Local portrait photographer Chohee Courtois photographs pets and their people in West London. On the 10th November, Chohee was awarded with a national photography award at this year’s prestigious British Photography Awards gala in London, receiving the coveted People’s Choice Award. The British Photography Awards is a prestigious competition that celebrates outstanding British photographic talent.
Known for its diverse showcase of photographic work across various categories, the competition attracts thousands of entries annually. Chohee received the 2023 People’s Choice Self Portrait Photography Award for her poignant work, "Mountain Before the Cut," a self-portrait taken prior to her lumpectomy.
We spoke to Chohee about what she loves about our little corner of the globe.
At what stage in your life did you move to Ealing?
I moved to Ealing 7 years ago as a young adult from South Korea. It was a big move, big change. I was young, curious, open to changes and searching for meaning of life and my purpose. Ealing is where I found my passion, developed my values and a clear vision of life goals, and grew up mentally. Within a couple of years of living here I was able to see myself in a fresh perspective, which led me to take the plunge to become what I’ve always dreamt of, an artist. Based in Ealing, I’ve been photographing pets and their people for 5 years, focusing on capturing the unique personalities of the animals and the cherished bond between pets and their owners in clean, refined and artistic photographs. My work has been recognised with a few awards, which I am hugely grateful for, including the 2023 International Pet Photographer of the Year Silver and Bronze Awards, Finalist status in the 2023 International Dog Photography Awards, Honorable Mention in the 2023 International Photography Awards and the 2023 British Photography Awards People’s Choice Award.
If you were telling someone about Ealing who had never visited, how would you describe it?
Ealing, often called the "Queen of the Suburbs," is like a little oasis in West London. It's super leafy and green, giving you a real sense of being close to nature while still being in the city. The community vibe here is strong; it feels like everyone's in it together, which is pretty cool. It's this perfect mix of city buzz and suburban chill – you get the best of both worlds. Plus, it's packed with culture and history, so there's always something interesting going on. And getting around? No problem. The transport links are top-notch, making it super easy to zip into central London or wherever you need to go. In short, Ealing's a great spot that's got a bit of everything.
Do you have a favourite Ealing watering hole?
The North Star for a light, casual night out with live music, The Grove for good food to go with the drinks, and The Grange for a cosy, chill time with friends.
Where have you had your best Ealing meal?
Park’s Kitchen. It’s one of the best Korean restaurants in London. It’s where I get my comfort food whenever I feel homesick or take friends who’re interested in Korean food to.
Do you have a favourite Ealing independent store? (Cafe/shop)
There are so many lovely cafes in Ealing. If I have to choose just one for now, I would say the 11 Coffee & Co in North Ealing, which is close to my studio. They serve scrumptious breakfast and really (really, really) strong coffees, which is perfect for a weekend morning when I want to feel the lazy Sunday vibes but still have a long day of photo editing waiting for me. And like many other cafes in Ealing, they’re dog-friendly so my dog comes along sometimes.
Is there a part of Ealing that you find particularly inspirational or where you find peace?
Gunnersbury Park gives me inspirations and new ideas every time I visit there. The park is filled with a variety of different sceneries that keep changing their look and atmosphere depending on the weather and season. It’s not too small and not too big, a perfect sized and very well-maintained park for a refreshing walk. And spotting those happy dogs having their time in the park is a big bonus, especially to me who photographs dogs professionally.
Tell us what you're up to & what's next for you. (this is the promotional part - feel free to talk about whatever you like!)
I’ve been building my new studio from foundation for the last couple of years, and it’s finally ready to open! Completely purpose-built for pet and portrait photography, this inviting space will be officially opening its doors in January 2024. To celebrate this exciting news, I’m offering a 50% discount off the session fee to my Ealing neighbours. If you’re a resident of the Borough of Ealing, please mention this when you enquire to receive the discount. This offer is for studio pet portrait session only, valid until 31 March, subject to availability. For more information about my pet portrait session and products, please visit www.choheecourtois.co.uk. If you require any other type of photography, please feel free to get in touch at www.choheecourtois.co.uk/contact. And for anyone wishing to connect with me, you can find me on Instagram and Facebook at @choheecourtois.photo.