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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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.

Alisa
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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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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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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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Esther

A selection of photos from a test shoot done with the lovely Esther Ajie and the make up artist Ryn Zhan. We had so much fun and enjoyed a very warm spring day in the beautiful Holland Park!

©2018 Flavia Catena

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