On Female Photographers – Olga Gridina

I had already met Olga in person once, before seeing her again for our portrait photo-shoot, on a gorgeous summer day, in London. We had been chatting online and following each other for around a year.
I still remember Olga’s first message to me, surprisingly asking about my work as a hobbyist writer. I happily found out we both love writing stories, and you can easily see how Olga is great in doing so also with her beautiful photos.
Originally from Russia, Olga Gridina attended the University in Yekaterinburg, where she received a Master degree in Arts with a specialisation in Architecture. She worked for many years as graphic designer, in the advertising, film and game industry, travelling around the world and living in some amazing places such as Spain and New Zealand. This until she moved to London, eight years ago.
Since then, she worked as a portrait and fashion photographer creating amazing images which are featured on magazines and platforms all around the world.
Her models are both strong and beautiful creatures. Very often they are redhead girls of renaissance inspiration, who dance in the wind and become one, in beauty, with the nature. Olga is also a very talented photographer of children, and her “painting” skills become evident in some of their beautiful portraits.
She loves connecting with people, when she works; and she encourages everyone to bring their own ideas to the shoot, to be themselves and have fun. Although she reckons this industry is a very competitive one, and jealousy is often a predominant feeling among photographers, she knows how to enjoy the little spot of quiet and creativity she found in it.
Talking to Olga, you can just smile and appreciate her lovely personality. She is a generous, down to earth, lively person whose positive feelings definitively shines in the eyes of those she photographs.

I thank Olga so much for the beautiful time spent together and I invite you to follow her work on Instagram: @olgagridinaphotography and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/olgagridinaphotography.

©2019 Flavia Catena

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And below some stunning portraits by Olga!

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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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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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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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In Conversation with photographer Katt Webster

Finn, a black, curious cat, jumped on the couch where I was sitting, ready to start a new conversation about fashion and photography. He smelled my face, as a way to welcome me, and then started wondering around the bright room. Katt Webster is Finn’s owner, and the second artist I decided to portrait for my new series about young women behind a camera.
Katt is a very talented photographer whose style captured me since when I first had a look at her work. The beautiful pastel colours of her images, the harmony of the poses and compositions make her pictures really captivating and pleasant to the eyes.
Katt’s adventure with photography started when she was 16, and she was living in a small village in the surrounding of Oxford. Some fine art and photography courses make her interest in the field grow (one of her teacher was interestingly Norman Parkinson’s nephew!), and she began experimenting with shooting fashion, something that had fascinated her since she was a teenager. She then moved to London and worked for some time as social-media manager before becoming a full time freelance photographer.
Photography can be definitively a difficult path to walk on, sometimes, Katt reckons, but those around you really make the difference. She feels lucky to collaborate and work with emerging designers, brands and creatives. Although a certain luck of communication and the difficulty – sometimes also as a woman – to be recognised and supported can be draining, meeting new people, people to share a passion and an inspiration with, and doing something different everyday make her feel free. And freedom is what gives every artist a reason to live with their art!
We had just finished talking about this when Katt introduced me to Teddy, her youngest adopted cat, only one month, that I decided to photograph with her. Of course, we included also Finn in the session, and had what every creative should have when working: a lot of fun!

I thank Katt very much for her time and for what she shared with me about herself and her work. Do not miss to have a look at her website: https://www.kattwebster.co.uk/, and follow her on Instagram: @kattwebsterphoto. Here below you’ll see also a selection of her beautiful portraits!

©2019 Flavia Catena

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Katt Webster’s photos:

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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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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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Beate – Bianca Elgar’s Collection

“Whatever circumstances arise, do not plunge into either elation or misery, but stay free and comfortable in unshakeable serenity… and just as the sun shines freely through space, your compassion cannot fail to shine on all beings.”, a Tibetan saying, from the memoir of Beate Howitt, the beautiful, inspiring lady you can see in the photos below (I will probably dedicate another post to her amazing life, so stay tuned!). I had the big pleasure to know her and photograph her as muse of Bianca Elgar, a talented fashion and home designer based in Oxford (we recently found out we are also neighbours!). The cheerfulness of Beate, on set, was contagious, and the all team had so much fun while taking these photos that I will remember the day as one of the best of my photography year. Note: all the smiles and laughs you’ll see were totally spontaneous!

Model: Beate Howitt; Designer: Bianca Elgar (www.biancaelgar.com)

©2018 Flavia Catena

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Dancing souls

“Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.” W. B. Yeats, The Land of Hert’s Desire

Another project about dance, grace, and beauty I have worked on with the amazing Travis Clausen Knight, James Pett, Chiara Favaretti and Steff D’Arsy, whose souls shine in every movement they make! Thank you to offer me yours talents, friendship and precious time! A special thanks also to Ryn Zhan for the beautiful make up!

©2018 Flavia Catena

 

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