AofA People: Clare-Louise Battersby – Photographer, Graphic Designer and Web Designer

What is your name?
Clare-Louise Battersby 

Briefly sum up who you are and what motivates you 

I am a once divorced, now happily married, bipolar, 40 something, creative type with a soupçon of tech geek thrown in for good measure.
If you have a job, what do you do for a living? 

Freelance Photographer, Graphic Designer, and Web Designer. I also do two days a week, as and when I can, in a small independent wine and spirit shop as I have a lot of wine knowledge and I like being involved in the local community in Hampton Village. I do a few hours a week as a PA for a Business Psychologist as she helps keep me sane and I also volunteer in a small locally run charity bookshop for a few hours every other week. 

How long have you been doing this? 

I’ve been a creative type for as long as I can remember, to the point where back in my day, in a school in Dorset they didn’t really know what to do with me. Photography started out as a hobby and is now an all-consuming passion for both work and play. I had a strong Marketing & PR Career – Corporate side – until my 30s then swapped to Creative Agencies and finally I realised I wanted to ‘create’ myself rather than guiding someone else to do it. 

What do you find most satisfying about your job? 

Creative autonomy and making people feel something. There is no better natural high than someone explaining to you how one of your photographs made them feel. 

Is your work primarily a means to an end ie money or the motivating force of your life? 

It used to be a means to an end and also a bit of an identity crisis. I did the ‘business side’ because I was impressionable and led to believe that was how you measured success. Now I know doing what you love is far more important than a job title, car or salary. I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful husband who supports me in all my endeavours and believes in my photography. 

If you don’t work for a living, can you say why? 

I have only once in my life not worked and that was when in the space of three months I had to give up my own Marketing & PR Agency, was getting divorced and my Uncle sadly jumped in front of a train at Clapham Junction. I was diagnosed with Non-epileptic fits (trauma based) and was unable to easily and confidently walk up / down stairs or do simple things without the potential of a frightening dissociative episode. It took me more than two and a half years, a lot of demon facing, soul-searching and ‘sitting’ with myself to move past it. Fortunately, while I remember that person sadly but fondly, I no longer recognise her in my current version of me!! 
When you were 8, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

An Archaeologist / Geologist. Although, according to my Mum, when I was 12 I asked her what you needed to ‘solicit’. She replied “A good body and a pair of French knickers”. Obviously, I meant ’solicitor’.  

Did you get there  – and if not, are you happy/sad that you didn’t? 

I am happier now than I have ever been in my life. Bipolar is a constant battle and can often creep up on you, even when you are doing everything right. But I have the management techniques, support and family support to, in the main, deal with it as best as I can.
(I’m very happy to say I have never had to solicit) 

What is your dream job

Full-time Photographer working on my own projects rather than the gigs you have to do to pay the way. I really do love it all though, to be honest.  

If UK-based, are you glad, indifferent or disappointed that the official pension age is rising?
I recently read an article about Joel Meyerowitz who is in his 80s. Most famous for his NY street photography and being the only photojournalist allowed access to Ground Zero after 9/11. He said he is doing his best work now! He also said when he started photographing he was working at an Ad Agency in NY and it became a ‘hunger unlike any he had ever known’. I’ve sort of paraphrased this above but I relate hard and hope I am still doing photography to the end of my days!!
I was also brought up to believe in finding work no matter what. If I need money I go and see the old fashioned way if people need anything doing. I’m not proud and I’ll sweep floors if I have to earn a bit extra. Fortunately, I’m not really in that position anymore.

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