Photographer Celeste Call // Interview

Celeste Call is an independent photographer and artistic director currently based in Berlin, Germany. She was born in the United States to an American father and German mother – making her a citizen of both countries.

She describes herself as a passion-driven, creative chameleon; always finding new ways to bring visions of diverse musicians & other various types of artists to life. She spends most of the time daydreaming, listening to music, and visualizing her next projects.

Dreamy self portrait of Celeste Call in blue
Celeste Call (self portrait)

You do a lot of noir modeling photography. What was it that attracted you to this type of photography?

Over the last few years, I’ve noticed that my work had been missing the element of storytelling. I have always enjoyed making people feel beautiful in my work; so much so that I let it consume my creative side. When you begin to focus too much on how someone will appear in a photo, you tend to forget to incorporate pieces that are vital in achieving that eye-catching uniqueness that pulls people in.

I believe consumption of art should leave an audience with more than just simple attraction to the subject. I want viewers of my work to feel something, maybe it’s familiar to them or maybe it’s a feeling unknown.

The distinctive style of noir photography seen in some of my images allows for the ability to capture an entire atmosphere in just one shot – I find that to be an inimitable characteristic and hope to find ways to expand on it and continue to add more dimensions making it more of my own interpretation of such a timeless way to capture a person.

How would you describe your photography style?

My photography style can be a bit difficult, especially for me, to describe. I try to find different ways (light, set design, model direction) to incorporate a cinematic feeling within my work, which is why storytelling is so important to me.

Often times, I go for a more dreamy aesthetic – bringing together soft light and sparkling reflections to create a visual that attracts other dreamers such as myself.

Although I have been behind the camera for a decade now, my style of work is constantly changing as I learn more about each piece of equipment I’m working with. At the moment, I’m focused on keeping a softness to my work as well as constant use of bright colors. I find red to be the most difficult and most beautiful color to photograph, so you will often find it in my works.

What is your essential camera equipment and why?

At this point, I can’t go without my lights, backdrops, and vaseline. I prefer to use different types of lighting to set the mood for my photos, so without having different options to choose from – I feel pretty empty-handed. My backdrops allow me to turn any place into a photoshoot, whether it’s the corner of a bedroom or a tree in a park.

My vaseline… this is what I use to create the dreamy effect in my photoshoots. I would say it’s one of those “trends” that still hasn’t made it public enough so it leads to me getting quite a few messages over Instagram on how I achieve this look.

Grab a filter for your lens, and just make it filthy! Voilà – dreamy as fuck.

Natural vs artificial light, what is your preference?

Over the last two or three years, I’ve become well-acquainted with artificial lighting. The ways you can manipulate any setting, just by the use of light, is absolutely mind-boggling to me. Natural light; however, has the same breathtaking quality about it.

The sad truth is… I’m fairly useless during the day when it comes to being creative. I’m a night owl and it’s not until the deep hours of the night that my creative juices start to really get flowing.

I find natural light to be the most precious equipment we have the honor of utilizing, but it rarely works out in my favor as I require quite a bit of time to narrow my focus in on what I’m doing and to get into the groove. I am unfortunately cursed with a hyperactive mind, so in my shoots – between all of the fun banter and various ideas, I tend to get a bit lost before I figure out what it is I want to capture.

90s soft grunge girl on a orange veil

How did photography become a part of your life?

I’ve always wondered the same thing actually and even after doing some digging, I still can’t quite put my finger on it. I know this much; I was eight years old running around with disposable cameras snapping photos of whoever and whatever I could. Soon after, I got my first digital camera and would do mini photoshoots with my friends which then eventually turned into lip-sync music video shoots.

When I was fifteen, I finally convinced my mom to buy me a DSLR so I could take my “photoshoots” to the next level. This led to slowly but surely getting hired for random jobs here and there, but my main purpose at the time was just to take photos of my friends to show them how beautiful they were through my eyes.

Years later, I’ve come to realize that there might have been a deeper reasoning for the constant capturing of moments – my useless memory. I have used photos and videos to keep track of different time periods in my life for as long as I can “remember”. It was always important that I had my camera on me for significant events or when spending time with important people in my life.

I think I needed photography and with no rhyme or reason, it slowly wiggled its way into my life. Cliché as fuck, I know.

Do you separate professional from “personal” work?

Honestly? Not at all, though I admit I sometimes wish I were able to. With photography making up such a huge part of my life both professionally and personally, it’s difficult to focus on the work whilst simultaneously maintaining a professional demeanor.

My personality is very bright and energetic, which I think is part of what makes the experience for my clients and creative partners unique. When someone hires me, I try to ensure they will feel as though they’re just hanging out with an old friend. I believe it is top priority for clients to feel comfortable and able to act as goofy, melancholy, joyful or psycho as possible in order to convey whatever mood we’re aiming for.

Red haired girl in a grunge white dress
MODEL: @naove
FB: @celestecallphotography
IG: @celestecall
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