Clicking towards success | Sunday Observer

Clicking towards success

* A successful woman photographer in a male dominated industry

* 2020 Celebrity Calendar - 20 celebrities, uncommon compositions, colours and rare pairing

* Teamwork - Fashion and Entertainment industry is like a circle - connected

* Her dream - to work with Shahrukh Khan and Tom Cruise

Preparing for another photo shoot celebrity photographer and designer Raffealla Fernando sits down for the Youth Observer Magazine. It was two weeks ago that she launched her celebrity calendar and yet again it turned out to be very successful.

Raffealla Fernando

Her work, passion and practice have got her this far, in a male-dominated industry. Raffealla is one of the most successful women photographers. What inspires her work? “Anything and everything I would say. I travel quite a lot for work and overall everything I see and like inspire me for my photo shoots. I make a lot of notes of the interesting things I come across and it helps me to develop my concepts and plan my photo shoots”.

How did she start the celebrity calendar? Well, she was inspired by many international celebrity calendars but decided to bring the initiative to the local scene using local talent, “Back in 2012, I saw a celebrity calendar and I was so fascinated by its creativity and glamour that it kept running in my head that we needed that change in Sri Lanka too. The industry is small and still growing, the opportunities are still building up, but what we have are very talented and beautiful artists. Also, what I master in is makeover styling and conceptualized photography, both new to Sri Lanka. As a photographer and designer who works internationally I wanted to make a change in Sri Lanka, that’s when I started doing this celebrity calendar in the year 2013. This calendar is a non-profitable project, it’s not for sale but purely done for the betterment of our industry and to raise the bar a little high so that not only I even the artists can experiment on their looks and expressions.”

Having travelled extensively and worked with more than 100 celebrities, the journey has been easy for the charming personality. She had to find everything to get started, “I have worked with more than 100 celebrities, last year the shoot I did with Bathiya and Santhush was my 100th celebrity shoot. I would say it’s teamwork, as the fashion and the entertainment industry is like a circle, it’s all connected. We plan their looks way before we shoot and then plan the outfits, makeup, hair, styling, lighting location and many other major and minor details before we shoot. You must know what you’re doing, who you are working with and the shoot brief and concept. All these details are important to create a beautiful photograph.”

She is fascinated with wildlife photography and hopes to dabble for shoots in the future, “I won’t try out wildlife photography. It’s not my style but I want to do that, and apart from that, I’m looking forward to try some new lighting techniques for my upcoming shoots”.

She admires the work of Anna Leibovitz, “she is an amazing American photographer well known for portrait photography. I love her lighting technique, it’s very simple yet so detailed, she has a dark story line in most of her photo shoots which connects with my style”.

Besides photography, fashion designing is another of her forte. At most events she is stylishly dressed in any one of her unique creations, and she has designed for many in the industry, “My brand ‘Raffealla’ has been there for 13 years now, and besides, I have my bridal brand and my ready to wear collection ‘Mermaidish’.

When asked which celebrity or celebrities she dreams of working with, “It’s definitely Sharukh Khan and Tom Cruise, it’s been my dream.”

“All I want to say is if you like something or if you have the passion for something work hard, educate yourself and practise because you need to know your craft well. These days everyone is a photographer but with zero knowledge, it’s not a job you do to look cool, it’s a profession where you can make a change, so work hard and educate yourself.” Talking of fashion and photography, she desires to pass her knowledge and skills to aspiring photographers, but as she says it’s all hard work.

So what is the 2020 celebrity calendar for the 12 months? “There are 20 celebrities, and you can expect some trendy colour pallets, uncommon compositions, colours and very rare pairing done for the calendar. We took a big risk and hope you get good comments.”

Words: Menaka Indrakumar