Authentic AF: Requiem Images in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Meet Kat Akers of Requiem Images. With three features already on ISO:ALT (check them out here!), Kat has shown us that she’s authentic AF and pretty freaking awesome. She’s the first inductee to Authentic AF Squad – so be sure to read her full interview and see some of her awesome work:
What’s the name of your business?
Why? How did you come up with it?
I wanted something that would fit my vibe as an artist – something unique and artistic, literal but also a little surreal
A ‘requiem’ is defined as an act or token of remembrance, which is exactly what we provide to our clients, yet it has a weird connotation and an overall eccentric feel.
What’s your actual name?
Katherine Akers (changing next year to Katherine Paul!) but to most people, just Kat. 🙂
Tell us something awesome about you personally.
(Shit, this is tough – I mean awesome is pretty subjective so I’m going to be sneaky and reword the question.)
New Question —> Tell us about yourself!
Ok here goes!
I…have lots of freckles, am obsessed with armadillos, try to recycle everything, hate the feeling of paper towels on my mouth, taught skiing for a million years, used to repair my own car, was a dancer through college, have traveled to 9 countries (excluding the USA), love STRFKR, Radiohead, & Paul Simon (Ooo and the new Sufjan collaboration Planetarium!!!), regularly listen to graphic true crime podcasts, still get asked for ID when purchasing alcohol or even fireworks, and I once correctly guessed 5/5 brands of sparkling water in a blind taste test.
The best thing about me though is definitely my crazy family. They include 2 insanely cool little girls, the most incredible fiancé/BFF/business partner ever (he even used to be a chef, I mean come on) and a brindle rescue mutt who’s still learning how to be a dog.
Tell us something awesome about you professionally.
When taking on a new client, we’re not just a business that sees dollar signs. Both my partner and I go above and beyond the expected because we truly love what we do – when you book us we go to the rehearsal, go to your home to do outfit styling, are always available with opinions or advice, maybe paint your whole body white, engagement photos in Greece? Sure, why not!, help fix the bride’s hair, likely take you out for a drink when the stress gets too heavy – and in most cases build a relationship that lasts for years or even longer. 🙂
Why do you love what you do?
I’m a timekeeper. I find these tiny little fleeting moments that you might not even catch the first time around, and preserve them in a magic window for you to see forever.
I thrive in chaos, which is lucky, because in about 1/10 of a second I have to decide how to use light and speed to turn these moments into unique works of art. <3
(I also LOVE that it takes me all over the place and I get to meet and photograph loads of new people from all different cultures, religions, etc. Give us all the unique travel weddings and elopements!)
Show us the best review you’ve ever gotten.
We’ve received so many kind words about our photos over the years, but here is a recent client message along with an older favorite review (from someone I’m still in touch with years later):
Renee: “Holy shit that’s gorgeous!”
Corrina: “…absolutely phenomenal! I feel so blessed that I found them…From the first time I spoke with Kat she calmed my nerves and got me excited about the pictures…I have seriously had people I have never met compliment me on the pictures.
Through the process she become a friend and someone I would want at my wedding even as a guest.
They go above and beyond because they truly care about making your pictures special.
They don’t care how long they have to stay or how cold it is (engagement) or how hot it is (wedding.)
Kat even set down her camera to redo one of my bridesmaid’s hair because she was freaking out and Kat made it look beautiful!
I mean come on, who does that??
I could never say enough how great they were.
They are amazing photographers as well as amazing people.”
What makes you “alt”?
I don’t think that I would necessarily consider myself “alt,” but I wouldn’t consider myself preppy or hippie or super nerdy either. I don’t really fit in anywhere.
I’ve always been super blonde and bubbly, loved to shop and party, but below the surface my mind constantly racing with thoughts of existential philosophy, the mysteries surrounding life and death, hypotheticals of all shapes and sizes, and odd mathematical exercises. (Confession: I had a secret obsession with Albert Einstein growing up – his posters even covered my walls.)
Growing into an adult, that personality dynamic (plus my excessively literal vocabulary) has made it difficult for me to really be accepted into either the “girly” or the “alt” crowds.
So, I am just me – alt, femme, eccentric, obsessive, extroverted, awkward, sensitive, overzealous and bold.
And while I may not be alt, I’m definitely weird.
(Side note: Turns out, there is at least one other total weirdo like me – and I’m marrying him next year!)
How do you show your clients that experience?
I think I’m a great example of how there is no one definition for an “alt” person – we come in all types!
What makes me weird might be completely different from what makes you weird.
So I like to find out who my clients are deep down – what makes them unique – and showcase that as I tell their story.
Favorite part of a wedding day?
You know, it used to be the time prior to the ceremony when hair & makeup happened. I could take my time and create these crazy surreal images using certain camera techniques that I’ve developed.
But lately I’m really digging the reception – I get right in there, capture tons of emotion and energy, and there’s usually a lot of different lighting with which I can experiment!
(Oh and first looks. First looks are the best!!)
Most unique/awesome thing that you ever did for a client:
I do a lot of off the wall things for clients, but the most awesome would probably be a toss up between:
1. Making a fresh flower crown from scratch on the way to an elopement for a bride who didn’t have time to get anything for her hair
2. Redoing a bridesmaid’s hair after the HMUA bailed and sent an unqualified assistant in her place
3. What I’m doing as I write this – sitting in a vast field alone (and freezing my ass off) for the next hour and a half so that I can try to make an epic star trail photo for some amazing environmentalist clients
One quote that sums up everything awesome about you:
“If there is to be art, if there is to be any aesthetic doing and seeing, one physiological condition is indispensable: frenzy.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Anything else you want to say?
1. My fiancé and I are currently planning our own wedding, and doing so without consideration for any typical wedding traditions. It’s been so interesting that we’ve decided to document the experience!
You can follow our journey on Instagram @unweddingplanning – and we’ll be launching a full blog soon as well that will be announced on IG!
2. It’s sad that this even needs addressed, but I want to make sure everyone out there reading this knows that we are the hugest LGBTQ+++ allies and are open to photographing ANY genuine couple or individual REGARDLESS of race, culture, religion, or sexual orientation. We don’t yet have a ton of diversity to showcase, but I’m busting my ass to change that. <3
3. My partner and I are SO thrilled and honored to be a part of this! We can’t wait to see where ISO:ALT goes and where Requiem goes as well. Cheers to us continuing to grow together and taking the Alt Lux wedding world by storm!!