Uncliqued Creatives: Katelyn Cassidy, Photographer
You may have booked a photographer for your wedding, or a florist for an event, but the story behind the art is often more beautiful and inspiring than the art itself. Not all artists are the same, and their histories may surprise you. These are their stories - the Uncliqued Creatives.
“My biggest fear is the idea of being bored.”
Luckily for Katelyn Cassidy, her life is anything but boring. Her boldness and willingness to try new things has formed her into one of the most intriguing individuals I have ever spoken to.
“I’ve always struggled with choosing just one thing,” Cassidy said, “but I think there’s a lot of strength to that. The idea of stagnation is hard.”
She grew up wanting to be a writer, so she went to college to study English and Psychology. But the job she got to pay the bills during her freshman year changed the course of her life forever.
This English major, who had never participated in a science fair in her life, decided to apply for a work-study job in a lab. It was while she helped a fellow student who worked in the lab study flash cards for an exam that she realized she might be more interested in science than she had ever believed.
“Something about that work-study job sounded bizarre and interesting enough for me to interview for it, but once I got into the science, I realized I could do hands on stuff in a lab that could really amount to something. So I switched my major midway through freshman year.”
She blew through college, staying summers and taking independent studies and research opportunities every chance she got. She graduated Summa Cum Laude a semester early with a degree in microbiology.
“I am heavily pragmatic,” she explained. “I consider my time to be a resource.”
Which is why post-graduation, when she was working in drug discovery but not advancing in her career, she decided to attend grad school at Dartmouth, where, after rotating through several labs, she recently switched departments into biochemistry/molecular and systems biology. Currently, when she is not collaborating with other labs, her focus is on studying cell signaling in cancer.
Working toward a PhD sounds like it would be time consuming enough for one person, but in 2015, she not only got married, but took up an additional hobby-turned-career: photography.
“I was burning out doing the same thing every day,” Cassidy said. “I have always sculpted or painted when I was younger. I was always encouraged to work hard but to have a creative outlet growing up.”
So when she was approached in August 2015, two weeks after her own wedding, and asked to photograph a wedding for which they had no photographer, she couldn’t say no. Cassidy’s father, who is a skilled photographer, laid the groundwork when she was younger by teaching her how to use a film camera, and her husband, who is a hobbyist photographer, talked her through using a digital camera during the 8-hour wedding day.
She admitted that her own recent wedding was a huge lifesaver in making it through her first big photography gig, but, because of it, finding her own creative voice behind was the biggest challenge.
“I’ve always been really good at replication: instead of tracing I can draw from memory,” she explained. “I felt like this first set of pictures wasn’t super unique, because I had just gotten married, and I had spent so much time looking at different photos. I didn’t really get the creative side down until I got more comfortable behind camera, and that came from second shooting.”
Today, the creativity, and the ability to combine styles, is her favorite aspect of photography, as she takes elements of fine art and strives to incorporate it into her work.
She began by photographing weddings for friends, but this year, her business has soared. She has booked one primary wedding a month, which she will second shoot with her husband.
Simultaneously, she is beginning her final year of her doctoral program.
“It’s a challenge to try to find balance,” Cassidy said. “But once I stepped into this role as a photographer, I realized I could work less hours and be just as productive if I was happier while I was working. I really value multidimensionality. I feel like people who burn out are the ones who can’t see the forest for the trees.”
As Cassidy prepares for life after graduation, when she hopes to do postdoctoral research at a lab followed by finding an associate editor position at a journal, she doesn’t intend to let her photography fall by the wayside. In fact, she has big plans for that aspect of her life, as well.
Cassidy would like to start doing destination weddings and elopements, both in the American West and in other countries, particularly Iceland, Italy and Greece.
“I am looking specifically for couples that are creative, fun and love adventure,” she said. “I want to build friendships with them. I want to go off on an adventure with them.”
To learn more about Katelyn Cassidy’s photography, visit her website www.tinselandtimberphoto.com. She currently lives in Hanover, New Hampshire, with her husband and pets. Check out some of her photography below.