Katie Hayes Luke (1981) was born in Austin, Texas where she currently freelances as a photojournalist and multimedia producer. While studying for undergraduate degrees in Math and Psychology at the University of Texas, Katie picked up a camera - with intention- for the first time. A short-lived obsession with double exposures gave way to an intense love for long-form story telling. Through an emphasis of documentary video education and an internship with National Public Radio, Katie expanded her work to include multimedia projects.
In 2004, she attended the SALT Institute for Documentary Studies and in 2009 received a MA in photojournalism from The University of Texas.Artist Statement.
A note from Katie:
I photograph to tell stories. Whether I am working on an editorial assignment or a self-assigned project, I have the same goal – to find the truth and to tell the human story. Uncovering these stories is, for me, a discovery of what it means to be alive and an exploration of the way we experience life on this planet.I am drawn to projects which reveal authentic situations, documenting the scenes that unfold in front of my camera.
People want and deserve to be heard, my role as a photographer is to document and deliver their stories, examining how social issues impact communities and individual people.I am intrigued by life at the intersection of class, privilege, education and opportunity. The pre-prescribed environment in which we are born often dictates available resources and alters major life decisions. I am interested in the way that a person’s environment shapes who they are destined to be or radically, where they break free from their cultural expectations.
While the overall themes for my projects focus on social issues, my photographs are meant to demonstrate how these social issues collide with communities and individuals. I want my images to show how people function with the given hand they are dealt – specifically education, poverty, illness and military service. I am also inspired to photograph everyday people and cultural events. I am greatly influenced by Robert Frank, Alec Soth and Walker Evans, whose work visually catalogues American life.
Many of my single images come from the typical Americana scenes, such as rodeos, dance halls, and bullfights. While this may seem like a departure from the content of my projects, these images retain a narrative quality. To me, the single photograph is the short story, while the photo essay is the novel.
My current work is a dance between editorial photography and fine art. I maintain my freelance career as a photojournalist, but also create images and projects for my own artistic purpose. I have also expanded beyond the still image, including video and audio for short documentary projects. I am currently engaged in a project covering terminally ill children in their final days. Through a series of short documentaries and photographs, my goal is to create an intimate portrait that tells the story of the child, the family, their love and their loss.