(Testimony from Martin Mc Cann Coalisland/Belfast)
"With subjects as varied as the professional and personal history that brought her to where she is today, Cathy Dempster provides a unique range of skills and vision when it comes to photography. Ever since a camera was thrust into her hands at the age of 9, Cathy has documented the various paths she has taken in life, paths that have led to her becoming a professional photographer.
Cathy takes her influences from a wider spectrum, not simply the world of photography. Using the notion of capturing what she loves as a starting point, she has photographed a wide range of her musical heroes ranging from Pat McManus and Horslips right through to Seasick Steve. While many of her images are inspired by quiet, rural Co Tyrone, she also has developed a love for urban exploration, with her artist's eye seeing the beauty and emotional responses abandoned and derelict buildings can evoke. Cathy is currently organising a solo exhibition of such work entitled "Memories on the Landscape - Empty Whispers" which, in this time of economic hardship, reflects the zeitgeist.
Outside of capturing rural and urban scenery, much of which fits neatly into fine art, Cathy has extensive experience of fashion shoots and directing models, eschewing cliché to create classic results. She also specialises in hand-tinting photographs, one of her favourite techniques. This allows her to take even the most basic of images and personalise it, creating a unique product for every individual.
Cathy's sociable and friendly personality, backed with a steely professionalism and quest for perfection, also makes her an ideal wedding photographer. Again her eye for detail and the unusual will ensure the happy couple can have a unique and well-crafted permanent record of one of the most important days of their lives.
As already noted, Cathy has a wide range of influences from the world of music, and has also developed as a sought after gig and band photographer. From live action through to promo shots, Cathy has captured musicians as wide ranging as Stiff Little Fingers, Horslips, Pat McManus, Hayseed Dixies, Seasick Steve, The Undertones, Mudbitch, LaFaro, and Ricky Warwick in various settings. Intimate portraits compete with full on action shots in her ever increasing portfolio of musical legends.
Cathy was also one of the key figures behind organising the heARTS For Haiti charity sale that raised a size-able amount of money for the beleaguered island after the devastating earthquake in 2010. This typifies Cathy's view on her photography - that it is not simply a job. It is an opportunity to impact on people's lives in various and meaningful ways. A photo shoot is not just about turning up and capturing a few images - each is unique and can have an effect that goes beyond some photographs in an album. Cathy's role is not simply to capture a technically proficient picture, but to create a permanent testament to the person or scene unfolding in front of her lens.
Influenced by established industry names like Tony Worobiec, Ansel Adams and Annie Leibovitz, Cathy is not happy just to rest on her laurels. This has led to her work being publicly exhibited in a number of venues including An Creggan. She is constantly researching new ideas and techniques, getting the most out of her equipment and her imagination as she strives to capture that perfect moment. Whether it be Stiff Little Fingers at full tilt, a tender, shared split-second glance between a bride and groom, or an isolated stone circle in the snow; all will be captured with the care and exquisite attention to detail that is plainly evident in all of Cathy's work."