“I’m a harpist, and I hired [Kate] to do my new headshots. At my session, she was engaging, funny, and always smiling. She made me feel completely comfortable, and her ideas were so creative (she helped carry my instrument into a field, and we chased the afternoon sunlight until the last possible moment). ” – Krysten Keches ’14 M.M.
If you Google “Kate Lemmon,” the top two results are “Kate L Photography: Boston Family Photographer” and “Kate Lemmon, flutist.” Usually, you could assume these were the sites of two different people, but this is a unique name. With her entrepreneurial sensibility, Kate Lemmon ’14 M.M. has established herself as a top-notch photographer, providing her clients not only with high-quality photos, but also with unforgettable experiences that shatter the notion that sessions have to be awkward and uncomfortable. Since graduating from NEC with a Masters of Music in Flute Performance, Kate has spent the last year devoted to growing her photography business while remaining an active musician, performing with Phoenix.
How did you get into photography? Like many musicians, I've loved creative projects from a young age. I grew up admiring my mom’s paintings and my dad’s family snapshots, and my room was always filled with craft projects (glitter was banned from our house because I spread it EVERYWHERE!). As I got older, I channeled that creativity into two things: classical music and photography. I received my first SLR camera as a gift before my first summer as a flute student at the Interlochen Arts Camp. That summer, I practiced my portrait skills on anyone who would let me! As with instrumental technique, I've learned the most from my hours practicing with the camera.
Could you talk a little more about how you balance these two artistic passions of flute-playing and photography, and how do they inform one another? I learned very quickly that it wasn't possible to be amazing in both fields at the same time. They say that there's no such thing as true multitasking – your brain just adapts to switching back and forth between tasks at a rapid pace. Even though I'm constantly working to improve my work in both flute and photography, I have to focus on one at a time to really improve.
Luckily, my work in one field allows me a mental break from the other so that I can return with more inspiration than I had before. After taking some time away from flute this year to focus on growing my photography business, I've found a deeper appreciation for and understanding of music. Each art form influences and strengthens my love for the other, and I doubt I would be pursuing either without both!
What is your favorite NEC memory? Performing The Rite of Spring with the NEC Philharmonia right after the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. The violence of the music so perfectly corresponded with the fear that everyone in the city felt at that scary time, and I think the whole orchestra felt proud to have been part of such a powerful and meaningful performance.
What’s the best thing about being a photographer? The ability to help my clients see true beauty. So many people come to me with the disclaimer that they're "so unphotogenic." I think that as long as you're happy, it's impossible NOT to be photogenic, and I love helping to draw out people's happiness in front of the camera.
What are your 5 “desert island” pieces? A mix of classical and non-classical!
Beatles - "Because"
Nat King Cole - "Smile"
Iron & Wine - "Naked as We Came"