Kathleen Wattle is the artist behind the camera of Captive Spirit. Her creative urge has had her creating in some media or another to satisfy the artist's muse her entire life. It's not hard to understand why with creativity something so natural as she was surrounded by it as a child -- her mother is a gifted artist and her father was a talented jazz musician. For the best part of the last decade, she has pursued her passion for artistic creation through the photography of Captive Spirit.
Shooting 35mm for 15 years before Captive Spirit was conceived, Kathleen reveled in the camera to create pleasing images of landscapes, architecture, flora and fauna. During that time, two years of college level ceramics instruction and design/color coursework were major creative outlets for her. In addition to clay, Kathleen has worked in colored pencil, ink, watercolor, acrylic, charcoal, and mixed media sculpture for personal projects and commission as well as gallery sales.
The love of horses began as a child but the first horse came in her 30's, not with that dream horse of childhood. Thrilled and eager to learn and try all kinds of riding and activities led Kathleen to explore many different disciplines. Eventually settling on Dressage, the basis of all types of riding, the first couple of shows were exciting but mostly riding was for pleasure, practice of basics & hacks on the trail with friends.
Along with that first horse, who still lives with Kathleen & family as a retiree in her late 20s, came the desire to possibly breed for a BABY! While a foal was not to be, in exploring that option photos were required to register the mare. When the prints were seen, Kathleen was encouraged to go professional by friends who loved the photographs and insisted that many horse owners "needed" her gift -- the service she could provide to others wishing for beautiful photographs of their own beloved horses.
At first, certain that there would be no horse show photography as home & family time was too much to give up for shows, Kathleen concentrated on portrait work & advertising shoots. But eventually friends insisted and soon she was providing show photography for most of the Dressage shows and Horse Trials in Arizona which continues today. Many Captive Spirit photographs have been used by respected professionals to market their horses or their training skills. The power of the images comes from Kathleen's talent in capturing the correct place in the horse's movement, whether that is for Dressage, Jumping, Driving, Reining, or most breed or discipline specific movements as well as from her artist's eye.
As time passed, many of Kathleen's equine clients insisted that she shoot their children, family, dog, cars, business' merchandise, office portraits & parties. And so portrait, pet, product and event photography became another focus of Captive Spirit.
Kathleen has shot book covers, illustration photos for articles in national magazines, stallion ads, product photos and international equine events & shows. Her work has appeared in Dressage Today, The Chronicle of the Horse, The Morgan Horse, The Paint Horse Journal, Horse Play, Dressage & CT and many other national and regional publications.
The main ideal Kathleen strives to reach with each and every shot is to truly capture the essence of the subject or the relationship between the subjects. To be really successful, she believes the entire shoot process should be enjoyable, relaxed and a fond memory for the client. With eyes that see the subtleties, she looks for the touching, endearing glimpse of who the subject really is, what the connection really means and waits patiently until it appears in full bloom so she can forever preserve that fleeting moment of revelation with her camera.
Many clients have told Kathleen that the business name, Captive Spirit, is perfect because they feel she has indeed captured the very essence, the spirit of the subject. In the realm of compliments, this one is nearly the ultimate coming from the one who knows best the real subject. Knowing that she can share this gift with others is like a mandate to do so and a rewarding one at that -- nothing can compare to the look of joy on a client's face when viewing the results of a session. Joy for the client and for Kathleen too as she shares her vision & gift with others.