COVID-19 Case Study: Katie Aird

The first image shows a girl wearing a white long sleeve top with white makeup around her eyes stood behind white iridescent fabric. She faces the camera and pulls down on the fabric with her left hand while holding her right arm up in the air. The second image shows the same girl crouched down with her elbows on her knees in front of a black backdrop. Her body faces the camera but she looks off to the right of the frame.

Our COVID-19 Case Studies explore the different ways the photographic community is working and staying connected through the pandemic. If you would like to submit a Case Study get in touch via for more information.


Hello, I am Katie Aird, currently studying Photography in my final year at the University of Salford. The past few years have been quite challenging for me, however, with lockdown I have strengthened my belief of spirituality. My perceptions have changed so much, I try to sustain gratitude for anything, even at times of bad experience. Being stuck at home and faced with life’s challenges, has left me to become more present in the moment, and become adaptable to think outside of the box. 


Are there any underlying themes/context that inspires your photographic work?

In terms of creativity, being congruent is being aware of failure. Being aware of failure allows me to become more acceptant. I challenge myself to take risks, I am confident because I know that nothing is perfect. We live in a society that strives for perfection. In my work, I want to adapt from my experience of being a people pleaser and undo the ‘norms’ of perfection. 

How do you find motivation to keep creating work?

Luckily, The University of Salford remained open for our Photography course before Christmas. We were able to install our interim show, a beautiful group effort, showcasing such an inspiring working community of creatives on my course. Being around creatives is so important, even if it’s not the same genre or style as the work that you create. I cannot stress enough how helpful it has been to bounce ideas from one another in University. 

How are you finding online learning?

It is majorly stressful; not being able to access the studios, equipment, or facilities. However, I am so grateful for my tutors and classmates. We try to keep each other sane during these stressful times. I try to encourage people to keep going, keep creating. I think the biggest piece of advice I can give is to make sure you take time out for yourself, while treating your creative process as a therapeutic outcome. The more free you are with your creativity, the more open you are to testing and trying new things. Trial and error are the best part of photographing for me, since you can learn so much from self-development and self-evaluations. 

Has the new context inspired you to try anything innovative that you haven’t tried before? If so, what? 

I try to maintain a positive outlook of the current situation, even though at times it can be so hard to remain positive. Being a final year student during the pandemic can be argued as stressful. However, I choose to take on new challenges. I want to think of new ways to conceptualise my work. I think most of my creativity comes from having more freedom to produce work. Usually I am working part time, while studying, I don’t often get this much time to be 100% creative. So, I am really appreciative of this time I have to conceptualise and shoot my ideas. 

Is there anything you are working on at the moment?

I am currently photographing for a series based on questioning fashion. I conceptualised this from the transparency of our identity. But this project will be touching on the mockery of fashion. I intend to undo the norms of fashion, to play on the idea of not being able to access huge collaborations during the pandemic. I hope to inspire people, to view fashion differently. 

As I am always looking to collaborate with other artists, feel free to message me regarding future projects and involvement. 


Keep up to date with Katie's work on her website and instagram @driaeitak, where you can soon find information on the University of Salford summer 2021 Graduation Show to see more from Katie and the rest of her course!


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