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March 28, 2011

Interview: Meet Amelia Aventine - The photographer behind the "Secret Garden" lookbook

Hello! I hope everyone had a nice weekend:) Mine was very relaxed - I'm taking things slow now as I'm anxiously waiting for the baby's arrival. Andy and I finished watching Boardwalk Empire season one this weekend. I really enjoyed the show, and can't wait for the second season to come out! 

As I wrote before, Amelia was the photographer/stylist/make-up artist and creative inspiration behind the Secret Garden collection and lookbook. I was utterly inspired by her work, and wanted to share with you more about her. I'm so sad that she went back to UK after her short term visit to Japan... 
Anyway, here is Amelia:) 

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1.Can you give our readers a quick self introduction?

I'm Amelia, a UK based photographer. Recently my focus has been on fashion, but I enjoy all type of photography that involve people.

2.When did your interest in photography start?

It actually didn't really start until I graduated University 2.5 years ago and found myself unemployed. I had in the past thought that photography might be fun, so I decided to use my new found free time to explore it. I started off with self portraits, then also started to use friends as subject matter, and eventually in January last year I started to shoot fashion with local models and creative teams.

3.What was the first shoot you did? How did it go?

It was a bird themed fashion shoot. I found a local model on ModelMayhem, had a artist friend do the make-up, borrowed some lighting equipment off another friend and collected the props myself. I was very nervous and probably a little too shy, but the end results weren't too bad.

4. Where did you learn about photography and who are some of your influences?

I learnt photography mostly from just taking photos. I also picked up tips from books, internet forums and friends, but definitely a lot of trial and error.
Influences are definitely people with huge creative vision. People like Tim Walker, Annie leibovitz and Kirsty Mitchell. For me photography is about creating something from the imagination, a world more beautiful than is really there.

5.How do you find models and other people to work with?

I mostly use the networking site ModelMayhem. It is fantastic resource, especially in the UK where there are thousands of creatives on there. I am also lucky to have talented friends to use, and when it comes to models there is always the odd person who you see on the street who would be great to shoot.

6.You live and work England but recently spent time building your portfolio in Japan, How long were you in Japan? Why did you choose Japan? How was your experience working here?

I was there from January to March 2011. I actually ended up in Japan because my partner (also a photographer) was given a work opportunity in Tokyo.
I had an amazing time – both traveling and working. Tokyo is full of so many talented people and I was luck enough to get to meet and work with some of them. Every one is so enthusiastic and skilled, and as a result I have ended up with some incredible additions to my portfolio. I feel the whole experience and improved my confidence and fueled my excitement for photography a great deal.

7. You and I recently worked on the Secret Garden photo shoot. How did you come up with the idea?

As usual the path to the final idea was convoluted and involved many small pieces of inspiration. I saw your designs which gave the initial feeling of where the shoot should go, and I also looked through the inspiration posts on your blog and saw that there was a definite feel that linked them all.
I was then out exploring Tokyo and stumbled across the beautiful location we ended up using.  It instantly made me think of of your designs and so the idea began to take form. I then started to look around online for images liked to 'Secret garden fashion' and other whimsical fashion images using nature as a backdrop. From there I found a model I thought fitted the look, and formed an idea of the styling I thought would work – and then just let it all flow. 
This is a pretty usual situation, in the way inspiration came from many different things and the idea evolved over time and changed as new components were added.

8.What would you say is your biggest strength as a photographer, in what area would you most like to see your work improve?

I think my main strength is my creative ideas. As I said in the previous question I get inspiration from many different mediums – books, paintings, emotions, nature. I am a very visual person and I find myself taken by a particular element of these mediums and then daydreaming about the visual representation of them.
I often find myself frustrated that I can not produce what I see in these daydreams however, so I would say the area of improvement is definitely my technical abilities. In particular I would like to improve my knowledge of studio lighting, and also my skills in directing models to show the emotion of the ideas.

9. Do you have any up coming projects?

I head back to England at the beginning of April and I hope to keep the creative momentum I have gained in Japan. I would like to continue to build my fashion portfolio (I always have more ideas than time to execute them), and I would also like to explore other areas of photography. One of these is a more art based project, focusing on the visual representation of happiness – and how it is different for everyone.  

10.Do you have any people in particular that you would like to work with in the future? Why?

I am always on the look out for enthusiastic and creative people to work with. My Japan trip was the first time I had worked with designers, and shared creative control of the shoot. I enjoyed this so much - it was great to have another person to give input and bounce idea around with. I was very luck to collaborate with people who had a similar vision for the end result, and so the process flowed wonderfully and the final images were just what we all wanted.

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Check out more of her work on her website, or follow her on twitter
Entire Secret Garden lookbook can be viewed here


Emily said...

Great interview! Glad you two got to work together. :)

Cynthia said...

Amazing pictures! it's wonderful to know that you don't need to get a degree in something to be great at it. :)