The Wenatchee Valley Business World’s “30 Under 35” honors young community leaders. We tap the thoughts of the 2013 honorees in this Sunday interview series.
Kathryn Stevens, 33, owner of Atlas & Elia Photography
“Kathryn Stevens is truly an entrepreneur and visionary,” said the letter nominating her for 30 Under 35 consideration.
After years of training and work as a photojournalist, including a few years at The Wenatchee World, Stevens established Atlas & Elia Photography, her own photography studio.
Since then, she has gained the respect of peers and community members, and her work has been featured in many publications. Her personal approach and artistic style has quickly made her a much-sought photographer for weddings and other family events.
Kathryn also volunteers her time to many community efforts and non-profit organizations around the region.
Q. Who the heck are Atlas and Elia? Why name your photo studio after them, and how do they inspire you?
A. Atlas and Elia are our future potential children’s names! It was a silly idea at the time, but I like silly ideas. It has come to represent the child-like wonder that I hope to have for the rest of my life. When I go out into the world as a visual artist, I believe having the eyes of a child allows me to be more fully-alive. I’m not judging what I see, I’m just experiencing it and seeing it for what it is — and often that is something truly beautiful — and always meaningful. This is how I approach my wedding photography as well.
Q. When did you first realize you had a talent for visualizing and “seeing”? Were you just a kid with a camera? Or did you discover photography when you got older?
A. For much of my life, I didn’t consider myself to be creative or artistic. When I began my career in photography, as a photojournalist, I called myself a “documentarian.” I translated what I saw into photographs, much like a reporter would.
Slowly, though, a “style” began to emerge and I began to feel something when I translated the scene in front of me through my own visual language. This is when I felt most alive and I understood what it meant to be a creative person.
Now, I am “seeing” all of the time. Art is everywhere for me and so I feel really alive and aware of that all of the time now! I believe this is what it means to be an artist. I also believe that everyone has this capacity, they just need to become aware of it and practice it (relentlessly).
Q. How would you describe your style of shooting weddings and other events? What else sets your photography business apart from the dozens of others in the region?
A. First, I am a full-time professional photographer. Second, I am a full-time wedding and portrait photographer only. I am highly-specialized in this area because this is the only thing I photograph.
The great thing about my wedding photography, though, is that it encompasses documentary photography, portrait photography, still-life and landscape photography, all into one day! So, I am continually practicing each type within the framework of a wedding day. This is one of the reasons that I love weddings so much. The other reason is that I love people. And, I believe this is the heart of my business. It is why I do what I do.
Q. Fantasy time: Ten years from now (2024), how have you contributed to the Wenatchee Valley’s social, educational or business communities?
A. Ideally, I will have contributed in all three areas. In general, though, I will have worked to provide fun experiences that promote learning and community interaction.
In fact, I have a fun, new series I’m launching that is highly social and educational, and will, for sure, benefit our business community. It’s called “Selfie Sundays,” and it’s a five-week series of classes where we’ll meet (on Sundays) with whatever camera you own (you can even use your cell phone) to learn about portraiture (and the “art of the selfie”), learning to “see the light,” how to “explore with your camera” and “learning to see”.
For more information you can go to my site: atlasandelia.com/blog or to my Facebook page at facebook.com/AtlasandEliaPhotography.
— Mike Irwin, World staff