) while I did the project management, the photography, the editing and the cover design. It kind of took over our lives for a while, but it’s been really great. Alan swore from the outset that he was damned if he was going to write a boring book about engineers, and… he certainly hasn’t. It’s a great read, about a company that has always been on the cutting edge of engineering. A lot of Wellingtonians will know about the Museum Hotel move – that was these guys. Others put it in the Too Hard Basket, but DTC decided they could give it a crack, and successfully shunted it along on railway bogies. Adam is a visionary and it was great to see such a great turnout on Thursday night at Macs Brewbar to celebrate his career. The multi-talented author Alan (aka AlanP, of the House of Bamboo) hid from the limelight behind his turntables. He DJd the night; after driving down from Auckland with his van full of fake bamboo plants, flower leis, ruffly shirts and lots of rekkids. It was ALL GOOD.

Sharon - November 19, 2017 - 10:37 am

Wow, I had no idea you were doing this project! Looks great!

Erena - November 20, 2017 - 8:23 am

Classy! A lot of work but what a great result.

Catherine Cattanach - November 20, 2017 - 8:56 am

Thanks Sharon and Erena! Alan and I are feeling pretty stoked. I will have to show you a copy! x

Author photos for spiritualist Yuan Tze’s new book

So it turns out that a language barrier is no barrier at all when taking portraits. I’ve never photographed someone before where we had absolutely no language in common (apart from babies I guess!). I was curious as to how it would go, but Yuan Tze and I had no problems at all. His lovely wife Melissa was on hand to help out with the odd bit of translation, but we found a connection just fine. He exudes warmth and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting him. Yuan Tze lived through the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution, and is now a life cultivation teacher of wisdom, clarity and compassion. You can read about his story here.


Annie - September 22, 2017 - 2:29 pm

The language is not spoken to connect in Qi🤗

Catherine - September 22, 2017 - 3:29 pm

Well said, Annie! :)

Lily, 8 months

Lily is the adorable baby daughter of Nicki and Richard, whose wedding I photographed in late 2015. She was just amazing in this studio shoot; not a single grizzle. She’s such a little goer – she was pretty new to crawling but had mastered it in no time. At one point I resorted to trying to barricade her into place behind a low stool, which bought me all of extra three seconds… :)