A gifted South Tyneside photographer who went ‘through hell and back’ after a road smash is looking forward to a picture perfect future after developing her own business.
Kathryn Gribben said she had ‘lost all hope’ after being racked with pain for four years as doctors were left baffled by her condition after she was involved in a car crash.
But the 22-year-old has now turned her darkest hour into a flash of inspiration afte focusing on opening her very own photographic studio.
Miss Gribben, who lives in East Boldon, is urging others to never give up on her ambitions - as she prepares to swing open the doors to Sapphire Studios in South Shields today.
Miss Gribben was in the back of a friend’s car in Hebburn when another vehicle ploughed into the vehicle - striking the side of the car she usually sat in.
It was only this year that she was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a rheumatic condition characterised by muscular pain and stiffness at particular points of the body.
It is really amazing to get the business up and running.Kathryn Gribben
She said: “The crash happened on February 27, 2012. We were at a junction when a car crashed into us. The car was write off.
“I usually sit in the right side passenger seat, where the damage occured. For some reason, I didn’t that day. I could’ve died.
“I have been through four years of hell. I had some very dark times.”
She added: “Between the age of 18 and 22 I have been on more medication than a 70-year-old.
“Finally this year I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which is very rare for people under 25.”
As she battled with health problems, Miss Gribben found solace in her work.
Having only taken up photography at A Level, she swiftly found that a life behind the lens was perfect for her.
She added: “I still really wanted to set up the business and that became my focus.
“It is really amazing to get the business up and running. It has lifted my spirits.
“It has been my motivation.”
Sapphire Studios is shining extra bright after 18-year-old artist Sarah Wright crafted an eye-catching mural of dogs photographed by Miss Gribbon, which takes pride of place in the courtyard leading to the premises.
Miss Gribben will offer a wide range of services - from child and pet portraits to fashion snaps at the studio, in Garden Lane, South Shields.
The opening night will aim to raise vital funds to two causes close to her heart - Cancer Connections and the Alzheimer’s Society.
Music, stalls and a raffle - which includes a signed t-shirt, album and poster cards from Cancer Connections patron Jade Thirlwall and her Little Mix bandmates - will be laid on from 6pm until 11pm.
For more information on Miss Gribben’s work, search for Kathryn Gribben photography on Facebook.