Katherine Needles (b.1984) is a documentary and portraiture photographer based in Somerset. She grew up in Portugal and studied Anthropology at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. Katherine began shooting in 2010 when she moved to San Francisco, California after finishing her degree. She has since been published by National Geographic, The New York Times and The Guardian.
Photo Description 1:
My dad first told us he had Motor Neurone Disease in June 2016. It hit our family hard. When he told us about the diagnosis he also asked that we come to be with him at our lake house for the summer. This was the first photo I took of my dad after he was diagnosed. It felt like an extremely poignant moment. It was the beginning of opening up to the truth of his condition for me, maybe even for us.
Photo Description 2:
The lake house is a sacred space for our family. The structure has remained the same since my grandfather bought it in the 1950s. The outdated furniture, chipped paint coming off the walls, old canoeing oars laying around and the rusted back door. This old dilapidated cottage is our place of bliss. Where we swim, run free, read and reflect. Where we can share stories and share with each other.
Photo Description 3:
My six year old niece has an immense depth and a sensitivity to others and their emotions. I caught her here in a moment of reflection. The image reveals a profound ability to go inward at such a young age and is also symbolic of the myriad of emotions we were collectively experiencing around my dad's condition.
Photo Description 4:
In contrast to the previous image, my niece's youth, vitality and curiosity were always on display over the course of the summer. I wanted to capture her explorative nature too. This image represents the freedom and expansiveness of childhood when in contact with the natural environment. The lake has given this to each generation of our family.
Photo Description 5:
My dad allowed me to take his portrait, posing for me the way I might ask many of my subjects to. I wanted to evoke a kind of timelessness - an intimate moment where my dad seems to be forever in his thoughts. The elements composed in this image are meant to draw you right into his gaze and still give you strong sense of place.
- Katherine Needles