Photographed on expired Fuji 800Z / Nikon FM2.
Everyone we spoke to in Italy told us that we must visit Siena. “Like Florence, with less tourists. Prettier, too.” So on our way back from our anniversary mini-retreat to Castello di Vicarello (in all its splendid glory here), we stopped in Siena for a bit of sightseeing, lunch and ice-cream. Lunch was ok, ice-cream wonderful, the sights – like stepping back in time!
Some things are definitely worth waiting for, and a great holiday is one of them. Our 3rd wedding anniversary was fast approaching, and we hadn’t even officially celebrated our 2nd, so we knew we had to do something a little out of the ordinary. Tuscany has always been high up on my travel list, and having been there in 2007 with my best friend, I knew it was time to experience it once again, this time with my husband as my travelling companion and an equal wannabe bon-vivant.
Having looked at the boutique travel service Mr & Mrs Smith for what seemed like an eternity (wanting to book just about everything to go everywhere), we decided on Castello Di Vicarello - a thousand year old castle, lovingly restored by the beautiful and elegant Aurora and handsome Carlo Baccheschi Berti. It was easy to see why it was voted one of the Best Hotels In the World by Tatler a couple of years ago (amongst many other awards and accolades) – this wasn’t a big hotel experience, but more of a private luxury hideaway high up on hills of Cinigiano, surrounded by vineyards, forests and olive groves. Each suite was uniquely styled and decorated by Aurora herself, where little touches of Italy were tastefully married with Indonesian art and furniture that the Bertis acquired living in Bali many years ago. Service was truly exceptional (thank you Simo for being so attentive and wonderful), and the tranquil surroundings the best environment one could wish for as an antidote to a summer of endless work, wedding editing and travel.
And of course, for us and I’m sure for many others, the food makes the holiday. Local ham, sticky and ripe figs straight from the trees, fragrant basil from the local vegetable garden, homemade pasta, a huge array of delicious cheeses, wild boar stews and grape & berry desserts – all from the land, all seasonal and all full of incredible flavour. Not a gimmick in sight – farm-to-table in its purest form. We hadn’t event left yet and we were already looking forward to our next visit, where we are hoping to book a cooking experience with Aurora, sampling more of the local produce and creating dishes from the area. I also found out that Aurora has a gorgeous book titled “My Tuscan Kitchen” which is now firmly on my Christmas wish list (hint hint, Mr H). If you would like to experience the magic of Aurora’s cooking, here is a link for UK buyers – having tasted the food first hand, I am sure you will not be disappointed! Come back again in a few weeks for part 2 of this trip with a flying visit to stunning Siena and quaint little Pisa.
(For my photographer friends here, all images were photographed on Nikon FM2, using discontinued Fuji 800z stock. It was a nice change to see the world in 35mm again, instead of my usual medium format, and shooting at apertures beyond f2.0. Slowly but surely I’m embracing the world of shadows and contrast And I must say, Im loving the results, not to mention there is even a rare holiday photo of me, taken by my husband – such a rarity to be IN a photo instead of TAKING the photo! Anyways, enjoy the photos and let me know what you think! Lots of love, Aneta xxx)
Some things last a few minutes but feel like hours. And some things I wish never ended. When I met M & T for the first time, we barely noticed that 2 hours had passed as we drank cocktails, talked and laughed and got to know each other, whilst fantasising about their wedding. M works in theatre and T runs a brand agency, so both were very keen to showcase their personal style. Both were also excited to handcraft as many of the details as they possibly could. T designed their stunning stationery suite, mixing masculine monochrome with soft femininity of Italian art and architecture, and M used her artistic background to handcraft the guest favours – a range of intricate Venetian masks, with a different set for the men and the women.
Despite a date and a venue change, the gods of beautiful weddings decided that I was destined to photograph this wonderful occasion. When the day finally came around, the guests and I were in for a visual feast. With a party full of friends and family ranging from the design world to actors in the Shakespeare Theatre Company, the atmosphere was electrifying! I didn’t want to leave even when my time was up. I didn’t care that I had been on my feet for almost 12 hours or that my back was screaming for the sofa: I wanted to spend a little more time with my wonderful, warm and generous M & T.
And the icing on the cake? The most wonderful, tear-inducing thank-you text from the newlyweds on the day after the wedding, sent en route to their Italian honeymoon. I was and will forever be very much in love with my wonderful M and T.
A few weeks ago, someone said to me that —for them— to photograph someone well, you have to fall a little in love with that person. Visually, metaphorically, spiritually, etc. (or any other “-ly:), this is total and absolute truth — for me and I’m sure for many other photographers who love what they do and value each and every interaction with their subjects. It means that you “see” the person as they are, and beyond. You see the things that others miss. You see the moments that others may pass up as “normal”. And you see the beauty in each and every single person.
That certain something, the spark, the mojo and the “je ne sais quoi“.
I fell in love with my dear O when I first met her and her fiance at their engagement shoot a few years ago. And every time since, I see her anew and fall in love a little more (as with her maternity shoot many months ago). This time around I am falling fast in love with her adorable, gorgeous bub, who was just a dream to photograph. As many of you know, I don’t normally venture into the world of kids photography, but if they were all this fun and breezy, I may just have to reconsider. xxx
(Photographed on film, on a mixture of Fuji 400H, Kodak Portra 400 and Ilford Delta 3200)
Sunny lazy afternoons are the best. Time flies by yet everything slows down, its deliciously warm outside and meandering through the streets of City of London takes on a whole different feel. Take a gorgeous Texan babe and a handsome English gentleman, and photographing an engagement shoot doesn’t feel like work. Its just me and my new friends, hanging out, enjoying the sunshine and the sights. So many clients often thank me for making it a relaxed shoot where they feel like they can be themselves, but for this one especially, I want to thank A & J for making me feel so at ease. Lets hope we catch up over a ice-cold cocktail soon and reminisce about our shoot! x
Phew, it has been a crazy few weeks! Working non-stop for 31 days, not a single day off, multiple weddings and portrait shoots, not to mention more driving / training / flying than I care for, I am glad to say I am finally entering a period of some R&R and of course, an editing mountain of biblical proportions. Nevertheless, they are all incredibly stunning and fun events, so it is always a joy to be working on the images and relive them in all their glory. Coming back to my other backlog of equally abundant proportions – blogging – I am so happy to finally reveal this elegant London wedding, which I have been dying to show for some time now.
S & E’s simple wedding was a mixture of English, Afghani and Dutch cultures, as evidenced by the beautiful details and the guests in attendance. As an homage to her mother (who was Afghani) the bride wore her mother’s beautiful vintage necklace. The florals were a mix of big beautiful poppy heads amidst classic red roses. Henna stands and beautiful wooden trinket boxes were also a nod towards the bride’s Afghani roots, and even the evening’s cuisine featured a contemporary marriage between classic Continental and traditional Afghani food.
Once a month, I’ll be doing a round-up of some of my favorite blogs, both here and elsewhere. I enjoy reminiscing former shoots, and sometimes in the fast-paced world of blogging, the gems of the past can be forgotten amidst the archives. Since it’s June, I decided to do a “flashback” of sorts through some of my favorite blog posts. Click on the links to see them in full.
The River Cottage Wedding : I saw Louise and Phil again at Phil’s brother’s wedding a couple of weeks ago! It was so lovely to continue photographing their family.
Montreux Wedding : This gorgeous wedding stirred up happy memories a couple of weeks ago, when the bride sent me an amazing thank-you note. I needed the happy vibes and that wonderful note during a particularly tough time, both professionally and personally.
Mandarin Oriental wedding for Dianna and Rowland : I love shooting Chinese weddings as they are so colourful, full of joy, and always have amazing and never ending food!
Wedding for Rebecca and Joe : Despite the rain, R and J were still so happy to be getting married and had an incredibly happy and beautiful wedding. (Did you know they did all of their own decor, favours, invites, etc.?)
A Wedding in Provence : The light is so magical in Provence; the landscape is always inspirational and bathed in delicious golden light. I cant wait to be shooting there again as it really shows the true beauty and potential of photographing on film.
O + S are “fellow Muscovites” whose engagement shoot I covered in 2012. We really got along spending the day together in Hyde Park and ended up keeping in touch. When Olga found out she was expecting, I was delighted when she asked me to document her and S again, this time with Baby Bump in tow. We spent a really relaxed and lazy afternoon together, meandering in and around the cute streets of Notting Hill, talking, laughing reminiscing and enjoying the sunshine. We spent some intimate moments indoors at first, and then made the rounds of the cafes, parks and shops, where Olga — a professional violinist — bought a cute pastel coloured ukulele for fun.