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The other side of the lens

By Staff Reporter

Professional photographer Carrie Davenport is one of Ireland’s brightest young snappers, and is also running a successful commercial photography firm. The 31-year-old, who also takes pictures for the Belfast Media Group, was recently named in BMG’s Top 40 Under 40 for her amazing CV, which along with working for music magazines and staging succesful exhibitions of her work, includes her role as a community tutor, passing on her amazing camera skills to community groups and youth organisations.

I was born in Belfast.

I grew up in Finaghy.

I now live in Ravenhill.

I was educated at Methody followed by a year at BIFHE (now Belfast Met) and then I did my degree at the Art College in Belfast

My earliest memory is playing on a swing in my parents’ back garden with my granny – it was when my mum was in hospital about to have my wee brother, so a pretty big day

When I was a child I wanted to be a lot of things, from a tattooist to a motorbike racer when I was very young, but I always wanted to do something to do with art or music as they were always my favourite subjects at school.

I actually became a photographer. I work with lots of bands, local businesses and PR companies. I get to work with art and music when I’m doing band shoots so it’s the dream job. Alongside that I also teach photography and do a little bit of radio work, which I absolutely love.

Worst job I’ve ever had was probably the six weeks I lasted in the Civil Service after university. I thought the job was photography but it was actually cataloguing photographs for a website so I sat at a computer eight hours a day. It was so terribly boring I couldn’t cope and quit!

Best job I’ve ever had is the one I have right now. I’m very lucky to do something I love so it never feels like work. I get to meet so many great people and it never gets dull.

The bravest thing I’ve ever done is probably the decision to leave a good full time job to go freelance. It was a scary prospect with no guarantees but it was something I’d wanted to do for such a long time and I have never regretted it once.

The stupidest thing I’ve ever done was because I’m quite accident-prone a few months ago I cut the top off my thumb trimming a print because I used a Stanley knife. That was pretty stupid (and also quite painful)!

The biggest thing I’ve yet to do is to travel more with my work and see more of the world!

The people who have inspired me most are my family and friends who have supported me no matter what and have always inspired me to keep pushing. I love the work of photographers like Paul Harries, Mick Rock and Pennie Smith. Their music work really inspired me to get into that type of photography. The people I get to work with really help too – when you work with people who are passionate you can’t help but get inspired.

The most important thing in the world is being happy. Life’s too short to waste time doing things you hate.

I’m very bad at getting out of bed. I am not a morning person at all. I’m too used to working nights and find mornings terrible, at least until I get a cuppa.

I’m very good at talking to people. I love meeting new people and getting to know them and thankfully I have the gift of the gab which really helps put people at ease when I’m photographing them.

I’m most proud of last year when I got to work with the Skyway Club in Ballynafeigh, a group for those with learning disabilities. After learning digital photography we got talking about getting the guys in front of the camera. We shot a murder mystery-themed exhibition for Culture Night and the photos turned out brilliantly. They were really enthusiastic and the reaction on the night of the show was totally overwhelming – and it helped raise awareness for the charity. I also held a Motown solo exhibition in the Ulster Hall as part of Belfast Music Week, and so many people helped out and came to the opening.

My best friend would say I am a workaholic and should take a weekend off, but also they know I love it and they are glad to see me doing well.

I like to relax by I’ll not lie – I rarely relax as I like to be busy. But when I do get a rare night off I like going to gigs or meeting friends for a catch-up.

My favourite saying is ‘Catch your dreams before they slip away.’ It’s a line from ‘Ruby Tuesday’ by the Rolling Stones, who are one of my favourite bands. It’s so true, though – in fact, I have it tattooed round my wrist so I don’t forget it.

The last book I read was a book on Magnum photographers, a photo agency whose work I adore.

My favourite movie is ’The Nightmare Before Christmas’. I went to see it with my mum when I was a kid and I’ve always loved it. I’m a huge Tim Burton fan!

The actor that would play me in a movie of my life would be Emma Stone. She’s funny, doesn’t take herself too seriously and she has red hair, so I think she would suit.

The song that makes me dance is Anything by Poison, Motley Crüe or Whitesnake.

The song I would have played at my funeral would be ’God Gave Rock ‘n Roll to You’ by Kiss or some AC/DC; maybe ‘It’s a Long Way to the Top if you Wanna Rock ‘n Roll’.

The best place I’ve ever been I went to New Orleans a few years ago with a really good friend and we had an amazing time. It was a beautiful place and everywhere you went there was music.

The place I have to visit before I die is definitely Mexico. I’ve always wanted to go there for the Day of the Dead. Far from being morbid they take it as a chance to celebrate people who have lived and I think that’s a beautiful way to look at death. Also I love Mexican food and there’d be so many great places to photograph.

The last person I talked to on the phone was my boyfriend Leigh telling him I’ll be late finishing work as usual. I was on a shoot and it was going so well we just spent time doing some extra photos to see what we could come up with and I can’t wait to get them finished.

The last text message I received was from Gerry from the band A Plastic Rose. They were the shoot I was working on.

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