Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Where When How Wednesday - Petra Callisto

Welcome to 'Where When How Wednesday'. In these weekly posts I'll be interviewing creatives about their journey into the creative world, their works, and what makes them tick. This week I'm interviewing Petra Callisto, a talented model based in Reading.

Photographer - ADWsPhotos

Hi Petra, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for me. We should probably start at the beginning...when and how did you come about getting into the world of modelling?

'Six years ago when I was pregnant with my eldest, I was under the impression that I could eat for two, and rapidly grew a lot larger than I am now. My Mum convinced me to join the gym, supposedly to accompany her, but the gym buddy didn't last too long! So I sweated and pumped for a year, and managed with the help of a personal trainer to shrink three dress sizes.  

The weight loss gave me a new found confidence in my body and Glenn Wallace of Creative Instincts convinced me to have my first photoshoot. It was worrying at first, being in lingerie and a pair of stockings in the grounds of a very posh hotel, but the confidence was growing and growing. Seeing the results, which I originally intended to keep for myself, Glenn convinced me to join PurplePort, and after some convincing, I did. The positive comments and offers of work were so encouraging that I felt great, and here we are today!'

Photographer - ADWsPhotos

Most things, especially online, tend to fall into specific genres and/or gets described as being a specific style. The trouble with this is it's quite subjective, the style someone views something to be can often differ to the style the person creating it views it as. How would you describe the work you are putting out there?

'I've always said that one person's art is another person's porn, or that we can't please everyone with our work. Sadly this is something I experienced first hand. 

I would always describe my work as tasteful, however an ex partner took it upon himself to make some very judgmental comments about my work. He took it upon himself to inform me that my family would be disgusted with my "modelling". Yes, that's him putting it in inverted comma's, not me.  

I felt so low I thought there might be something wrong with me as a person, so I took it upon myself to show my family some of my work, before he could. Their advice was "you're an adult, you do what you please."  

I'm so glad that I continued and didn’t let one person's narrow mindedness alter who I am, and would hate anyone else to go through the same. 

So I would describe my work as tasteful, a little bit cheeky sometimes, but something that I put my heart and soul into and I am so, so proud of.'

Photography, modelling and their related skills, as with most things, can have their share of problems. I personally have a particular problem with self confidence. This confidence issue can and has caused me issues with my photography. Do you find any aspects of modelling particularly challenging?

'I think most people struggle with self confidence at different times of their lives and many things can influence this. As I described above, when my ex partner was challenging my modelling, my self confidence couldn't be lower.  

I got stuck in a rut in the first eight months of my modelling, and thought "I'm expressionless, my face never changes, I just pout." So, I asked one of my best friends, Alan of ADWsPhotos to help me, it works amazingly working with someone you know so well and are so similar to! 

It's important to have someone you can rely on, a close friend, someone you can rant at, someone who boosts your morale, and makes you feel great about yourself. Sometimes I'll look at my work and think "why do I question my ability so much." 

But even though sometimes you question yourself, it's important to either take time out when you need to, or bite the bullet, take pride in what you do and crack on.'

In my series 'Foto Inspiration Friday' I share the people, images, places etc that I find give me inspiration. Who, or what, or where do you draw inspiration from?

'It might sound cliché, but I find a lot of my inspiration from other people here on PurplePort, whether it be a shoot idea that I can adapt and make my own, or I like their processing and I think, I'd like to try and edit like that. 

I find a lot of inspiration in old, abandoned buildings. They have so much character and I love to try and incorporate some of the "feeling" of these places in my work. 

I love to throw ideas at Alan, sometimes he'll say "no that's not good", often we just wing it and hope for the best. Some of what I think our strongest photos have come from him saying "umm, really?" And I insist that we give them a go! Here are a few examples: 

Photographer - ADWsPhotos,  Post Processing - Olybrius

Alan had told me that I was way too tall to stand in that doorway, but I'm pleased I was insistent! 

Photographer - ADWsPhotos

Just a bunch of Sunflowers that I was given by a friend, but I thought they would be great to use as a prop before they died. I knew exactly how I wanted to edit this set and I'm really pleased with the results. 

The great painter Jack Vettriano is also hugely influential. His work is timeless, often a little riske, and I find it just beautiful. I love going into the gallery locally and dreaming of purchasing a piece, but for the time being I had to attempt a copy:'

Photographer - ADWsPhotos,  Model - Owun,  Hair & Make Up - Amy Harding

Sometimes images hold a special significance to us. It can be the first image we ever made, it can be an image drawing attention to a cause close to our hearts, it can simply be an image of someone we love. Do you have an image or images that hold a special significance to you?

'I love this photo: 

Photographer - ADWsPhotos

This is my Grandma's ancient coat which had been sat in her cupboard for years. I have fond memories of snuggling under this coat in the Winter at her house drinking a cup of warm milk at bedtime, and when she saw the photoshoot results her face lit up. It was lovely to see.  

I like to look back at some of my older work and think how much I'm improved and learn what I can do better next time. It's all great fun and a learning curve.'

Photoshoots can sometimes leave you open to scary or funny situations. What's the scariest or funniest situation you've found yourself in on a shoot?

'Where do I start on this question! 

I'm so pleased with this photo: 

Photographer - SparkeyB

The other side of this window was a drop of about 200 feet and for someone with a fear of heights...I had nightmares for weeks about that window falling through and me plummeting to my death! 

Michael Nutt also took me to an old derelict location and the floor, as often is the case in these locations was a bit worse for wear in places, and made of iron grating. You could see all the way down to the ground from four floors up. I'm feeling a bit sick typing this. But, as I often say, we suffer for our art, and I think the results were worth it! 

Photographer - Michael

As for the funniest thing to happen on a shoot, I recently shot at Waverley Abbey with Mike Stone and Charlotte Sophie. We started off shooting some fashion and portraits, but then, as often happens with me, the clothes came off to shoot some art nude. Thinking there wouldn’t be many people around on a lovely Summer evening, we were proved very wrong when a tour group of about 40 people turned up. Cue a quick throwing on of a dress to protect my modesty, but then the group started trying to take their own photos too!'

We've talked about your start, we've talked about your current work, let's quickly chat about the future. What have you got coming up this year, more of the same? Any special projects? Plus in regards to a more long term plan, where are you hoping your creative journey will take you in the years to come?

'I don’t have a great future plan, I tend to go with the flow. I'm hoping that the next year brings much of the same, meeting great people, having fun and letting out my creative side in my work. 

I've also got into photography myself, albeit mostly children at the moment. I'm hoping to find a model who can sit or stand still for a little longer so my photos aren't blurry'

Photographer - ADWsPhotos,  Make Up & Hair - Amy Harding,  Styling - Lyndsey Boutique

When I speak to photographers I ask about their gear, it's only fair you get to geek out you have any go to items you can't live without?

'I couldn’t live without a new miracle product I've found. Its called Glam Glow. It's a green face mask that states that it makes your skin photo ready, and it doesn’t disappoint. My kids love when I plaster that on and look like the incredible Hulk. 

Also make up wise, I swear by Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation. It stays put all day and is great under hot studio lights.'

Photographer - ADWsPhotos

Now for the shameless self promotion part of the interview...where can people find you and your work?

'By all means please follow me on Purpleport, but I also use Instagram @PETRA_CALLISTO and Twitter @Petra_Callisto.'

I'd like to thank Petra again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me, be sure to check out all the links above for more of her work, as well as the links attached to the images for the other creatives involved in creating them.


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