If you’ve been to Beastro recently, you may have seen some rather striking framed photographs on the wall.
They’re the work of Yvonne Katcher. She’s been passionate about photography for as long as she can remember – a passion she inherited from her father, who used to take passport photos during the war.
But Yvonne isn’t your typical photographer. She says technically she isn’t very good.
“Everyone talks about lighting and things but it’s all on instinct and love of my surroundings for me. This is basically how I learnt.”
She was born in London and moved to Altrincham with her Greek-born husband in 1984, working from home typing medical reports for a doctor whilst her children were at school.
Having travelled a lot as a child, Yvonne started off by doing landscape photography, moving on to portraits and fashion editorials. However, she thinks candid photography is the best form of art as it shows “people just being people.”
She lives in town now so if you keep your eyes peeled, you may well see her taking photographs of the city she loves, looking for the perfect shot.
A picture she recently took of Cross Street – now on display in Beastro – has many people thinking it’s from the 1920’s. This has become her favourite picture, she says, as it manages to capture Manchester as it was, as well as it is now.
How did you start in this field of work?
I have always had a love of photography and have recently rekindled my passion and found I enjoy it even more now I have more time to pursue it.
Who have been the biggest influences on your work?
My father was my most significant influence and the person who I inherited my passion for photography from. As a young man he was a professional photographer and he taught me a great deal. In those days, we only used film and mine was inside a Box Brownie. His teachings, especially composition, taught me so much I still use in my work to this day.
What is your proudest achievement so far?
I am so grateful for any opportunities I am given and anything I create that makes people stop and look. In such a fast paced modern world, it makes me so very proud. My greatest achievements would have to be seeing my work displayed in places I like to spend time, such as Beastro in Spinningfields, and also becoming a published fashion and commercial photographer which I never imagined I would do.
What does your typical day involve?
I take each day as it comes. Each day to me is a blank canvas and an opportunity to create. If it’s sunny I venture into the city and love seeing people going about their daily lives, usually unaware of the fabulous architecture of this great city. I am lucky to live in the heart of Manchester where it is all on my doorstep. If it’s raining I often sit in a cafe and take photos through the window of people clutching their umbrellas – it produces such different photos to when the weather is fine. Candid photography is brilliant. Posed photography? I don’t like it. Never have. I mean if someone says to me smile or do this, I can’t do it and I don’t expect other people to be able to do it
How do you relax on your days off?
Grandchildren keep me entertained. But a good walk with my camera always around my neck and a kindle in my handbag.
What is the best advice you have been given or can give?
Enjoy each day as it comes. Laughter keeps you young and for me the company of young people is a must. Love their zest for life.
If things hadn’t worked out, what else could you have seen yourself doing?
I would have kept photography as a hobby as it is a great passion of mine. The fact that I am now getting recognition for it and opportunities from it is a wonderful bonus for me.
Tell us one thing about yourself people might be surprised to hear
My favourite animal is a duck. I can watch them for hours. I used to go to Regents Park when I was about five years old with my godmother armed with a bag full of bread and feed them for ages and always was sad when I had no more to give them. I have made sure my children and grandchildren have done the same.
Red or Blue?
I have been told never to discuss politics, religion or football in interviews!
Name your three favourite places in Manchester
Castlefield is great. The Victorian arches of the various bridges are a brilliant place to shoot. I also enjoy the wonderful street art around Stevenson’s Square and the back streets. Another place I love is The Royal Exchange where I used to be a volunteer. It is an amazing building and brings so much culture to our city.
If you could change one thing about Manchester, what would it be?
I would love to see more green space to enjoy during good weather. That is something we unfortunately lack in the city centre.
And finally, what do you love most about Manchester?
The people and diversity of the city.