Katherine Wildman moved from the leafy suburbs of Surrey to the sticky jungles of Singapore in 2006 where studied photography at the Objectifs School under the tutelage of C J Wadwa, Tom Ang and Kheng-Li Wee. Her projects there included the 'Bold and the Beautiful', based upon the skate scene in Singapore and a month long project inside an International School where she was regularly beaten up with stuffed snakes, dressed up in princess gowns and sat upon by small children, usually just as she pressed the shutter. A keen scout of all things battered, torn and crumpled Katherine returned to the UK in 2008 and is now based in Newcastle upon Tyne.
"It's nearly twenty years since I last lived in Newcastle. In that time I have lived in London and Singapore, returning to the North East last year armed with a large pile of thermal vests. As I begin to find my feet again in my old home I am rediscovering treasures long since forgotten:
The joys of fish and chips on the beach at Longsands in Tynemouth where the old school surfers have been joined by this year's hot trendsetters, the stand up paddleboarders. The spectacular views up and down the North East coast from the gannet covered cliffs at the Souter Lighthouse in South Shields which don't seem to have changed much - although I can bet that the coastline is set slightly back now from where it was when I left it in 1994.
Down on The Quayside in the City Centre of Newcastle things look very different. Gone is the old 'Boat' nightclub with its moorings on the riverbanks in Gateshead and, in its place, sits the beautiful 'bubble-blown' glass dome of The Sage Concert Hall. In stark contrast, a little further down the river, the sleek stark lines of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art stands proud with its enormous glass lift shafts and deep red brick walls. A strong and handsome reminder of the industrial past of this City, the Baltic was converted into an arts centre from the derelict remains of a flour mill.
Spanning the river between the North and South banks the elliptical Millennium Bridge is strung like a giant white harp. The bridge is illuminated at night and casts a shimmering rainbow hula-hoop of light onto the river beneath it. To allow boats to pass beneath the bridge the entire structure lifts like an eyelid, giving those who are visiting for the first time - or those who are returning after a long absence - a cheeky 'wink' of welcome. It's good to be back. "