We’re transfixed by this stunning photo shoot from Berlin-based photographer Anna Belial.
“Calluna” is a portrait series with model Angelique, who cuts a ghostly figure over hillocks of Scotch heather (which also gives the photoshoot its name!).
This bold, emotional shoot features a truly breathtaking gown, which looks as though it could have been carved from marble as it swells and billows against the woods and wildflowers, playing with shapes, contrast and motion. With its lush outdoor setting and otherworldly, contemplative poses of the model, this shoot would look at home amongst the Pre-Raphaelite paintings of John Waterhouse.
Keep reading for an inspiring interview with photographer Anna!
Q: When did your love of photography first blossom?
A: As a child and in my early teens I almost hated photography. Yes, yes, I didn’t start with a passionate love towards photography, but it was because I didn’t like to pose for photos, nevertheless I had to. I liked to paint, what I did of course. I also was taken into the art school pretty early. So my model career was out of the question and I did the photographs only as references to my painting projects. I liked being one with the camera a lot. I did lots of photos of my friends with a point and shoot camera and people liked it. But it was just fun, I was a person who could do some pretty nice shots but nothing more.
Then I went to study architecture and soon realised it wasn’t my thing. So I was pretty bored, we haven’t been allowed to do paintings, we did just drawings. That’s how I agreed to go for modelling with my friend to a photographer whose works I adore even now. For the first time I saw what one can do with a camera, light, people and surrounding. I felt in love. Right there. Lots of ideas overwhelmed my head and somehow I ended up assisting in the shooting instead of modelling there. And I remained his assistant for a few more years. I also was allowed to be a second photographer on the shootings with him, which only made me love photography even more. This love made me a photographer.
Q: What inspires your creativity the most?
A: I think the model itself inspires me the most. Everyone is so unique and it makes my imagination flow in search for the best representation on how I see the person I’m about to shoot with. Then there is a place itself. Sometimes I see a place and a picture pops in my head. And normally I’m obsessed with this image until I make it. But when I don’t have an opportunity to realise my ideas, I just make sketches of it and then a sketch book will inspire me again.
Q: Please tell us more about the experience you had planning and capturing this stunning series?
A: It was quite a spontaneous shooting, but all conditions were perfect: the model I adore from the start of my photography career was there and wanted to make some photographs with me, she is also a designer of her fashion clothes, which were suiting the place we found for a shooting just perfectly. The weather created the right mood and we still had 3 hours for shooting. We were able to make all of it just because of the peopl, who assisted us during the shooting, hosted us and showed us around. So for this shooting with limited time and equipment I was able to concentrate myself on the picture just because of the people around me and their support.
The process of the shooting itself was a pleasure. We all understood the idea the same way and the work went very smoothly. I guess it was the feeling of the place and the clothes we chose. It’s not every time like this and normally I try to spend time talking over the idea with my model, making a mood board, but not this time. Maybe it is also one of the reasons I like this series so much. It is just full of creativity, inspiration and work from every single person involved in the shooting.
Q: What is it like being an artist and photographer in the creative city of Berlin?
A: Surely you meet lots of interesting and very creative people here. And this is fun! For me it boosts the creativity the most, working with other people, especially so many who are talented and full of ideas. Berlin is also a very diverse city, full of beautiful people, even though many don’t realise it and are still afraid of the camera. But I’m working on it ;)
I think the best part about Berlin is that if we shoot outside in the public place no one would stay and stare, comment or somewhat interrupt a shooting process. I guess in the city where every second person is somehow related to some kind of art, people have a respect for the work of others.
Q: Lastly, what do you hope to achieve with your photography career in the not-too-distant future; do you have any exciting upcoming plans you would like to share with us?
A: I hope I will be able to work on my personal projects even more with even more people. I surely do like to shoot weddings and lifestyle, if I have a chance, but this is not my primary field of work. So if people like the personal work I do, I’m glad to shoot with them something different as well. And I hope it will be even more so. It makes me happy to see when people like my works and I hope I will be able to reach out to even more people with my photography. Without all of their support I wouldn’t be able to progress and improve my photography. I guess I wouldn’t be able to do it at all. I also hope for more collaborations, as I just love this kind of exchanging ideas!
Right now I have plans with Angelique, for which she creates few new dresses and I’m searching for the right location. This one might be the most anticipated project for now, but I also have upcoming shootings with new models, which are not a bit less exiting! I also hope it’s exiting to all of my followers, because this means new ideas, new locations and, I hope, more interesting works!
Anna Belial’s work features an abundance of ethereal, intimate shoots featuring women in sumptuous natural settings. Check out her work on her official site, Deviant Art and Instagram (@annabelial).
Cecile Blackmore is a writer from Brisbane, Australia. She writes and edits at The Creative Issue and hoards vintage clothing – follow her adventures on Instagram at @saintcecile.