Pilgrim’s pet project
TAKING redundancy was the best thing Kelly Pilgrim- Byrne ever did.
Pilgrim-Byrne, once executive officer in research development at Curtin University, is now a professional pet photographer.
Last October, when her department restructured, her job was made redundant. But rather than panic, Pilgrim- Byrne took the opportunity to reevaluate what she wanted in life.
She was already a self- confessed pet tragic, with six dogs (including two ‘foster fails’), two cats and a Stimson’s python called Flowers.
She also ran a small boarding service, specialising in a “home away from home” service treating guest dogs as part of the family.
Part of the service included taking pictures of the dogs and posting them on social media for owners to see.
Once she had been doing this for a while, using an automatic camera, PilgrimByrne was swamped with requests from owners wanting to buy the photos.
She gave them away freely but as requests kept rolling in, decided to attain a professional standard.
She has now studied with Perth pet photographer Alex Cearns of Houndstooth Studio, known for books Joy and Mother Knows Best, and Queensland pet photographer Charlotte Reeves.
She was accepted as an emerging member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography, a process that required her to submit a portfolio for assessment by a panel of three judges, who all had to score the work above 75 per cent.
Photographer Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne with Monty and Violet.