The Photographers Series: Madara Freimane

A lilac summer dress, long blonde hair, porcelain skin and a sweet smile, Madara Freimane welcomed me on a warm spring day in the colourful neighbour of Notting Hill, London. We walked around Portobello Road looking for a place where to sit down and have a chat about her work, and we ended up in a lovely cozy cafe with beautiful windows facing the busy street.
Madara is a great freelance photographer and a strong, independent young woman promoting sustainability in the fashion industry through her successful platform What’s your legacy (WYL).
Originally from Latvia, she started taking photos while still living in her country. After a short period of time spent in Vienna, she then moved to London where she attended the London College of Fashion. It is during those years at University, immersing herself in a world which often shows us only its shining side, that she became aware of what’s behind the high street brands, of how clothes are produced – exploiting people and the environment – and of how depersonalising some trend can be when forcing us to buy and wear certain outfits due to their popularity.
The shining world then became dull if not even dark, and Madara decided to look more into sustainable brands whose clothes were both beautiful and ethically made, saying goodbye, with no regrets, to the high street ones.
The idea to offer other people the right tools to make their own decisions also when it comes to fashion, brought What’s your Legacy to life.
Madara now shoots for ethical brands, take videos interviewing people whose talent has been dedicated to the mission, and fill the online platform with amazing contents.
Also as a photographer, she looks for honesty and simplicity. She likes a portrait taken outdoors, with natural light; she loves working with trusted creatives and with models who are confident with their own bodies, who are guided by their personality, not by set rules. Her photos are candid, fresh and yet captivating, as the brands she works with and she promotes.
It is our responsibility, in the same way it is theirs, to make a difference, to show our unique faces and to work together for the world we value.
I thanks Madara so much for working with me on this project, and I invite you to have a look at her work at https://wylstore.com/ and to follow her on Instagram @wyl_store.
©2019 Flavia Catena
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Here below some of Madara’s photographs:
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Freckles and flowers

The purity of youth, the candid beauty of flowers, and the perfection of the painted freckles make this beauty shoot one of my favourite work so far! Thanks a lot to my team, to the talented make up artist Micaela Congia, to the great hair stylist Giulia Piras and to the sweet model Bella Ford, from M+P Models, for helping me taking these honest, natural and romantic images!

©2019 Flavia Catena

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Conversation with Female Photographers – Karolina Wisniowska

While in the process of planning my next conversation with a female photographer, my path luckily crossed with Karolinaʼs. She saw a post I had shared and she wrote me a lovely message saying she was interested in collaborating. I was very excited as I had been following Karolinaʼs work for a few months and I really liked to see her photos leaving a trace of melancholic beauty on my Instagramʼs home page. I felt we had lots of things in common, so we planned a shoot in Bristol, where she is based.
Karolina Wisniowska is an amazing photographer, originally from Poland, working on portraiture and fashion. She started experimenting with self-portrait when she was only 15, as a way to look at herself with more confident eyes, and decided to attend a photography school after graduating. She already knew she wanted art to be part of her life. After a short time in Aberdeen, it was in Bristol where she started her career. Working first as food photographer, she soon went back to her main passion which is photographing people, and she had the chance to shoot with local brands and magazines, while being also a mum of a beautiful young girl.
While chatting, seated in a nice café in the centre of Bristol, I could feel how shy, humble, but at the same time how enthusiastic Karolina is. She did not just talk about her photographs, but about all the feelings, the emotions, the connections that bring each of those photographs to life. Images are stories, she said, and here is where fashion comes. It helps developing a concept and makes an idea, even the most dreamy one, tangible.
And for a good story to work, great characters are essential. And if you look at Karolinaʼs work, you will see how naturally and beautifully she lets people talk in front of her lens. You can almost feel their nostalgia, their timid joy, their silent words. Her women are delicate and strong at the same time, elegant in a natural and simple way, the only way, I believe. This is what I enjoy when I see one of Karolinaʼs images: the beauty of reality, its authenticity.
Thanks a lot, Karolina, for sharing all that with me and for the time spent together!
Please, donʼt miss to follow Karolina Wisniowskaʼs work visiting her website http://www.karolinawisniowska.com and her Instagram @wisniovsky.
©2019 Flavia Catena
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Here below you can see some of Karolina’s beautiful photographs!
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Leonie

“We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand, and it is no good moving from place to place to save things; because the shadow always follows. Choose a place where you won’t do harm – yes, choose a place where you won’t do very much harm, and stand in it for all you are worth, facing the sunshine.” E.M. Forster, A Room with a View

©2019 Flavia Catena

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Spring is here! Elizabeth’s portraits

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.” Rainer Maria Rilke

A selection of photos from a test shoot done in March with the lovely Elizabeth, a Canadian model who was in London for LindenStaub’s agency. We explored Holland Park whose trees and plants were showing their best colours and flowers with the arrival of the spring!

©2019 Flavia Catena

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Hanna – Dancing in the light

I had the pleasure to work with Hanna Lyn Hughes again a few weeks ago, in Oxford. She is a very talented dancer and an amazing person and we spent a few great hours playing around a small black backdrop, some beautiful light, and a couple of dresses from Bianca Elgar’s collection (www.biancaelgar.com) and personal wardrobe. Happy with the result of our shoot, I’ll share these photos with you. Any favourites? Feel free to comment, and follow Hanna’s work on her Instagram: @hannalynhughes.

©2019 Flavia Catena

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Photo-shoots back in Milan

Last month I was in Milan to meet up some old friends and breath the fresh Italian air for a few days. That is the city where I started dreaming to be a photographer; among its streets I walked hoping to see the miracle, the perfect image to capture, even just with my own eyes.
It was indeed an emotion to be back in Brera, after more than five years away, to take photos to the lovely Sofya. I used to go to the library, inside the Brera’s Pinacoteca, to read and study, when my future was still unsure but strong my desire to give it the right shape. Following the same memories, I had my second shoot with the beautiful Alexandrina at Indro Montanelli’s Gardens. I lived just a few minutes away from the park, then, and I spent so many spring afternoons walking on its paths, and experimenting with my first camera. I can still remember a day in March when a bunch of children were playing among the trees and soap bubbles were flying in midair. That was one of my first picture. My style has changed and I grew as a photographer since then, but the amazement for beauty has remained the same.

Models: Sofya Berezhko, at Wonderwall Management; Alexandrina Graur, at Brave Models

@2019 Flavia Catena

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Jessica – Beautiful little things

Precious is the flower that stays hidden in a corner, unseen, but yet beautiful, when the sun makes it shine at the end of the day. Precious is the flower that has no name, the one shown and sold on the street, the one offered as a present, the one kept inside a book, dried, as a memory. Precious is your heart which remembers this all.

Some lovely photos from a test shoot with the gorgeous Jessica Fuhrmann, from Linden Staub. Make up: Ceci Wu.

©2019 Flavia Catena

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Fana

Back to a fashion story shot last autumn with the beautiful and sweet Fana, from Linden Staub. In the amazing location of Richmond Park, we played with vintage and dreaming clothes while the sunlight started fading on the horizon.

Model: Fana Dade, Stylist: Yuriko Hiratsuka; Hair and make up: Ceci Wu; Hats: Elena Shvab

©2018 Flavia Catena

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Anastacia

Today I am sharing with you some portraits taken to the beautiful Anastacia, new face at D1Models. Despite the very limited time we had to shoot this – it started raining very badly and the wind did not allow us to work but only to run and seek shelter – I enjoyed this relaxed session, and I am quite happy with the result of it. Many thanks again to my lovely model, and to the British weather which always pushes me to do better despite the difficulties!

Model: Anastacia, at D1Models

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