I was planning on making this post a ranking or a poll to determine Kate Middleton‘s best photography efforts, but I couldn’t figure out how best to do that, so instead I decided to do another Royal Rewind feature to take a look back at the evolution of Kate’s photography skills.
Let’s rewind the clock back to 2012, when a fresh-faced Duchess of Cambridge’s South East Asia tour was highjacked by the release of photos of her sunbathing nude in France, revealing both she and her husband had shirked their jobs – as Paralympics ambassadors and as an RAF SAR helicopter pilot. Two months after returning from that trip with the embarrassment of nude photos hanging over her head, in November 2012, Kate released a series of seven photos she had taken while touring the Borneo rainforest in Malaysia. The release of those photos clearly did not go to plan, as her attempt at photography was largely panned by fans, journalists, and photographers. Overall, the critic response to the photos was: they would have worked better in color, and they should have been sharper in focus.
Four of the seven photographs were in black and white. Oddly enough, the black and white photos were the only ones taken from inside the rainforest; the other three, which were in color, were aerial shots taken during her flight. So Kate sapped the color of the rainforest right out of her photos – including a shot of an endangered Borneo Orangutan (which I had to be told about because when I first saw the photo I had no idea that black blob was supposed to be an orangutan).
In the collage above, which features four of the seven photos: Top L is of an endangered Borneo Orangutan; Top R is an aerial shot of a palm oil plantation; Bottom L was taken during their flight; Bottom R is of a tree in the rainforest.
Overall, my feelings on these photos are that they are fine for a total amateur (and I think I’ve taken way better photos than these), but I hope she got color photos of the rainforest to keep for memories.
The reaction to Kate’s Borneo photos was so negative that Kate didn’t release any more of her own photography until she shocked at least me by releasing four photos of a then-1 year old Prince George with his then-two week old sister Princess Charlotte in June 2015. These were the first photos released of the new Princess after she left the hospital.
The reception was… better? I thought these photos looked miles better than the Borneo photos since the subjects were, you know, in color and visible. Although many people commented on how the photos are blurry in parts. I took it pretty easy on Kate, saying “we have to be nice to Kate’s second attempt at photography so she’ll keep releasing photos of George and Charlotte” and chalking up the blurriness to “following a current trend” of “subject in focus, background blurry” (that I see all the time on Facebook) since their faces are in focus while their extreminties aren’t. Many people, including myself, also commented on how the white on white on white is blinding (because of how the light is hitting it) and boring.
The major criticism about these photos didn’t seem to be about the photos themselves, but about the method of their release. These were the first photos KP released that were released on Twitter before being released properly to the media.
Overall, though, there didn’t seem to be the same backlash over these photos that Kate got for her first set of photos. They were a good second try.
At the end of November 2015, KP randomly tweeted out two new photos of Princess Charlotte taken by Kate, who finally learned that color exists – although she was still blurring portions of her subjects.
I again was pretty nice, saying I thought these were better than Kate’s previous attempts at photography, though I was shocked that they released photos at all. I still really like the photo of Charlotte smiling at the stuffed dog. In fact, looking back over all these photos, the one with Charlotte and the toy dog is probably my favorite photo Kate has released.
KP dropped another random nugget on us in early January 2016 (after claiming George would start nursery school “before the end of January” leading everyone to believe they meant the end of January) in the form of two photos of Prince George’s first day at nursery school taken by Kate.
This time Kate went all out on the color: taking the photos in front of the mural on the outside of the nursery building. And shockingly for Kate, all of George was in focus in the photos. So her photography skills have gotten better over time.
The relationship with the media, however, declined as the royals continued to release Kate’s photos on social media and barring the press from important life events of the (possible) future King of the UK.
Kate’s most recent attempt at Professional Photographer were four photos released in May 2016 to mark Princess Charlotte’s first birthday.
I was so happy for Charlotte to finally be wearing a color other than pink; little did I know that blue would then become the new oversaturated color in her wardrobe. The photo of Charlotte in blue on the chair was my favorite of this set, although that one with the toy dog is still my favorite one of Kate’s photos, even though it’s more blurry.
Kate’s photography skills have gotten better over time, so I’m interested to see what her next attempt at photography will look like. I’m interested to see if KP releases any more of Kate’s photos this fall the way they did last year, and if they’ll release a new Christmas photo or just use a photo taken during the tour for their Christmas card and not release a new photo.
Photos: HRH The Duchess of Cambridge