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Winter garden with sculpture

I'm delighted to introduce my first guest blogger, Adelina Mocanu, with a visually stunning post. My life changed when Adelina came to intern with me and for the past year she's been helping me with my blog every week, choosing, organizing and uploading images. She has an excellent eye and makes brilliant juxtapositions from the folder of rag-bag images I present her with; people often comment that they like the way my posts 'read' - well, that's all down to Adelina.
A few weeks ago she asked me if she could do a photo shoot in my garden - naturally I agreed and looked forward to seeing what she'd come up with. In the event the results way exceeded my expectations and I am thrilled with her images. It took some resolve to stick it out that afternoon as it was absolutely freezing and by the end she couldn't feel her fingers. But it was worth it - see what you think. Over to Adelina and she'll tell the story in her own words.........

Hello, my name is Adelina and I am a final year interior architecture student.
I am originally from Romania, where there seems to be quite a fruitful post-communism art movement going on lately.
As you all might know, architecture is the last branch of art that assimilates innovation, which is why I decided to study in England. The teaching system is more diverse here and gives lots of space for creative design.

I met Kathy over a year ago through a tutor who kindly recommended me as an intern to her. Since then I have learned a lot about the power of blogging and the importance of showcasing my work!

I like the eclecticism that is going on inside Kathy's garden. I thought the rawness of the space would make a beautiful backdrop for her art pieces. When I first thought about styling her garden, I worked out a winter tea party theme.
I envisioned her busts taking part at this frozen scene, each showing off its unique personality that she gently carved into them.

I knew I wanted some kind of contrast, but my first attempt was to style each shot with lots of different objects and fabrics.
What I noticed after the first few shots was that the bits I hadn't styled at all were the ones that looked best on camera.

I therefore gave up styling and concentrated on 'reading' the characters of the busts and put them in a suitable context. For instance, I imagined Demoiselle D as a bashful, delicate young woman and portrayed this by half hiding her between the foreground and the background.

Quite obviously, one of the more styled shots...

I really like this sculpture- which I believe is a mold of Kathy's foot! It reminds me of the Little Dancer by Degas. I think the composition works because the natural, leafy background complements the sculpture's immaculate white.

The Grape Girl is one of my favourite busts. I like this angle of hers because you can see the joining of the mold leaving a sort of scar along her cheek-bone and neck. In an odd way it makes her look even more serene.
This shot reminds me of Christian Schad's Self-Portrait with Model. The scar on the woman's cheek is called a freggio, inflicted on Neapolitan women by their lovers to make them look unattractive to others.
My shot isn't as dramatic or impressive as German expressionism, but I thought it's a link worth mentioning!

I used fairy-lights because I wanted to take some evening shots and needed some lightning that would 'mold' onto the busts and cast intricate shadows on them, showing off their lovely detailing.

I think the lighting adds to the intimate, precious quality of the photos, yet making them look edgy and slightly lugubrious. I believe this contrast characterizes the overall feel of the shoot.
It's exactly what I wanted to achieve when I first thought about it, but I got there by completely different means than what I had in mind.
....Less really is more!

Kathy mentioned that in this shot it looks like these two had badly fallen out! I love the little psychological connections you can make between these figurines. It almost makes the viewer forget they are in fact lifeless objects!

This is one of Kathy's latest creations... more information to come in a future post!

I call this shot 'Mount Rushmore', but with better accessories.

This shot looks like a Victorian murder scene ! The silhouette in the background seems to be up to no good, while the Highwayman Girl looks away unaware of the violent scene going on behind her...

This is one of the first over-styled shots. It looks like a catalogue commercial for wool blankets more than anything else, but it gives an understanding of the space and it shows my design try-outs and precedents.

It was a great shoot and I am really happy I can add this to my experience. Would definitely love doing similar projects in the future!

Well - I think you'll agree that Adelina is talented girl. She created such an interesting atmosophere around the plaster busts, turning them into almost 'real' interacting characters and sme shots are genuinely spooky which is something I could never have imagined, let alone have achieved myself.
I've put some of her photos straight on to my website - I had a very hard time selecting - and without any doubt I think her images have enhanced my sculpture. So a massive thanks to Adelina and I'm wondering quite what I will do without her when she finished her degree and heads back to Romania to start what I'm sure will be a successful career but not before I've invited her back to do another quest post for me which I really look forward to.

See Adelina's own blog Ballade Pour Adelina

Follow the link to see the whole plaster bust collection


  1. Wow, these are amazing, will have to put them on my blog. I will be emailing you this afternoon, still up to my eyes in snow :( when will it ever end???

  2. Adelinas photos are beautiful.. I am envious.. we get people taking photos of our House and Garden but they never 'style'. I think the introduction with the comment about the 'power of the blog' is quite inspirational and again you are so lucky having help with your blog. Over the last six weeks while I have been looking at it I did wonder how you find time to put so much together in a week.


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