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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Portraits in Oxford and London

“Hope” is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops – at all
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.” Emily Dickinson, Hope is the thing with feathers

Here are a few portraits taken at the end of last year to some beautiful and talented girls I worked with in Oxford and London, focusing on natural beauty and candid moments.

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Odella
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Agnessa
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Silence

The world, these days, is so loud, rushed, caothic! I was thinking about it this morning, still curled up in bed, and suddely I remembered the day when I was travelling to Etna – the Sicilian volcano – with my parents, and the moment we went out of the car for a few minutes to admire the landscape. No one was around, not a human being, not an animal. Birds were not chirping as there were not trees or bushes. The silent, in that black, desert space, was so perfect, so complete, that it seemed like Earth itself has stopped spinning. I could hear my own breath like when underwater; each of my little steps was echoing. I almost feared like, by just being there, I was destroying the harmony of the place. And so, for a moment, I stopped moving, I stopped breathing, and I became part of that marvel.

I was away from the blog for very long, I know! The truth is that I have been feeling the urgent need to keep myself hidden in my own little world; I have been looking for that perfect silence both outside and inside of me. Does this feeling ever touch you as well?

Sharing now some of my most recent favourite photos, I wish you a Merry Christams and Happy New Year!

©2019 Flavia Catena

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Model: Jade Van Kooten

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Model: Dovile C.

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Model: Lauren Walker

On Renaissance and daily melancholy

“Il mio segreto è una memoria che agisce a volte per terribilità. Isolata, immobile, sul punto di scattare, sto al centro di correnti vorticose che girano a spirali in questa stanza dove i miei cento orologi sgranano battiti diversi in diversi timbri. Se alzo il capo li vedo fiammeggiare, e ad ogni tocco di fuoco corrisponde un’immagine. Sempre sono trascinata fuori di me dalla tempesta di vivere. Che cosa è il tempo, e perché deve considerarsi passato? Fino a quando viviamo esiste un solo tempo, il presente. Una forza struggente mi prende alle viscere: costruttiva o devastatrice non mi è dato di sapere; è senza regola, almeno apparente.” Rinascimento privato, Maria Bellonci

Images from last spring photo-shoot with the lovely Leonie as model and the talented Meg Wakefield as make up artist.

©2019 Flavia Catena

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Jen – Natural beauty portraits

I haven’t post in a while, as busy with work first and then happily distracted by the sun, the blue sky, and the sea! I have been in Berlin for a few days, and in Italy for two weeks. I still can’t believe holidays are finished already! Could summer repeat itself again and again?

I have so many photos still unpublished, so I will start from a test done at the end of last spring. Jen was stunning without make up; I feel her natural beauty and bright personality really stand out from every image we took! Do you agree with me?

Model: Jen White

©2019 Flavia Catena

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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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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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Conversation with Female Photographers – Kat Terek

I met Kat on a Saturday winter morning. The dark clouds were hiding the sun which tried to sneak out at times, while we were talking, seated at a coffee shop nearby Farrington station. I had asked Kat to choose a location she had a sort of connection with, where to take her portrait.
It took me long to give consistency to a series of thoughts I have been having for months, and then, one day, I woke up thinking to shoot a series about female photographers, in order to describe the strength, the passion, the perseverance of being a mind and a soul behind the camera, and of showing both the mind and the soul in the images that camera helps taking.
Kat was then the first photographer I decided to approach, and I was so happy she accepted to take part into my project. We have been following each other’s work for quite some time. I immediately loved Kat’s style, the warm colours giving depth to her photographs, the light enriching them and the stories she was telling through them. This is what she loves of being a fashion photographer: the possibility to work around an idea and to develop its narrative in a clear but personal way.
Kat discovered her passion for photography a few years ago, when she was studying Audio Video Engineering at Glasgow University. It was thanks to a Film project she got involved into that Kat bought her first camera, an analogue lens to go with it, and started capturing what her eyes could not stop to look at, from people on the streets, to friends and all the little things which sometimes go unnoticed in our daily life.
Soon after moving to London, Kat developed her interest for fashion photography as well. During our conversation, she stated how important is finding a good team while working on a creative project. Respect, trust and especially kindness are very important, essential, when communicating with someone, whether they be a make up artist, a stylist or a model. The fashion world is like a big ladder – she described it – that one needs to climb step by step. And for this to be an ideal world – or anything close to it – there would need to be more interactions between photographers, without a feeling of competition, and more empathy and consideration for everyone who is part of it. This is not a job we can do on our own: giving and receiving emotions is what makes it real, what makes it special.

I want to thank Kat so much for sharing her experiences and opinions, and for the hours she spent with me, taking photos and chatting. Don’t miss to have a look at her work visiting her website: http://www.katterek.com, and Instagram: @katterek. You’ll also find a few of her beautiful images featured at the end of this post.

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Here below some of Kat’s fashion shoot!

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Lost in the ’70s

“For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands”, Christina Rossetti

Photos taken in collaboration with Danielle and Nicole, two twins with a passion for vintage – in particular for the ’70s – and a very great sense of style indeed! Don’t miss to have a look at their online shop (https://www.depop.com/betty_berry), you’ll find incredible clothes and you’ll start thinking what to add to your wardrobe!

A special thanks goes also to the hair and make up artist Daisy Oldershaw and to Bianca Elgar (accessories and home designer) for allowing me to use her house for the photoshoot.

©2018 Flavia Catena

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