Laura Cartledge discovers how the desire to ‘do good’ and a lifelong passion have combined for one photographer.
During the years, thanks to her camera, Christine Hayter has captured the likes of film stars and rock stars – but she wants to prove that photography’s potential doesn’t end there.
“There are important things photography can do other than taking pictures of beautiful people for beautiful magazines,” she says simply.
“I think it can move people and I want to use it to show what’s not normally seen.”
However this desire ‘to do something good’ almost saw her leave her lifelong passion behind.
“I went through a phase when I thought ‘shouldn’t I be doing more than photography like looking into the UN?’” admits Christine.
“But photography is what I love so I need to make it happen.”
Thankfully a trip to India made it clear she could combine the two.
“It was really an amazing experience for me,” she smiles. “I take my camera everywhere with me but I didn’t have any expectations.
“What really stuck me was how wide spread poverty is, especially as people kept telling us ‘it is a rich and developed country now’.”
Building on this Christine plans to venture into photo journalism beginning with a three month trip to Sri Lanka.
“I’m going to be in the north and my aim is to show the war from the other side,” she explains.
“It doesn’t sound very glamorous, but it is what I want to do. I think it is important to put it out there.”
It is clear Christine is no stranger to going where she has to in order to chase her dreams.
In fact, while it didn’t involve a passport or air travel, even Christine’s first step showed courage as she swapped Eastbourne for the big city aged just 18.
“I went as soon as I finished my A-levels, in 2008,” she recalls.
“While I was studying for my exams I was applying for jobs and the timing worked marvellously – as soon as I finished I got invited for an interview and I got the job.
“It was a big confidence boost that at 18 I could do it, but it wasn’t all easy,” she admits.
“In London the challenge is keeping your head above the water financially and to do that, with photography alone, is one of my biggest achievements.”
Believing her age helped give her ‘a fresh approach’ Christine admits it also ‘got an awful lot of the older photographer’s backs up’.
“They would say ‘I’ve been doing this for 20 years’,” she reveals.
“But it’s about being confident enough to say ‘I love this job and I am good at it’.
“You can’t get downhearted,” adds Christine, “there is so much competition out there and it is not just about being a good photographer.
“You have to be able to get on with your clients, it’s about people skills, and you have to make people feel comfortable.”
People, and in particular faces, are a popular subject for Christine as she enjoys the challenge of bringing out ‘their sparkle of personality’.
“I like the fact everyone has a story and you can capture that,” she enthuses.
“I work closely with BMA Modelling Agency and they call me when they want something more creative from their models – I get a buzz out of that.”
The variety and the creativity are important as Christine reveals ‘I would get bored if it was all the same’.
There’s certainly no risk of that, so what have been her favourite projects so far?
“London Fashion Week is really fun,” Christine replies. “I’ve worked with the cast members of Game of Thrones and Harry Potter and got to photograph The Maccabees live at the O2.
“I’ve done pieces for Mojo magazine, had front pages and got my photo of James More, the sexy magician from Britain’s Got Talent, published in Dubai which was cool,” she adds. “I also work really closely with some of the Next Top Models.”
However, after Sri Lanka, Christine has her sights set on home.
“I plan to move back to Eastbourne in the summer next year,” she confirms. “I’ll be looking for a studio because I want to bring the skills I’ve learnt in London down here and I think there is a gap for it.”
For more information, visit www.christinehayter.com
November 21, 2014 Travel and Lifestyle