Moody & Melancholic Vibes With Fashion & Lifestyle Photographer Celin May
Celin May is a photographer and aspiring AR designer from Vienna, Austria.
She has been working as a freelance photographer in the field of fashion and lifestyle photography for several years now and is also coaching people on how to improve their editing skills.
Next to this, she started to explore videography and AR design, opening up a completely new world of creativity.
Read more about Celin and her journey as a lifestyle photographer, coach, and creative.
Tell us a little bit about you.
My name is Celin and I am a photographer and aspiring AR designer from Vienna, Austria. I have been working as a freelance photographer in the field of fashion and lifestyle photography for the past three years now while also coaching people on how to improve their editing skills. Next to this, I started to explore videography and AR design a while ago which opened up a completely new world of creativity for me.
Where do you consider your artistic home? Is there a city, country, or neighborhood that inspired you to get into photography?
On the one hand, I would say my artistic home is the inner conversation I have with my feelings and myself. Most of my creativity comes from experiences I made in childhood when growing up or more recent ones. On the other hand, a lot of the time my aesthetic is influenced by my actual home I think. I grew up in a super small village, somewhere between mountains in Austria.
It was a really calm and peaceful place and I remember spending lots of time outdoors, walking through nature. I often forgot about time and reality on my walks through the seemingly endless forest. However, this peacefulness and silence also sometimes felt oppressive as if you couldn’t escape it or your thoughts.
However, I still draw a lot of my inspiration from the relationship I had with nature at home which I somehow maintained in my photography. Most of my photos are taken outdoors in nature (parks, seaside, forests, etc.).
What brought you into photography?
When I was younger, around the age of 10, my sister and I got interested in magazines with a focus on fashion and beauty but for younger readers. We were super inspired by all the photos we saw there that we began taking photos on our own. In the beginning, we used a really old digital camera from our parents but we did not mind.
We just wanted to create and we had a lot of fun putting together outfits, building a “home studio”, taking photos outdoors, etc. Obviously, we also wanted to put our work out there and get feedback so we uploaded our photos to different forums and platforms that were available back then. Later, I bought my first DSLR camera and it all shifted to Facebook, Instagram, etc. But yes, this is basically how I got into photography.
How would you describe your photography style? Which camera do you use?
Dreamy with a sense of moody and melancholy. Canon EOS R5.
What subject or person have you yet to photograph that you have always wanted to photograph?
My absolute dream is to do an underwater photoshoot. It’s just the feeling of floating somewhere in the unknown and the whole dreamy and melancholic aspect of photos like these that excites me so much.
What led you to photography coaching and how can one benefit from your coaching services?
I am a self-taught photographer and I know from experience how frustrating it can be when you either have to spend hours to find a good tutorial that answers your question or you follow a tutorial somewhere on Youtube but still you cannot figure out how to do it. Most tutorials are generic. Not that this is bad but sometimes it is hard to then apply the knowledge to one’s own case – the struggle is real and I have been there so many times.
Consequently, I ended up offering coaching sessions to help beginner photographers to avoid these frustrations and quickly improve their editing skills. Because what I love about coaching is that I can really help my clients to tackle one specific problem. The advice is tailored down to their needs and their specific questions. And I just love to see them develop their skills so fast and enjoy photography.
Right now, I am mainly offering editing coaching where I help photographers with color grading, finding a mood, retouching, etc. But as the sessions are usually conducted on a 1:1 basis there is also always room to discuss composition principles, ideation, etc. And I am also planning to hold a first hands-on photography workshop soon.
The Fox Magazine is all about inspiration, what/who inspires you the most?
As said, most of my inspiration comes from my emotions and my inner dialogue. Experience is the best inspiration in my opinion. But I also get inspired through movies or music.
If you would ask me about my favorite photographers, I adore the work of Marta Bevacqua. She has been my earliest inspiration and her work still impresses me.
What are you trying to translate in your work to those who see your photographs?
I always try to tell stories of people and translate their experiences and emotions as well as mine into a photograph. I hope that people who see recognize that life can feel like a dream but it is always a constructor mix of a dream, illusion, pain, melancholy, fear, and hope. You cannot only pick one of them. How they get combined makes life unique and my aim is to let people feel this when looking at my photos.
What’s your best advice for aspiring photographers?
Practice is key and does not be afraid to “fail”. Not every shoot has to be impressive and turn out better than expected. But even if something goes wrong, you learn something from it and can avoid it the next time. Summary: take lots of photos and do not be afraid to fail.
What photography or art-related motto, quote, or words to live by helps keep you inspired?
Not sure if this really answers your question but I once had a conversation with a friend where I was going through a creative low. This friend told me,
“Art is often based on the experiences we made.”
So if we hide from life, lock ourselves at home to avoid pain, frustrations, etc. we simultaneously lock the door for pleasant feelings and moments. And – more importantly – we also snatch creativity from its nourishment. So do not be afraid to live life and inspiration will always be on your side.
Connect with Celin May!