The Remembrance Project: Kate Guillette

Download Audio

Kate Guillette died last June, driving on a slippery stretch of road in an afternoon rainstorm. She was 34 years old.

Kate was a photographer who specialized in the happiness of others. She didn’t just document weddings, parties, family events -- she entered them. There was the time she sent a thank you note to a 90-year-old whose birthday she’d been hired to cover.

"That’s just the kind of thing that Kate would do," her friend Robyn recalls. "You know, thank someone when the 90-year-old was probably wanting to thank Kate for taking amazing pictures and capturing the joy of the day."

Kate Guillette (Courtesy Robyn Keske)
Kate Guillette (Courtesy Robyn Keske)

In this digital age, we’re all restless photographers. Pictures pile up effortlessly in cellphones -- and then, we forget to look at them. Kate was as digitalized as the next professional; whether she was photographing toddlers or taking prodigious selfies. But she had strong feelings about the irony; images have become easier to create and lose track of. Last New Year’s Day, she made her case.

"She came for brunch and surprised us and brought this beautifully wrapped box and this gorgeous double-sided satin ribbon, and I was like, wow," Robyn remembers.

Inside, was a card that read, "When I started taking photos 14-plus years ago, I had to develop negatives to make 4-by-6 prints simply to see the images that I captured. I want to bring back the printed photo. So, I started this photo box for you."

There must have been at least 200 photos in the box. Kate had culled and cataloged them from Robyn’s wedding, visits with friends, communal events. She’d reconstructed a whole vibrant world from a digital template: capturing joy and creating it.

"Remember, it doesn’t have to be a perfect photo," Robyn read from the card. "It just has to bring a memory to mind or a smile to your face. With love, Kate."

Did you know Kate Guillette? Share your memories in the comments section.


More from The Remembrance Project

Listen Live