Monday, 24 February 2014

Poignant

I received this sad message yesterday...

Hi Antonella,

The prints have arrived safe and sound, Thank for your help, they look great. The picture has particular happy memories as my mother ( oldest lady on the left) sadly passed away 2 weeks ago. So happy memories ( the wonderful thing about photos I think)Thanks again  L & K

just a reminder that life goes on, and some of us are left behind.  Thank God for images captured and great memories kept forever....

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Creative Shoot Styling

I had a very interesting meeting with a great London based creative hair stylist this week - he also happens to be a shoot stylist, though that was not the reason I got in touch, indeed I was not aware he had this role.  We discussed a possible collaboration, and typical me, although I always have ideas for what I want to create/achieve, took nothing but a notebook and pen with me.  

My collaborations do not base on preconceived ideas.  I listen to the people I am working with and try to understand what their strong points are and what their goals within this collaboration are.  Sometimes, during this initial conversation, I push people a little bit as I want to find out not only what they want to and can do but also what they won't and can't. This is important for me, as I would never want to push a collaborator too much during the creative process. in both the prep just before the shoot and also during this, knowing very well that if I wanted to I could go too far and upset the delicate balance of what is essentially, a group of people who are coming together creatively for the first time.  

Even when you work with your own established team, you are likely to be introducing different models, therefore it is essential to maintain this fine balance till at least the end of the shooting.

Diva behaviour is not something I enjoy very much so people with attitude don't make it to my short-list, which is why I always try to meet with the people i will be working with.  If my gut feeling says no, then I will think about whether to take this forward...

Back to the shoot stylist.  We mostly talked about ideas for hair but he also talked about his role as a stylist.  I then just suddenly realised that up to now I have never engaged one, maybe because I worry that they may take over most of the creative process pre shoot and that the resulting imagery would have less of my imprint only.  

I had not realised that I am doing a lot of extra work some photographers don't do.  I have always stylised my own shoots and that all the timeline and planning always falls on myself.

My process is usually quite meticulous and unless I am pressured, I will not propose a date for shooting until everything is sourced and available.  Everything beyond the model turning up, and the MUA and hair stylist doing their bit, is usually up to me.  this includes location scouting, deciding timing of shoot for best lighting, planning transport of kit, clothing, purchasing/modifying props and getting all the team organised and with a clear idea in mind.  
It just struck me how lucky some photographers are to have a stylist assist and take a little of the planning and execution.  or am I the lucky one as I retain more control over the execution of my vision?

I spend my "free time" (really and truly I don't even know what free time is!), going into charity shops, vintage stores and all sorts of random places, from B&Q to gardening centres scouring for and sourcing items for a shoot.  I have a small collection of items that are readily available and stuff that I have hunted for instinctively that is waiting for the right moment to me used.  Being Maltese, I am immensely resourceful and practical and can usually come up with a quick solution if things get a bit complicated or too expensive to take forward.

My personal baby blanket, all of 46 years old, has appeared, complete with tatty ends and holes in a photo that is published on the Vogue Italia Website.  old coats, bustiers and bits of my old wardrobe have been used, and I have created interesting backgrounds out of curtain bits, odd drapes and even my bedsheets on occasion...

This is a tedious process but at the end when the images are complete I am left feeling as if I have completed a body of work, rather than having been part of it.

If you are a photographer reading this, I would love to hear your opinion about this subject...

Do you work alone, or do you use stylists, and if so, do you always use the same person because they have become part of the creative team and understand your vision and way of working?
Let me know what you think by posting a comment at the bottom of this posting...

In the meantime I am looking forward to planning the shoot with the creative hairstylist, hopefully very soon :)

Best wishes X

Friday, 6 December 2013

Who do YOU think you are? - a lovely testimonial

I received an unexpected and very wonderful surprise this morning, a link to an article written by a lovely person I photographed some months ago.  Jenny Eaton runs the EOS Programme in Norwich and wanted some images taken to update her image portfolio.  She did not feel that the images she then had represented her true self at that point in time. We therefore worked together to create some images for her.  On receipt of the images, she let me know how happy she was with the work and how many positive comments she received on her social media pages.  Success!

Like many other shoots I do, my images for Jenny did not end up on this blog.  Many of my clients seek my assistance in creating an image that will boost their morale.  They do not need their photograph plastered on a website/blog to advertise their photographers' skills.  Keeping work private maintains clients' trust and confidence in my business.  It does of course mean that I have less images to publish than I would like, but then you can get lovely testimonials to support one's work.... and wow was this a lovely surprise and great testimonial this morning :)
(click on the image to read the text as published on Radiant Magazine!)



If you would like me to work with you to create images of you that reflect your inner soul give me a call or drop me an email, I am always happy to help :)

Happy weekend! :)

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Goodbye Great Yarmouth

The house is empty, everything is packed and I am raring to go...

I am embarking on a new and exciting adventure, a move that will be a new chapter of my life.

For various reasons, I have not felt completely happy here.   Even though Great Yarmouth has many good things going for it, it is not as open and multicultural as I had hoped.  Even though I managed to earn decent bread and butter here, the lack of energy in this environment has taken a toll on my own energy and positivity.  Even amongst creatives I have found lack of trust and confidence that binds them down and ties their wings...
 
My creativity and happiness is directly linked to my environment and I think it is the right time for pastures new, exciting and difficult challenges that will keep me an my toes, and new opportunities to take my business to the next level.

This post may seem sad, and I am a little sad for this town that seems to miss opportunities to move forwards, and home to some who find it difficult to change .... but in reality I am happy for all the new challenges I will find in my way and set myself to prove my abilities.

I took this photograph on the phone a few weeks ago whilst waiting for a client... the emptiness felt like the emptiness I was feeling in my soul at the time....


My laptop will start up again in a new place, new county, new town and new opportunities.

Blog soon from the other side :)

x

Friday, 4 October 2013

KISS

This quote by Roy Lilley, Health Commentator, caught my eye this morning...

When the Americans put men into space, the Apollo Programme sent them with a Fisher Space Pen that worked in zero-gravity, freezing cold, desert heat, underwater and upside down.   The Russians took a pencil.

Interesting point!  
I think most of us photographers are guilty of just that, complicating things just for the sake of it.  Some fashion photographers are well known for coming up with lighting setups that are more there to impress the client than actually light up the subject.

I believe that it is always incredibly important to be versatile, to have lots of tools in your toolbox and to know when to pull them out.  To do this you need to understand your client, the environment, the brief and not least the available light... you need to have a vision, a clear idea of where you want to get, however it's good to play with what you've got...

I have and use a variety of lights, light modifiers, drapes, and contraptions I use to help me get my shot - everything has it's use.  However I do find that going back to basics is rather the best way of keeping an uneasy client comfortable. Less of faffing about with leads, stands and firing flashes, more or talking, laughing and shooting...

... and this is what you get when you have a beautiful sitter, in a beautiful environment with a lovely soft light, one prime lens and lots of fun and banter :)


Thanks to Flamingo Amy for the wonderful make up and hair styling...
have a wonderful weekend ! x

Sunday, 14 July 2013

more strobistry....

A quick upload and sneaky peek today as an apology for to blog followers who may be wondering if I have stopped blogging... Being busy is a good thing, but it also means one has less time to post images with the hows and whys.  :s

Yesterday we packed our bags to photograph local costume maker Barry and his son Oliver. We had discussed the brief but we were unsure as to what Barry would pick out of many possibilities as the outfit to be photographed on the day.

That meant we had to create an editorial and choose a location on the fly.  I thought to delegate a part of this to my son Matt who is my assistant and is looking to become a game designer.  Part of his future role is to create scenarios for games so I gave him the challenge to come up with ideas for how to create a story with limited resources.  There is so much to creating an image that the viewer often doesn't get and part of it is creating the mood for the story the image is telling.  

My sneaky peek for today is an image of Oliver, dressed up as a confederate child.  The cornfield in nearby Burgh Castle could be anywhere in the US and the look he gives the camera is of steely determination, emphasized by the strong shadow on his nearest eye.  The image was photographed in full sun at 6pm and the strobes were used to create the particular lighting effect one behind my right shoulder and the other at 60 degrees to my left.


I hope you like this image and as usual I look forward to your comments.  If you would like to book an editorial styled photoshoot with me please email me on contact@antonellamuscatphotography.co.uk or give me a call on 07748 197522

Have a great week! x

Friday, 10 May 2013

working with beauty

A beautiful model, lovely hair and make up, a wonderful vintage nightie I bought specifically for the shoot and a wonderful fresh flower headress, all in a dreamy little known location... what more can I ask for?


The difficulty is of course, is in achieving the balance between all these lovely features and the beauty of the model, so that not one overbears the other and all the contributors get maximum benefit from each of the images which feature their input and I hope I have achieved with this image set. 

The model is the beautiful Holly, wearing a magnificent fresh flower headpiece from Norwich based master florist Jo Flowers.  Make up artistry and hair were done by the creative Herts based Claire Warden who achieved a great look and perfect finish on Holly's already flawless skin.  Such a great team to be collaborating with and I hope to be working with Claire and Jo again soon on different projects.  Exciting!!

At the moment I am looking for more work with high end portraiture and in the fashion industry.  Please get in touch with me if you think I may come up with a creative solution to your image requirements.  I look forward to hearing from you if you have a challenge for me to take up :)
Meanwhile please have a look at the rest of the set and let me have your feedback.  I look forward to your comments.










Saturday, 9 March 2013

How far would you go...?

You're on a shooting trip having a drink with a mate in a foreign town when a bomb explodes.  
The blast sends you both flying but thankfully you're both alive.  That's not to be said of the people around you.  
There are wounded everywhere and the stench is incredible.  Do you grab your camera and start to shoot like mad, aware of the importance of the event, or do you start to offer help to the wounded?

I'm sure I would be torn, very torn between the need to help and the importance of documenting and saving people's lives.  It would have to be a snap decision from me, one way or another, a swift assessment of my capabilities and where I would be most useful.  

I just want to ponder, for a moment, on the fact that we often assume that journalism is free and open, and that news just filters freely across all channels, without delay, without censorship, when in fact repression is rife, more often so than the public realize, not only in war torn countries but maybe even in other situation.  

Part of me wants to dedicate part of my life to photography for social causes.  For a long time, I have been toying with whether I would or could become a war photographer.  I am sorely tempted to run away sometimes, from photographing people in a frivolous and ethereal fashion and doing something that is of greater purpose.  It is something that I am dedicated to in spirit.  I am not afraid of challenges and am ready to take risks, however I am worried that it may be a bit late to take this on at this point in my life.   

I keep an open mind when viewing images, from whatever source or style.  I think about the social connotations of where and when or how the images were photographed.  There is a lot of meaning in the background for me.  

I follow the work of Zoriah Miller, one of the best photojournalists around.  His work is full of depth and intensity.  I hope to be able, one day, to incorporate elements of journalism a bit better in my editorial work, however at this point in time, I have little around me to work with.  \Maybe life will present me with opportunities soon....

I have just watched 'the killing fields' a 1984 film about the story of Dith Pran.  It's just rekindled a lot of energy in me again....

Monday, 4 February 2013

beauty shoot with Bohemian Love Story

It must be said that the creations of the adorable Hannah Melnyk are absolutely wonderful and I have been very fortunate to be able to collaborate with her on this shoot.  Hannah is Norwich based and designs wonderful flowery and textured adornments and trades under the name Bohemian Love Story.  I have already worked with her on the Nosferatu shoot (which I still have to properly blog about!) so it was very natural for us to get our creative minds together again once more to shoot something slightly more fabulous. 
We worked together to create images that I'm really proud to show off here, classic and stylish.

These are my favourite 8 images from the set, with the fabulous Izadora and Vicky 







Do get in touch if you would to book a photoshoot in a fashion editorial style.  I look forward to hearing from you x

Sunday, 27 January 2013

lest we forget

Today, is Holocaust Memorial Day, a time for considering the effects of the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides that have shocked the world, reminding us there is no end to evil and that we must do our utmost to prevent these things from happening again.  

I have always been very interested in all things concerning war, just because I'm interested in how people coped in that horror and because I heard lots of first hand stories from people who lived through the Blitz in Malta, secondly because my maternal grandfather was British and died in a submarine, alas I know nothing more about this.

I have wanted to do some work inspired by life during WW2 and the opportunity to work with Norwich based actress Lindy Pieri allowed me to do just that.  Lindy is a wonderful and very talented lady and I enjoyed working with her on this project.  Like me, Lindy has very strong feelings about the horrors of the war and I love the expression and intensity she demonstrated as we took this image.  

Lindy's character is looking into the horror of the events through the barbed wire.  She feels helpless and tears start to well.  We can imagine what she is seeing, what she is feeling, we don't need to see anything else apart from that expression on her face....


To read more about Holocaust Memorial Day, please have a look here

I will be blogging more images from the shoot with Lindy soon. x

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