Portraits at Oxford University parks – Tobi

August is here already, but despite the heat, the bright days and a closet full of linen dresses, I keep fighting against that feeling you get when missing something. And I miss summer. I need to wake up and be greeted by the sea, I need to smell orange blossoms and jasmine’s flowers, to pick some fresh sweet fruit from a tree and eat it, and get to sleep with the window open over a deserted field. The lockdown brought lot of nostalgia in my life, and photography, when I have the chance to work, helps me connect with the present, pushing the past away for a little while.

A few weeks ago, I met and photographed a lovely model based in Oxford, Tobi. We walked around Oxford University parks, and discovered a magic hidden spot I had never seen before, where tall, emerald grass was bowing to the wind, under whispering trees. Can you imagine, as I do looking at the photographs, a fairy moving from beam to beam, in a white long dress?

Model: Tobi Stevens

©2020 Flavia Catena

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Blue velvet – Portraits of Emelia

One month has passed since I did my first photo-shoot post lockdown. I was excited and worried at the same time, as working at a safe distance and yet dedicating the same amount of attention to the details seemed not as easy as it may sound. Yet, I faced the challenge and the outdoor world, certain that having someone again in front of my camera, someone to share ideas and to create with would have made the job pleasant in the end.

I had met Emelia, the lovely young lady I photographed, last winter. We went to a photography exhibition, in Oxford, and started discussing about how to collaborate (she is a great photographer as well and a writer, so we have many interests in common). At the time, I still had not bought the velvet fabric used for the shoot; after testing it first at home, I knew I wanted Emelia’s beautiful face captured in front of it. I did not know then that she had the perfect vintage dress – from the 70s – that would match its colour.

It was somehow like swimming in the sea staring at all that blue through my lens, and taking photos came to me as the most natural thing. Despite the distancing, the face mask, and some funny moments (the wind knocked down the backdrop a few times), I felt alive again and happy. I have never taken for granted what I do and what I have, but I believe I will cherish times like this even more from now on.

Model: Emelia Mac (https://www.poetryofthecity.co.uk/)

©2020 Flavia Catena

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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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Yebeen – A test shoot at the Barbican centre

“Turn, turn, my wheel! All things must change
To something new, to something strange;
Nothing that is can pause or stay;
The moon will wax, the moon will wane,
The mist and cloud will turn to rain,
The rain to mist and cloud again,
To-morrow be to-day.” Kéramos, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thanks to the lovely model Yebeen, from Elite, and to Floor, who is with Yebeen in the last picture of this selection.

©2018 Flavia Catena

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The sky’s daughter

“They say the sky is the same everywhere. Travellers, the shipwrecked, exiles, and the dying draw comfort from the thought, and no doubt if you are of a mystical tendency, consolation, and even explanation, shower down from the unbroken surface.” Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room

A fashion story I have worked on in collaboration with model Natasha Samsara, stylist LadyHunterxo and hair and make up artist Laura Onea. Really in love with these photos!

©2018 Flavia Catena

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Here come the colours

Back to the first days of spring, with this series about colours, youth, joy. I believe this sentence by Kahlil Gibran describes very well the idea behind it: “Let me, O let me bathe my soul in colours; let me swallow the sunset and drink the rainbow”.

A big thank to my talented and patient girls (you could not see that from the pictures, but it was extremely cold!), Marianna Saver (model), Anne Aurelie Pillet (stylist), Kayleigh Keen (make up artist).

©2018 Flavia Catena

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Nadia – Test shoot in London

Portraits from a test shoot with the sweet Nadia Boiko, from D1 Models.

Make up: Kayleigh Keen

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My sweet girl

“Pan, who and what art thou?” he cried huskily.
“I’m youth, I’m joy,” Peter answered at a venture, “I’m a little bird that has broken out of the egg.” J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan

From a photo-shoot – the last one I still had to share from 2017 – about youth and school memories with model Iman Assaber, stylist Alessandra Bertoni, and make up artist Micaela Congia. Thanks to my great Italian team for the job done!

@2017 Flavia Catena

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Two souls

Listen to the sound that comes from my soul when it meets the sun at dawn. Your soul echoes just like mine; they both have the same coloured dresses, the same shades. Whether our hands do not touch each other’s faces, whether our voices do not reach each other’s ears, our souls whisper in the distance, and we dance and live together.

From a fashion story in collaboration with Polina Schadauer-Povarich, creator and founder of Polosophia. Models: Hjordis Lara Hlidberg and Suzannah Gilburt. Make up: Micaela Congia.

©2017 Flavia Catena

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Heather

“In a world that grows more and more rigid, industrialised and concrete-paved every day, the sight of a sunny field teeming with wildflowers can almost feel like something from a fairy tale.”

These are the words that introduce my fashion story “Heather”, published on Whim Online Magazine, and that entirely describe what I felt that day in August, while shooting in those beautiful summer fields in Buckinghamshire. It seemed like to be back in a glorious romantic past and so far from the modern world that for a moment being lost sounded like a new exciting adventure.

Thanks a lot to my beautiful model/stylist and make up artist Martina Sukupova Davidson, and again to Whim Magazine! Here is the published photo-shoot: http://www.whimmagazine.com/2017/10/photoshoot-heather-flavia-catena/

©2017 Flavia Catena

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