When Kathryn Ann Waller sat in her AP art class junior year of high school and started learning how to properly use a digital camera, she had no idea it would lead her to be in Vogue Italia and various other magazines, and turn this hobby into her true passion.
Waller, a senior advertising student at the University of Georgia, grew up in Savannah and developed her skills with a camera by taking portrait photos of her friends and family. As her photography skills gradually developed, Waller later added landscape photography and hundreds of college graduates into her portfolio as well.
What started as a hobby in August of 2015 transitioned into a personal business in December 2017, and since then, Waller has photographed over 500 college graduates, 55 families and for 10 corporations, she said.
Waller has photographed college graduates from Georgia College and State University, Georgia Southern University and UGA. She began taking these portraits while attending Georgia College, and it only continued from there, leading her to take pictures from all over the state.
After she came to Athens, she noticed the town had a creative environment full of many talented individuals. This made her feel intimidated to go into Athens once she transferred due to the photography competition, but she learned to love it, Waller said.
“I wasn’t very confident from the start with my business for some reason,” Waller said. “I was a little nervous about everything, but I ended up taking some grad pictures in Athens and joined Talking Dog Agency, and that opened up a whole other side of my business.”
With the creative atmosphere Athens provides, Waller was able to meet new people and gain inspiration from other photographers and vice versa. Stephanie Lopez, a junior advertising major from Suwanee, felt she gained valuable insight by working alongside Waller at Talking Dog.
“I enjoyed getting to see her whole method and style with photography,” Lopez said. “It’s cool to see how she worked and how she interacted with clients, and I was able to gain more confidence in my photography from that.”
Waller’s passion led to her images featuring the Vogue label in the corner of her select photos. Photographers all over the world can enter their photos in Vogue Italia’s PhotoVogue, and Waller was able to make it through certain submission rounds and eventually land a feature on PhotoVogue’s blog.
Her first photo to get approved by Vogue Italia was of a man in Central Park reading a book. Since then, she has had five photos approved and posted on Vogue Italia’s website.
“Sometimes they’re on the blog for people to see and sometimes they get moved to different rounds for editorial submissions, which I’ve had a few make it to,” Waller said. “It’s really cool to see the Vogue label on the corner of my photo, and it’s cool that photographers can submit to a blog like that and get that sort of recognition.”
Waller continues her passion for photography because of how much she loves the emotion wrapped up in a photograph. The ability to freeze a moment and wrap the human experience up with it is just another reason why she continues to pursue this hobby and passion.
“I take pictures because I love being able to freeze a moment, like when I’m with my friends and we’re all together, and I can look back and they’re still really important to me,” Waller said.
She is currently working on a project called “People I Love,” which consists of a coffee table book full of portraits of her loved ones that she’s collected over the past three to four years. She said she wants to remember them in this way because they have been a constant support system throughout her photography journey.