A collaborative shoot with fashion designer Maria Cutajar, makeup artist Natasha Polidano and fashion photographer Bernard Polidano.
Working with photographers and in studios isn’t something new to me. I’ve had my fair share of photoshoots, as well as directed others. But this time, things were different. I was not only the one in front of the camera, but I was also part of the creative mind behind the workings of this project, and it indeed was something very different from what I’ve experienced before.
Collaborative photoshoot with Maria Cutajar, Natasha Polidano & Bernard Polidano
Being one of the four creative minds, which worked together and fusing ideas towards a common goal that would shape into something unified and beautiful was truly electrifying to every cell of my being. Truth be told, I was worried about how things would work out from the concept creation to the planning and even to the day of the shoot. Experience has taught me that at any given point, something can go wrong and you may find yourself standing in the middle of rubble which once was a great idea and the beginning of something beautiful.
This time, it was not the case. And I must give credit where credit is due, the reason why we succeeded was solely because of those who were part of this project. People say that the work of the individuals you work with affects the result, but I’m not quite sure whether people are truly aware of the effect itself. Let me begin from the very beginning, the team behind Facets of Inanna.
Fashion designer Maria Cutajar
The first time I got the chance to view the work of Maria Cutajar was during her presentation at Malta Fashion Week 2018. It was not her first fashion show as she has taken part in several, including Mid de Fleur Florence and her very own event Forbidden Voices in aid of Domestic Violence. During Malta Fashion Week 2018, it was the only presentation that truly grasped me and when looking around, I saw how I wasn’t the only one who was emotionally overwhelmed by not only her work but what it stood for.
Maria, a Maltese designer who studied at MCAST Art and Design, continued her studies at Accademia Italiana in Florence in 2014, after being entitled to a full scholarship. In 2015, she was chosen to collaborate with Sharjah Businesswoman in Dubai, on the Collection Coral Vibes. Her journey then continued after her graduation in 2016, from Accademia Italiana and Nottingham University.
She has built Maria Cutajar, a high-end brand, which concentrates on handmade and designed pieces by her. She however is not just a designer, she is a true artist and fashion is just one of the many mediums of her expression. As a person, she is very down to earth and the minute you give her the opening to creative thought, she, without hesitation opens you up to the endless possibilities to create something incredible. It is a rare thing to find someone who expresses themselves so clearly and deeply through their work that it is not only their final work that touches you, but you become inspired by the little bit of themselves that they leave in their work.
Maria is one of those people whose vision combined with her talent and craftsmanship, gives you glimpses of the fashion industry from the past. It takes you back to a time before fashion become so accessible that many don’t stop and appreciate the effort and thought that was placed into the creation. Her work is not mainstream not only due to its composition but also in her personal unique vision of fusing textures and shapes to recreate a strong feeling and represent a bold statement.
Maria Cutajar is not only expanding her brand but is also a part-time lecturer at MCAST in Garment Production, which is no surprise. Her love for art and expression is so deep and inspiring, that as a person she does not only create her own designs but also teaches and guides others. She is truly an inspiration and it was a real honor to have had the opportunity to work with such a vibrant artist.
Makeup artist Natasha Polidano
I have seen and admired Natasha’s work for as long as I can remember. In my eyes, she was one of the first makeup artists that helped forge the makeup industry in Malta to what it is today. Natasha has been in this industry for 25 years and has won the makeup artist award at Malta Fashion Week 3 times, which leaves me to believe that I am not the only one who sees that she has played a big role in the industry. Natasha is also expanding her creativity and talents beyond makeup. She is currently doing a course in fashion design and retail. Some may have come across a few of her pieces and if you haven’t, I highly suggest keeping an eye out.
Natasha’s work is very vast; however, the public is mostly exposed to her work in the wedding industry for clients as well as for bridal photoshoots. During yearly events like Malta Fashion Week, we also get the chance to admire her work in a more artistic manner which has no bonds. Natasha has a unique balance of both creativity and organization, which is a rare thing to find nowadays. She has had many years of experience as a makeup artist and is open to experimenting and working on something different.
During this project I left the makeup entirely in the hands of Natasha, knowing that she not only has the talent but most importantly she has the creative vision. We had several outfits, so the makeup was a little tricky as we had to make sure that it worked for the overall looks, but also left room for adjustments for specific looks.
From my experience, I usually end up hovering over every single person during a project. During this project, Natasha played a huge role in being an anchor, which allowed me not to have to worry about all the pieces coming together. It is exhausting to constantly make sure everyone is doing their part and worrying that things may fall apart. In the end, you usually lose all energy and motivation and you just want things to get done.
This time, it was different. Natasha’s experience, knowledge, and overall nurturing and organized personality, allowed all of us, especially me, to fully let go, trust and join the creative bubble that flourished during the day of the shoot. I have always wanted to work with Natasha, ever since my early modeling days. I didn’t realize just how much it was going to mean to me about working with her until this project and I am very grateful to have had this opportunity.
Fashion photographer Bernard Polidano
Bernard is no stranger to many and is yet another unique person that I have always wanted to work with. He has also been in the industry for 25 years and has won the fashion photographer award at Malta Fashion Week 2 times and he hasn’t stopped impressing us. He has also been at Milan Fashion Week and London Fashion Week as well as his work being published in numerous fashion and bridal magazines.
An interesting fact to note is that photography is not Bernard’s full-time job. His career is on the opposite side of the creative field, in the sciences. I guess this just comes to show that regardless of what line of work you choose, when you have talent, it will always remain with you and it is up to you whether you nourish it or not.
Bernard has shown us time and time again just how versatile his skills are in photography, both creatively and technically. I can still remember seeing some of his work and without even seeing who the photographer is, knowing that this shot was done by Bernard Polidano. Regardless of what style or technique is used in a photo, Bernard has a very particular eye for detail and depth. His work reflects a certain depth that carries some sort of mystery and has you looking at it as you would look at a painting in a museum.
In terms of the actual collaborative photoshoot, Bernard is one of the most comfortable and easy-going photographers I have worked with. He makes a photoshoot seem so easy that you can’t help yourself but relax and enjoy every minute of it, without worrying about the final result. You feel at ease in trusting him fully with his extensive knowledge and experience in fashion photography.
It always helps, especially in studio photoshoots, to work with photographers that have a creative mind, as you can work in sync towards a shared vision. A lot can be done during post-production, however, one thing that can never be reproduced is a certain intensity of an emotion, that is only expressed during that moment during which the photo is taken. It takes a specific type of artist that can recognize that split-second moment and capture it. I have been a fan of Bernard’s work for many years and to have the chance to work with him has been a farfetched wish. This project needed a very specific type of photographer and I couldn’t have thought of anyone better to work with than Bernard Polidano.