We all have our people who inspire us in both our personal and professional lives. One lady whose work I look to for inspiration when I want to do something a little different is visual storytelling photographer Cristina Colli.
Cristina describes herself as a visual storyteller in love with flowers, creativity, beauty, simplicity, and slow living.
I too love flowers, beauty and simplicity but am not overly creative and I do quite fancy the idea of slow-living. So with this in mind I set off to the Cotswolds in mid-April, in driving snow, for a 1-2-1 with Cristina to explore styling & composition. Now you might say that as a photographer I should know about styling and composition, and I do . . . to a degree, but it can be really difficult trying to style a bee or a wasp buzzing around the garden. What I wanted to do was a little refining and fine-tuning on my still life work; besides it’s always good to exchange ideas, see how other people work and learn new things.
Cristina uses her knowledge as an interior designer to create images which tell a story. Interior designers work on the power of shapes and lines to evoke feelings; the use of colour and colour combinations to communicate; all accompanied by the use of textures to create mood balance, unity and variety. I was aware of some of these things we discussed through my flower arranging class and gardening but had never put them in the context of telling a photographic story before. It was really enlightening.
Telling the story.
Cristina creates her storyboards depending on how she’s feeling, what elements and flowers she has to hand. The background boards she uses are ones that she has made from plywood and paint; they’re very simple but very effective.
On that basis: me – what am I doing? Discussing photography, talking about design elements, drinking tea (Cristina likes her tea and has enough different types of tea to stock the local grocery store!!) and playing with flowers. I chose to use the dark backboard as I like flowers on black as I think it makes the colours pop more but that’s just me.
A few of the images from my 1-2-1 with Cristina.
Inspired to create some images of my own, I gathered a few bits and pieces and created a few images. All were done on a white canvas as a background with the intention of applying a texture in Photoshop later. The idea was there but the practicality of laboriously “cutting out” each picture soon put paid to that idea after a couple of images!!
Now I just have to get it into my head that it’s OK to crop things every now and again.
I guess the next stop is a trip to the hardware store for some plywood and sample paint pots to play with – more things to add to the list of things to buy and do!!