Back in early 2009 Katriena Emmanuel found herself in a paralegal job, completely uninspired and with a sad lookout on life. That’s when she discovered photography. “It was at a time when I was feeling really depressed in my then paralegal job, just feeling like there was no purpose and wanting to work in a field where I could be creative, so I picked up my husband’s DSLR camera and began learning how to use it and practicing taking friends’ portraits and I just fell in love with how instant it was to create a beautiful image, as opposed to how long it would take me to paint one,” Katriena tells us.
“Eventually, I started networking with professional makeup artists, models, hairstylists etc to dream up concepts and stories to shoot and it quickly became addictive and made me spite my ‘day job’ even more, that I resigned it in 2011 and took a leap of faith into the world of fashion photography, now it’s just to see whether I float, sink or soar upwards since taking that leap.”
And what a better start of the ‘Does It Float’ game than making your debut on Ben Trovato shortly after you release yourself into the unknown.
Katriena’s first story for us, entitled Jeans Catcher, is a fun editorial playing on the magic of forever trendy denim. “We wanted to have a bit of fun with denim, recycling it and re-inventing it ourselves, as it’s never out of fashion in my opinion and we wanted to create an editorial that was crisp, eclectic and show some movement,” she says, adding: “It really came alive with model Izzy, who just danced her way through the wardrobe changes.”
Izzy, or Isabelle Faith which is her full name, shot to fame last year with her fushia pink hair on Australia’s Next Top Model, and is represented by Chich Management in Sydney. She’s worked with Katriena on one occasion before: “Izzy is super fun to work with, we’d worked together once before on a beauty shoot when she was then a red head,” Katriena says and continues: “- But I’d always wanted to shoot her when she had her hair dyed her trade mark pink and I thought she’d be the perfect model choice to bring denim styling alive with color, attitude and make it look more high fashion. Izzy is the type of model, who in front of the camera, transforms herself into whatever character you want her to be, she moves so gracefully from pose to pose, I often tell her she’s like a little dancer and you don’t need to direct her, she’s naturally a very creative person on her own, who needs no prompting in front of the camera.”
In addition, makeup artist and hair stylist Amy Stewart, and stylist and designer Madison Sewell joined the team.
“The rest of the team was fabulous, it was truly a team effort, as a matter of fact, every one of us pooled together our resources, bringing pieces of clothing, shoes, accessories, whatever, to also help pull together all the styling for the shoot. I’ve worked with Maddie before when she was my photographic assistant as well as the Stylist’s assistant on the shoot “Kiss of a Spider Woman” and I saw her potential as a budding stylist and designer in her own right. And I’ve worked with Amy heaps before, in fact she’s my cousin and I think that personal relationship has also strengthened my trust in her and her skills as an artist.”
Inspiration for the shoot came from Madison Sewell’s personal denim work, including home made denim dream catchers and denim jackets: “- She had posted up some dream catchers she made from old scraps of denim on Facebook, and had some cool denim jackets she made in her last year of high school and it got me thinking we could collaborate on using recycled denim to style a shoot, all initially inspired by the “denim dream catchers” she had made. And then Maddie and I got to work in digging out old denim pieces we had in our wardrobe and re-working them with other materials like feathers, leather, metal etc.”
Photography & Art Direction by Katriena Emmanuel
Styling & Design by Madison Sewell
Makeup & Hair by Amy Stewart
Model - Isabelle (“Izzy”) Faith @ Chic Management Sydney