When I am not taking portraits, or dreaming to travel around the world writing about its people and wonders, I am more than happy to cover events and conferences like the one I had photographed last May at the Said Business School, in Oxford. The Social Impact Careers Conference was indeed a great event that gathered together both students and professionals to talk, share, build networks, think about the future in a positive light. I have definitively learned so much, although simply hidden behind a camera.
©2018 Flavia Catena
“The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of Heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle –
Why not I with thine?
See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea –
What are all these kissings worth
If thou kiss not me?” Percy B. Shelley
What a lovely, joyful, cheerful couple I have photographed a few weeks ago on their wedding day! It was a sweet, intimate ceremony celebrated in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, and followed by a small reception and of course a portrait session in the historic part of the town (we could not miss it, also considering how nice those little streets were looking!). No fake poses was the rule of the day, and I could not agree more! True love has not need for forced smiles and bright eyes!
©2017 Flavia Catena
My wedding season has started, and I could not ask for a better couple to work with! Jessie and James celebrated their big day last June in the beautiful location of Macdonald Randolph Hotel, in the heart of Oxford, just opposite one of my favorite photography spot: the Ashmolean museum. They had both the ceremony and the reception in the hotel, and every moment I had the honour to photograph was moving and at the same time full of smiles and laughts. It was great to see these beautiful people surrounded by so much love (Jessie’s family came for the occasion from Singapore to England and some of Jame’s friends from Australia!). This is what makes a difference in a wedding, this is what makes my work every time new and every time special.
Thank you, and a very happy life together!
©2017 Flavia Catena
At the beginning of this year, I had the chance – a very lucky one – to visit Shepherds Sangorski & Sutcliffe’s bindery. Thinking about my craft project, a few weeks before, I was looking for interesting places where to photograph artisans working with paper and books, so you can imagine my joy when I found a few articles speaking about one of the oldest bookbinding companies in England. For a woman, and before that, for a child who believed that books, especially the antique ones, smell even better than flowers, having the opportunity to access to a similar place was already a small exciting miracle. Everyone at the bindery welcomed me with an happy smile. I spent a few hours (more than planned) looking at the craftsmen working. While I was not taking photos, I simply enjoyed listening to their stories. Some of them where in the middle of restoring an old book, some where carving and decorating precious leather covers, some other were hand sewing pages and bringing ancient maps to life. I believe that the images below will give you an idea of what I briefly but happily took part into: art, in another of its form, art shining through layers of delicate paper.
I really suggest you to pay a visit to Shepherds Bookinders’ shop, whether possible, or to look at their website: http://www.bookbinding.co.uk/
©2017 Flavia Catena
Another chapter about my craft project is going to be open. Today I want to tell you a bit about Comfort Station, a jewellery brand I have discovered a few years ago, while I was visiting Shoreditch as one of those turists that always make the city of London crowded, noisy and happy. As soon as I noticed the shop’s window, I knew I had found something special. I immediately fell in love with all those necklaces and rings inspired by the constellations and the grandness of the universe. Being a real “vintage girl”, I was close to scream of joy seeing how old maps had been used on beautiful pendants, and how books had been hung on the wall to display the jewels. Not to mention the antique instruments, the suitcases, the music paper that were murmuring, together with the bracelets and earrings, words about love and beauty. Since that day I was waiting for the opportunity to photograph the person who was behind that work. And late in January this year I had that opportunity. I was very happy when Amy Anderson, the British fine artist who is the creator and designer of Comfort Station, replied to the email I had sent her saying she was interested in having me in her studio. When the day arrived, and I was friendly welcomed in her own little world (just in the basement of the shop), I was really excited and curious to see her at work. My camera was ready, so my eyes! I always find “behind the scenes” interesting. What can be better than photographing an artist who creates something in front of you? That’s why I want to thank Amy, once again, and leave you with the photo I took that magic afternoon!
Don’t miss to visit Comfort Station website: https://www.comfortstation.co.uk
©2017 Flavia Catena
As you may know already, craftsmanship and art are a real passion of mine. Since the beginning of my path as a photographer I enjoyed taking photos of people at work. Last summer, with the idea to build a proper series on British creators, I started to contact artists in Oxford and having the pleasure to have them in front of my camera.
In the photos below you can see the work of Itsuko Doherty, a great painter originally from Japan, who studied in Tokyo, at Cornell University and at the Sorbonne, and whose work has been internationally exhibited. It was such an amazing experience to see her painting and to chat in front of a cup of coffee while the neighbours’ cat was snooping around the garden!
A few days earlier, I had the joy to visit and photograph Gabriella Blakey, a lovely lady, originally from Rome, who paints elegant furnitures and works on intaglio, appliqué and inlay using coloured veneers on wood. Mainly speaking about our native country and about art, we spent a really beautiful morning together!
After a few months when I mainly did research for the project, I went back to work on it and I discovered Hannah Shipway’s creations. She is a pround pottery maker, whose beautiful tableware will make you think: “I want one!”. She has her own studio in Oxford, where I was welcomed and where I photographed one of her tipical morning at work, blessed by the sun and fascinated by the shape of the bowls coming up from the wheel.
To know more of these artists, that I dearly thank, I suggest you to visit their website: https://sites.google.com/site/itsukodoherty/home; https://www.gabriellablakey.co.uk; https://www.jerichostudiopottery.com/
©2016-2017 Flavia Catena
Amanda and Billy got married last summer in the lovely village of Wytham (Oxfordshire). I had the pleasure to work and collaborate with Amanda the year before, and I was very happy when she asked me to photograph her wedding, treating me as a friend and really trusting my vision and style! The ceremony, celebrated at All Saints church, was a very heartwarming one, and it was followed by a reception in the Wytham Town Hall. Everything, from the cake to the decorations and the childrens’ games, was handmade (families and friends worked hard on that) and beautiful. Speeches were hilarious, funny and moving. I could not expect anything better from a couple in love! Everytime I photograph a wedding like this, I feel blessed to work with such lovely people. So, thanks again Amanda and Billy, and all the best in life!
©2016 Flavia Catena
“If I had a flower for every time I thought of you… I could walk through my garden forever.” Aldred Tennyson
This is something Vinesh could have said to his Victoria, among all the other beautiful words that have been shared on their wedding day! They had such a marvelous celebration last June, and I felt honored to be their photographer for the second time. Vinesh and Victoria got officially married last year, and wanted to do a great party for those family members and friends who could not attend the previous civil ceremony. Nothing could be done better! From the location – the amazing Rhodes House – to the table setting and all the little gadget prepared for the fun of their guests, everything was joyful, young and inspiring. Also the speeches – some of which were readings from books – were touching and beautifully romantic. The best I have heard so far! Equally special was the pre-wedding session we obtained the permission to shoot at the Codrington Library of All Souls College (see the photos at the bottom of the post). For a person like me who loves books and historic locations, that was a real moment of happiness. For all these reasons I want to thank again Victoria and Vinesh for letting me be part of one of their best days in life!
©2016 Flavia Catena
Here I am, finally back, after a long month (oh wow, having a look at the calendar, actually I should say two months!) of editing my clients’ photographs and working on personal projects (lots to come).
Today I want to show you a selection of pictures from Inés and Felix’s wedding. It was really a great day, from the morning when I captured the laughs and the excitement of Inés, her bridesmaids and parents, to the ceremony of course (some sweet tears were dropping down), and to the reception at the Cherwell Boathouse in Oxford. Trees’ leaves were already turning to red and yellow, Inés and Felix surprised everybody arriving to the restaurant by punt and were welcomed by a deluge of pink petals, friends and families coming from all over Europe, a big fabric heart with their name on it, and then cakes, cakes again and English tea. This without mentioning romantic decorations, live music and all that contagious happiness.
Thank you Inés and Felix for letting me be part of it, and again congratulations!
©2015 Flavia Catena