Kt Bruce (her unique spelling was bestowed long ago by an American child she used to nanny for) is based in Rye and currently works out of her studio or on location at events. She is the festival photographer for the FT Oxford Literary Festival, Blenheim Palace Festival of Literature, Film and Music, the Gibunco Gibraltar Festival and Rye Jazz and Arts Festivals. One of her first subjects was the late Queen, and her portrait work is highly sought-after. Her extensive portfolio is testimony to her unique skill in capturing the moment and the essence of her subject. As one of her famous sitters, Sir Philip Pullman attests, “Being photographed by Kt is a pleasure. Unlike most photographers I’ve experienced, she treats the activity like a form of communication between two people, rather than a technical exercise.” Remarkably, she has no formal training, only taking up photography in 2008, when she borrowed her husband’s old camera. She started taking photographs around Oxford, where they then lived, and discovered the joy of capturing the moment. As she humbly disclaims “I didn’t know the difference between an f stop and a bus stop”, and she still does not enjoy the technical side to it. We think the quality of her work speaks for itself, and proves that in certain skilled hands, the camera is secondary to the vision of the person using it.
What brings you to the George?
I love the buzz at the Dragon Bar in The George and often meet up with people I haven’t seen in a while, or better still I make new friends.
List 3 things you won’t leave home without
My camera, my phone and a good book. Oh – and I always take my own pillow if staying away. Can I have 4?
What is your earliest hotel memory?
When I was six, my family emigrated to Australia. The night before we embarked on our long voyage (which took six weeks and three days) we stayed in a very plush hotel in London. All I can remember, is the huge scale of it. It was a suite with three bedrooms, super high ceilings, a lounge and chandeliers!
What is the best/most important part of staying away in a hotel for you?
Not having to cook and not having to look at jobs that need doing. I also like having a very large bed.
What are you currently reading/binge-watching/listening to?
I love Masterchef and I am currently reading The Lost Bookshop by Evie Woods.
Do you have a hotel lobby/lift story you’d care to share with us?
I once met Antony Worral Thompson in a lift in Gibraltar, and then had dinner with him later in the week.
What do you always forget/lose when you go away?
I am actually pretty organized and have a going-away list which I tick off before I leave. Yet I still somehow manage to often leave my phone charger behind?
Hypothetically, who would you most like to discover is a fellow guest?
I would love to meet Maggie Smith or Judi Dench.
What helps you get to sleep at night? (Keep it clean!)
Mint tea and lavender.
My secret Rye discovery is….
The amazing, guided walks with The Town crier because you learn so much about the history of the Rye.