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Through the Lens of: Cath Wilson

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Meet brilliant sports photographer – Cath Wilson from Cath Wilson Photography. Cath is passionate about our youth, not only on the sports field but also in the classroom. She teaches English at Grey High School in the Eastern Cape which is very demanding in itself.

Our sports photographers really make such an invaluable contribution to celebrating our young athletes. They spend many long and tiring hours doing a ‘love job’, as they capture the moments, emotions and action of young athletes.

When I asked her about her challenge to our youth and our young stars in the making this is what she said, “It is a considerable challenge, but a challenge that I would address is the pressure to be who others want you to be. Especially in sport, success can create massive expectations from others, and my challenge would be to remember always what makes you happy and where your personal values lie, and do not let anyone else change that about you”.

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Q: You are a brilliant and passionate sports photographer, tell me about yourself and your personal background?

I attended Eunice Girls School in Bloemfontein, studied BA Journalism at the University of Johannesburg and spent a year working in Los Angeles, USA before taking up my position at Grey High School in Port Elizabeth as an English teacher. My passion for photography goes back to about the age of 9 when my aunt gave me a camera as a gift; it was pink and purple with a blue shutter button, and after each image, I had to manually slide the film into the next position before taking another photograph.  I am also a sports lover who has taken part in sport at various levels throughout my life. I think the combination of these two passions is where my love of sports photography originated.

Q: You are currently teaching English at Grey High School, teaching a language is very demanding, how do you manage to balance the education side of things with your sports photography?

This is the biggest challenge I face, as my educational responsibilities must, and do, take priority. However, I am fortunate enough to be a teacher at a school which values sport and the positive influence participating in sport has on a young person’s life, and this allows me the opportunity to be involved in variety of sporting codes, festivals, tournaments and Derby Weekends versus some of the best schools in our country, as part of my job as a teacher. Many hours go into capturing and editing images, for which I sacrifice my personal time, but this sacrifice is worth it when doing something that you love.

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Q: What are you most grateful for at the moment in your life?

As clichéd as this sounds, I am grateful for the people I have in my life. I am grateful that I have an amazing mother who supports me in anything and everything I do, a boyfriend and close friends who make me laugh every single day, and a family of which I am proud to be a member. I know that my life would be extremely different if I didn’t have these people in my life.

Q: Name 2 things on your bucket list J, apparently you have wanderlust!

I want to see the entire world! I have recently been to Thailand and Bali where I crossed a few items off of my bucket list, including snorkelling in Maya Bay, meeting the magnificent Asian Elephant (my favourite animal) as well as braving the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali.

Most of my bucket list items involve travel and/or animals. In the near future, I want to experience swimming with and photographing Sea Turtles. I hear Hawaii is the best place to do this! I am also dying to visit Iceland to see the Northern Lights and experience the popular Blue Lagoon.

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Q: What do you do to relax?

When I do have ‘down-time’, I try to do something I know will make me happy. Many times, this is simply using the opportunity to rest! Teaching is a high-intensity job and sometimes it is necessary to just stay home and watch reruns of Friends.

Q: What is your personal favourite motivational quote?

It may not be typically motivational, but a quote which I have always loved is “Alis Volat Propriis” which is a Latin expression meaning ‘She Flies with her Own Wings’.  I think it is important for women, especially young females, to develop their own sense of identity and independence, as well as to have the ability and freedom to do what they want in their lives without having to rely on anyone else or needing anyone else’s permission, and this is one thing that I strive for in my life.

Q: Tell me about your collaboration with Craig Anderson Photography for the learners at Grey?

Craig Anderson is a Grey Old Boy and thus keenly invested in giving back to his school and community. He offers support and guidance to me as I run the photography program at Grey, as well as to many aspiring young photographers, and he is largely responsible for my own development and inspiration over the past few years.

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Q: What are some of your best simple tips for shooting better sports photos?

My best tip would be to use your individual perception of and experiences with sport and let that influence how you photograph sportsmen and sporting events, whether that be creative or objective. It is a misconception that sports photographs have to be simple action shots of a sportsman. My intention when capturing sports images is to catch the memorable and significant moments or emotions that are experienced in sport as well as the great action that takes place during sporting fixtures. It is often these moments that make sports photographs special and in demand.

Q: How does your smartphone camera and Instagram account play a role in your work these days? @cathwilsonphotography

I am lucky enough to have a camera that has wifi capability. This allows me to connect my smartphone to my camera and download a photo instantly after capturing it. From there, I can post straight on to my social media accounts, allowing for real-time coverage of the sporting fixtures I am photographing.  My Instagram and Facebook account are vital for the sharing of my photos as it is here where both the learners and parents are able to view the photos and the memories of the events taken place.
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Q: What is your definition of greatness?

My definition of greatness would be the reassurance that one has done the best that one can possibly do. Each person has their own capabilities, and if one has performed and achieved to their fullest potential and cannot possibly do any better, how can that not be considered great?

Q: You deal daily with our youth and especially our sports youth, the sports stars of tomorrow, what would your challenge be to our youth?

It is a considerable challenge, but a challenge that I would address is the pressure to be who others want you to be. Especially in sport, success can create massive expectations from others, and my challenge would be to remember always what makes you happy and where your personal values lie, and do not let anyone else change that about you.
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Thank you Cath Wilson for the great photos: @cathwilsonphotography

Thank you so much for taking this interview. We would like to wish you all the best for your journey and endeavours ahead. We look forward to following your great photography. Blessings!

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