… Dusk at Stourhead …

20 January 2015

One of our stops in Dorset was Stourhead, a National Trust property with, quite possibly, one of the best gardens in the UK. The house and the gardens date back to the 1700s, with the gardens gradually developed by its owners over a number of years to incorporate lakes, woodland, grottos, temples and an extensive range of flora and fauna. Sadly we arrived 2 hours before sunset so it was getting dark very quickly, hence the moody feel of the photos below, but I’d like to think this was probably the best time to visit as light levels dipped and shadows started to appear, only adding to the mythical atmosphere of the place. If you haven’t yet been, I would highly recommend it. This is one of THE most beautiful places we have ever visited, allowing you to escape into your very own magical fairyland.

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Lifestyle

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Old Harry Rocks

3 January 2015

Say to most people that you are taking a few days off to explore England in December, and you will get a weird look. “She is so weird, why would she want to! It’s so cold and wet!” I’m convinced they whisper as they quietly step back from the crazy camera lady. True, it is cold and horrible, but you don’t need sunshine to see the beauty of some places, and you definitely don’t need warmth.

Having visited Studland Bay back in June to photograph a rather glamorous wedding, I’ve been meaning to come back and explore the area on my own time. When we finally arrived on our mini holiday in the first week of December, seeing the windswept coastline, all moody and dark, was definitely worth the wait. It was cold and it was wet, just like they said it would be, but it was breathtaking, mysterious, wild and just awesome. We also obviously picked the windiest day in history ever to embark on the famous walk to Old Harry Rocks – you could probably stand on the edge, lean out and not fall off (no, I didn’t do that, I’m not that brave, and no, I don’t recommend you should either!).

Of course, no trip-planning is ever complete without agonising which camera to bring and which film to pack. So after a few hours of driving my husband crazy with which “look” I should go for, and should I be shooting digital or film, I settled on his present to me from a few years ago, a very sturdy and beautiful Nikon FM2, and some BW film – because nothing forces you to connect with your subject matter more than having only one camera, one fixed focal length lens, and 1 type of film (ok, 2 – but the Fuji colour film was water-damaged and I brought it along hoping to create some weird psychedelic landscapes anyway).

So here it is, my favourite frames from this part of our Dorset adventure, hope you like it! Come back for more photographic tales of thousand year old castles, 100-acre stately homes, mythical stone doors and secret pirate lairs! (Oh, and for the sake of artistic integrity, I must confess that there is one shot that was not taken by me, but by my very patient other half, taking a rare photo of a very cold and grumpy little Russian).

 

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Photographed on film / Camera: Nikon FM2   

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Lifestyle

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… Pitstop in Pisa …

6 December 2014

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Photographed on expired Fuji 800Z / Nikon FM2.

 

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Lifestyle

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… Some time in Siena …

22 November 2014

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!

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Lifestyle

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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)

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Lifestyle

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Here’s to autumn…

7 September 2014

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… and its beautiful rich palette….

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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.

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… From Bump to Baby …

11 August 2014

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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)

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Lifestyle, Portraits

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… A & J in Love …

29 July 2014

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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

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Elegant Simplicity

22 July 2014

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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.

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City Weddings

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