An award-winning photographer from Dungiven has revealed how her grandmother’s passion for capturing life on camera inspired her to take up a career behind the lens.
Audrey Kelly has scooped an impressive collection of awards in the last year, including awards in Northern Ireland, UK and USA with SWPP Digital Art Photography of the Year 2015 and PPANI Overall Photographer of the Year 2016 among others.
The 33-year-old said it was her grandmother, the late Theresa Mullan who inspired her.
“My granny was my biggest inspiration. She loved taking pictures and took loads of us on the farm and we. as grandchildren, are so lucky to have them to look back on,” said Audrey.
Making sure her grandmother is very much a part of her business, C2 Photography, Audrey had a piece of zinc from her grandmother’s shed in her second studio in Magherafelt.
“It means I have a piece of her here, with me, but to everyone else it’s just a zinc wall,” explained Audrey.
Mum to Chloe (12), and Cahan (5), Audrey said she has always loved the art of storytelling. The former St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s, Foreglen PS student, studied art at the NWRC in Limavady and went on to study design at Ulster University, Magee campus.
It was only in 2007 that Audrey picked up a camera, which turned out to be a good move and she has fast made a name for herself and her business.
Primarily, a wedding and portraits photographer, Audrey recent expanded her talent into digital art, drawing inspiration from being a mother.
Audrey said her job is so enjoyable it doesn’t feel like work. In fact, she said she feels privileged to be part of some of the biggest and most important moments in people’s loves.
“Especially at wedding. I feel so honoured to be there.
“I do get emotionally attached and I know that sounds cheesy, but when you work with a bride all day you see everything. Maybe because I am a daddy’s girl, it pulls my heart strings, but you see daddys giving away their daughters and that tugs at my heart strings. You realise that people are missing and that’s sad too,” said Audrey.
“It can be stressful, but it’s lovely to be there and capture all that emotion.”
Audrey describes her work as “very classical and timeless, with a bit of a twist”.
“I hope in 50 years time my grandchildren will look back and think, it looks true to the day. I think it’s about keeping it real,” said Audrey, who said she is grateful to everyone who has trusted her with capturing those special moments.
“I’m just so grateful to get that email or phone call from anyone. You do feel honoured that people put their trust in you because it is a big thing,” added Audrey.
Audrey hopes to give something back in the future, as she knows just how important it is when starting out. As part of my business I want to educate others and teach and give somehting back,” she said, adding thanks to everyone who has supported her, including her husband Cathal, and wider family and friends.