Kate Stephens

Recently I went to the NC Museum of Art to see the Ansel Adams exhibit.  At the same time, they had an exhibit called “Art in Bloom.”  Florists were assigned a work of art in the museum and created an arrangement inspired by the work.  In these images, I tried to capture the echo of patterns and shapes between the artists’ works.





I love to travel and it’s a big part of my life.  A little over a year ago, I took a photographic safari in Zambia and Botswana.  I ended up with many amazing photos, including a charging rhino, a leopard with her cub, a pride of lions, and more elephants that you can count.  This is just one series from that trip.  Like all my series, I want to make sure it tells a story.  One morning we came upon a pack of African wild dogs, also called painted dogs, who had cornered a single impala in a watering hole.   .










We moved on before everything was over.  We came back later in the afternoon, and the watering hole was still and quiet with just the hippo looking out at us.

From a photography perspective, I love the tension in each of these photos, even the ones of just a single animal you see the predatory look in the dog and crocodile and the alert wariness in the impala.  We were also lucky to see this early in the morning – the light was incredible and the reflections of the animals in the water was beautiful.  Composition can be a challenge on safari – you can’t move around to another angle because you are confined to the truck.  You often have to make the best choice available to you and have a plan for cropping later.  I should also own up to the fact that the single animal pictures were from different encounters, but I like the interest that they give to the series so I included them.

I’ve spent time recently looking at old LIFE magazine photo essays for inspiration for this blog.  Here’s a series of photos where I “tell the story” of a spoon’s contributions to making hot chocolate.  I’ve used some of the classic LIFE photo types in my composition.  In particular, some detail shots of the spoons, a series that shows the steps or sequence, and several “portraits” of my protagonist, the spoon.


Here’s a series that shows one day in my life at work.  In some ways, it’s an exceptional day because I was in training all day.  In other ways, it’s a normal day.  I spend most of my time working with people to elicit their knowledge and ideas for IT projects, so there’s always plenty of talking and lots of sticky notes.

It’s training day and I arrive at the office early. Today I’m learning how to facilitate a “Design Thinking” workshop. Design thinking is a process that helps tackle difficult, complex problems using empathy, collaboration and experimentation.

The facilitators field questions during one of the many group activities. Our training, just like design thinking itself, emphasized creativity and hands on activities over analytical thinking and talking.
My colleagues use a break to catch up on email. Our regular jobs don’t stop just because we’re in training.
We interviewed colleagues to gather insights and then posted quotes and observations on a clue wall. Visualizing the clues and physically rearranging the stickies allows us to process the data quickly and intuitively.
The facilitators demonstrate role playing as a technique to practice pitching ideas to upper management. This is another tool that emphasizes creativity over analysis.
Got a hard problem to solve? Call me. I’m ready to run my own design thinking session!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s