Hey everyone! Welcome back to the blog - so in today's post I am going to talk through my top 5 favourite images I have taken. There is no order to the pictures as that would be way too hard for me to pick!
Throughout the last week I have been posting the photographs on my instagram (@cavaphotography) so if you have come from my feed then you will have had a sneak peak, if you want to know the story behind each image then don't go anywhere!
1. SLEEPING BEAUTY
When I decided to do this blog post there was no doubt that this would be in my top 5 - which is probably why it's the first image I chose.
In my first year of university one of the briefs was called 'Every Picture Tells a Story' and I decided to recreate fairy tales and construct 3 different shoots; Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White.
The morning of this shoot was frantic to say the least, I was driving around trying to find flowers for the shoot and ended up getting a few bunches from different places. I also bought the netted fabric from a material shop and had found the flower crown at a local charity shop.
Eventually my model, Etty, and I got to the destination of a local wooded park that I shoot at a lot! Unfortunately since the university year spans over winter it was freezing cold and I felt awful asking Etty to lay on the floor in the woods surrounded by flowers with netted fabric on top of her! But I think we both agreed it was worth it for the shot!
I couldn't be happier with the outcome of the shoot - mainly for this shot which is ironic since it wasn't what I was aiming for to tell the story of Sleeping Beauty; which I don't think is represented strongly in this image. The composition just fell into place as she laid there which is every photographers dream, to be honest I didn't think about the shot too much as I was taking it. I used a small ring flash to achieve the soft, warm lighting which always adds a fantasy inspired filter to my portraits.
This was one of the first portrait shoots I have done that I truly loved and felt couldn't go any better. I think this will always be one of my favourite photographs.
2. SNOW WHITE
I think that it is pretty obvious that this image is from the same project as the one above. This project was one of my favourite bodies of work from my first year at uni.
This shoot was so rushed and I did not have much time to prepare. My original model dropped out and I was really struggling to find a replacement. Thankfully Pascale was free on short notice and stepped in for me and I think its safe to say the shoot went very well. We went to a different park/wooded area that had some ruins in it (although this isn't present in this image it was key to the longshots from the shoot).
After we had achieved the representational 'Snow White' image with apples and roses as props I knew we needed to have some close ups to act as head shots of the character.
I wanted to capture the detail of the dress which was a bargain I got from a charity shop for £5! A top tip of mine for photographers on a budget is to look in charity shops regularly - especially during prom season if you like photographing dresses!
In terms of technicalities the shot was planned and I knew I wanted a simple but elegant pose against a bush or tree with leaves in the shot so that the red and black shades were complemented by the green. Again I used my ring flash which is a bit more noticeable in this shot around her neck but again I think it adds to the atmosphere of the image.
Although this shot is simple and prop-free I do think that it signifies Snow White and the character is noticeable through many representations which is why I love the photograph!
3. CHEDDAR GORGE
So you may be thinking don't you prefer your portraits? Which yes, in my last post I called myself a portrait photographer but I do still love some of the landscapes I have captured.
This image is actually made up of 2 images, one of the sky and one of the landscape and road. I was on a road trip with my mum in 2018 and we went to Cheddar Gorge before going to the New Forest to stay with family (where we camped out for most of the night to capture some long exposures of the night sky). Don't get me wrong the images of the cliffs were beautiful on their own but I got carried away on photoshop and absolutely loved the outcome.
I am aware that the image isn't amazing or the most beautiful landscape ever to exist but I love it because of the experience of taking it. It was an adventure with my mum that I adored and will never forget, standing there in the road between the cliffs just before it started pouring; and sitting terrified at 2 am in our car in pitch black with my tripod just outside the car door trying to capture the stars. I was so happy with how the sky turned out, even managing to catch a shooting star near the top right corner! Definitely a week of shooting that I will never forget!
How could I do a top 5 without, in my opinion, one of my biggest photography achievements yet! Completing this underwater shoot and achieving a clear images made me unbelievably happy and I am so in love with the photographs still.
So the story of this image; at the beginning of my second year at uni we were given the task of coming up with a shoot for the topic 'Anthropocene' for a uni newspaper collaboration with journalist students. I was really stuck on an idea at first and I couldn't think of anything to do. I had never heard the word 'Anthropocene' yet so I spent a while researching it. For anyone who doesn't know, 'Anthropocene' relates to or denotes the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. So we were encouraged to look at the environment and after hours of research I started reading articles about plastic pollution in oceans and I came up with a pretty ambitious idea. When I told my lecturers they asked if I had a plan B and I said no - because if you have a plan B then it means you are not determined to make plan A work and why shouldn't this have worked!?
So my next step was to track down a swimming pool, a model and a dress. So the dress was easy and I bet you can guess where I got it from... a charity shop! But I wanted more material to flow in the water so I bought some red chiffon in different shades and some elastic to make a waist band with strands of material flowing from it which I think is very effective in the images.
Surprisingly, tracking down a swimming pool was actually reasonably easy too, I emailed the gym that I go to and asked about using the pool for a couple of hours to shoot for my uni project. I went in for a meeting with the manager who was very supportive of the project and agreed to let me use the therapy pool which was heated and private which was very useful for what turned out to be a 7 am shoot! Also, in case you were wondering, I used a go pro to take the pics!
So next up was to find a model, I am not fussy at all with my models - I will take anyone, you don't have to have done modelling before. My neighbour is a lifeguard so I asked her if she new anyone that would be interested and she gave me the number of someone she had trained and that is how I met Sarah. She made an amazing model and did such an amazing job underwater! The shoot went so well but I still had a lot of work to do afterwards to finish the photographs. For the newspaper images I was adding plastic into the images to put humanity in the place of animals suffering in the ocean due to plastic pollution and I was not allowed to put rubbish in the pool which is why there are images with and without the plastic props.
Check the 'Engulfed' page on my website to see the rest of the images and the accompanying article. Needless to say this shoot was an inspiration to myself and I cannot wait to do it again in my third year! (And hopefully it will be another 7 am shoot so that we can celebrate with a Mcdonalds breakfast again!)
Last but not least is another landscape from another trip, but this time abroad to the beautiful Italy.
In 2017 I went on a trip during my first year of Sixth Form with my art class to Rome. Of course I took my camera and came home with over 2000 images! But this one still stands out to me.
The memory of this image means a lot to me - sitting on the floor in this courtyard with my friends surrounded by orange trees and a bright blue skies. It was so nice to sit there for over an hour just talking. I don't remember what the building was called, just that it was some sort of gallery round the corner from our hotel.
The tones in the image are so aesthetically pleasing to me that I find it such a nice photograph to use as backgrounds for my instagram stories or to pick shades of orange or nude from on photoshop. When I think of my trip to Rome I think of this memory and image and I smile about the experience. Not to mention it is a beautiful building with delicate features that photographs simply and easily - I remember just snapping this image as we sat there. I think it is important to snap as many pictures as I can when I am somewhere new and somewhere I probably will not go back to.
Wow - what a long post! It was so nice to talk through some of my favourite photographs and share a few of my anecdotes and tips with you guys!
Hope you guys enjoyed the read and don't forget to follow me on instagram @cavaphotography and feel free to drop me a message about the blog or my work! I will be back next Sunday at 11 am BST with a brand new post!
Lots of love, Chlo x