It's Q&A time with one of our favourite bloggers — Katie Quinn Davies, photographer, food stylist and author. www.whatkatieate.com
real living: What lead up to the creation of What Katie Ate?
Katie: When I decided to switch careers back in 2009 from graphic designer to photographer, I enrolled in some refresher photography courses at Swinburn Uni in Melbourne. It was on the persistent advice of one my photography tutors that I start a blog, he felt it would serve as a great online portfolio for my work and get my photography out to a wider audience in a smarter fashion.
real living: What do you think makes your blog so popular?
Katie: I think it’s the standard of the photos and styling which has made WKA so popular and the size of the posts I upload, it’s rustic feel and dark and moody pics at times has also garnered me a lot of interest. I also show editorials I have worked on for magazines and they are always popular. I tend to be an ‘all or nothing’ sort so when I do put up posts they are in general, quite generous and I often will cook, style and shoot very large themed posts. I like people to see my blog posts in an editorial sense, like you are getting ‘mini-magazine’ style posts. Also juggling regular Mon-Fri commercial photo work means I sometimes find it very difficult to update the blog as frequently as I would like, so I tend to plan larger posts which I do in one big go and give readers enough content to keep then going for a while until I can get the next post up.
real living: Where does your passion for food and photography come from?
Katie: I have always been creative and adored photography from a young age. When I worked in design I would commission and art direct a lot of shoots for my print jobs. I’ve loved being in photos studios since college so being in one always feels comfortable to me. My love of cooking stems from my fondness to throw great big dinner parties for friends. I got into cooking really only in my early 30’s, I don’t come from a foodie family, although my mum was an amazing baker and threw a great party too. All my love of food has come from enjoying meals with friends and family, eating out and experimenting in the kitchen with recipes I have tasted and loved on my travels here and overseas.
real living: You must shoot so many tasty dishes – how do you decide which recipes appear on the blog?
Katie: When I am writing recipes for the blog I base them around what’s in season at that given time. Then weather and time of the year comes into play in regards to lighting so that will affect the dishes I choose. There are foods which style and shoot better than others so that’s always a deciding factor too. For example cakes and pies are a lot easier to style than cookies and cupcakes. Same goes for a pizza versus a steak.
real living: We hear you're publishing a book. Is it a natural progression from doing the blog? How did the idea come about?
Katie: I was approached back in late 2010 by publishing director at Penguin’s Lantern division, Julie Gibbs, who asked me if I’d like to cook, style and shoot a WKA cookbook. I was quite taken aback as the blog had only been running for six month’s proper at the time but I grabbed it with two hands and ran with the idea. I ended up designing the book too as after 12 years working as a designer it was too difficult for me to pass that job on to someone else esp. for my first book.
real living: Do you think you have a creative advantage as both a stylist and photographer?
Katie: Yes, whilst my main work sees me in the role of photographer only and I tend to keep styling and photography only for the blog, I do think it helps a lot when on food shoots and working with other food and prop stylists as I understand the processes more of what they are dealing with.
real living: Successful blogger, photographer, stylist, author – what next?
Katie: Maybe Mum? I’ve put a few personal goals on hold over the past 2 years in order to focus on the blog and getting the first book completed, so hopefully 2013 offers me the opportunity to explore other areas of my life.
real living: Describe your ideal design style.
Katie: Regarding interior design, I’m fond of a mix of styles, I love mixing old with new and mixing classic pieces together. My ideal house would be painted stark white throughout with fabrics, pictures, furniture and accessories providing the colour throughout. I love houses full of books and paintings and mis-matched rugs, piles of books, cushions thrown around on old worn fabric covered Chesterfield sofas. I love vintage industrial and lots of typography and pen & ink illustration in paintings and prints.