Artistic Director & Photographer – Katriena Emmanuel
Stylist – Amy Stewart
Hairstylist & Assistant Stylist – Aleesha Darke
Makeup Artist – Sally Rutten
Models – Cassandra Robinson of Viviens and Amy Jarvis of Dallys
We are ridiculously excited to present the sixth instalment of The Handsome Project. The Handsome Project features young photographers who blow our mind, shoot our stuff and are all together fantastic. Read on to see the rest of Katrienaâ€™s WAH photoshoot and interview!
How did you get to here? (Whatâ€™s your photographer history?)
At the end of 2008 I felt unsettled, on a course of self discovery, as I felt dissatisfied with my para-legal job and wanted to find a career that I really loved and felt passionate about. I felt inside that I had to do something creative, as I was always artistic growing up but held the stereotypical view that there is no future in art. But I could no longer resist the calling to let myself succumb to art and at first I was considering doing a graphic art course and then more and more I started noticing all these great photographers, many of whom were self taught and I thought why not, photography for me is a lot faster way than composing a painting and now photography consumes me, I cannot look at anything in the same way now, my mind has like a heightened awareness now.
Are you a self-taught photographer or did you have a mentor/teacher that showed you the ropes?
I’m a self-taught photographer and do all my editing/ retouching so far.
How did you come up with the concept behind your Handsome Project shoot?
Well when I first saw the wolf print (The Protector) and the horse (the Knight), I conjured up thoughts of like the spirit totem animals and then when I eventually learned the collection was called “Memoirs”, I thought one thing was common to both, spirits and memories can sometimes be a blur, a flash snap shot of a moment, a time or a feeling. I wanted to create both that out of body spirit feeling and that flash blur of a moment in time, or a memory. I get a retro feel when I look at the current and past collections and translated this hopefully into one big Studio 54 – disco makeup and hair . I also wanted to take the collection from the beach into a cosmic dance floor, in order to show that the collection could be worn as everyday stylish wear, to the nightclub or simply to walk down the street, and if it rains, well , kick off everything else and go dance in the rain in your Handsome swimsuit. That is what I love most about the label, its versatility and surrealistic prints.
What keeps you enthused in the photography industry?
I’m hungry for more, hungry to try everything at least once, to experiment, to inspire, to hopefully make everyone’s jaw drop one day and to be able to make this a full time career so I can create magic every day, even if it means lots of restless nights thinking, brainstorming, learning and dreaming.
Describe your approach in three words.
Surreal, unorthodox and unique
Black & white or colour?
If you’ve seen the inside of my house, you’ll answer the question for me. Colour! I personally love black and white photographs as they are timeless and more emotive but in terms of what I mostly shoot in, its colour!
Do you prefer film or digital? Why?
I’m an impatient person, so would have to say digital as you no longer need to shoot hundreds of photos, hoping that when you develop them all in the dark room, you’d got that one perfect shot that summed up everything. Now with digital, you have a fair idea of what it looks like in camera seconds after taking the shot and can stop right after you’ve got the “money shot”.
I’m a Canon girl, since I was little, I remember my Mom using a Canon film camera, and now I’ve upgraded to a 5D Mark II which I enjoy using, although my arms get a good work out by the end of the day.
Describe your photographic approach.
It all depends on what I am shooting and the purpose of the shoot, whether its personal or for a client, but in general I work with a story in my head, and if its a personal project of mine, I love to piece together the hair, makeup, researching the trends and then letting my creative team put our own spin on it, sometimes I’m just inspired by the garment, or the model, or the location, or I get a crazy idea in my head while doing mundane chores, like making sushi into hairstyles.
What turns you on?
Having a supportive and equally creative team alongside me, is guaranteed to produce an amazing photograph. Without that creative team, the photograph I produce won’t be as refined or as finished without that touch of a skilled makeup artist, hairstylist, stylist or talented model to help me construct it all together.
What turns you off?
If you could take your photography in any direction without fear of failure or rejection, where would it lead? What new things would you try?
I want to try all styles of photography, experiment more with both studio and natural lighting. And of course, having a bigger budget wouldn’t hurt me either, to add some more equipment and props to the little I currently have at the moment. But perhaps my ultimate dream would be to work for a top Australian fashion magazine, I’d want to shoot all the amazing Australian designer labels across this diverse landscape of Australia and meet all the artistic and fun loving people along the way.
Best advice youâ€™ve ever received.
My Granny always tells me this, mostly at times when I used to get frustrated with whatever was bringing me down in life….she’d say “Put love into every thing” and that once there is love, you are no longer fighting it, it will just all fall into place. I hope this is true!
What is the one quality you think is needed for a photographer to be great?
Having an imaginative and inquisitive mind.
Where to next?
The stars! Seriously, it would be my dream to photograph editorials for high fashion local and international magazines like Karen (NZ), Noise (Aus), Vogue Italia and Harper’s Bazaar Australia.
Katriena Emmanuel – http://www.emmanuelphotography.com.au
Amy Stewart – http://www.glamtanandstyle.com.au
Aleesha Darke – site under construction but www.aleeshadarke.com
Sally Rutten – http://www.sallyr.com.au
We Are Handsome would like to send a standing ovation and a giant cyber-hug Kat’s way for creating this stunning photoshoot!