Thursday, 28 April 2011

The new website is LIVE

Great news, is finally up and running. Its been a fun production puting the site together and it is very exciting to see it go live. Salted Herring, the company in Wellington New Zealand that have created the site for us, have been wonderful, I'm thrilled with the end result. They really took note of what we were wanting to achieve with the website and have managed to design a site that I am really proud of. 

Its been a fun and eventful time over the past 4 years since I moved on from working with the Rachael Hale Brand, and its going to be a very productive and exciting future; lots of new projects created in a fresh, different style. Personally I feel that my new projects are giving me the opportunity to create some of my best work yet, and I am really loving the escape from the studio.

The Homepage that will be live next week

Take a look at the website and give us some feedback, we would love to know your thoughts and remember to spread the word that Rachael Hale is now Rachael McKenna.

Thanks for your support

A Bientôt

Rachael x

Monday, 11 April 2011

On Location in the South of France

Babies and animals are always a challenging combination, then I throw in being on location and the challenge doubles…. Hey, but what photographer doesn’t love a challenge, it just makes the end results that much more rewarding.

The location: a beautiful Grand Maison in the village of Lieuran les Beziérs in the South of France….. the subjects: three babies and the photographer’s toddler! Plus; a one year old grey Newfoundland, two 4 week old Bernese Mountain Dog pups and a two year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

The result: a couple of images of Charlize with Lady Gris, the Newfie; all went well until Lady Gris took a step forward and accidentally gave Charlize a scratch on her leg…. Thankfully Charlize is my daughter and a tough nut!!!

Charlize & Lady Gris

A gorgeous photograph of Bertie, who refused to be with any of the animals but still managed to bring out the smiles…..

Lily, an 11 month old little French baby, was adorable, and posed perfectly with the Bernese Puppy, the Bernese actually proved to be the challenge, continuously trying to take a flying leap off the chair…. Thankfully I always have plenty of hands at the ready to catch any wobbly baby or active animal!

Lily with one of the Bernese Puppies

We ended the shoot with 7 month old Rafael and his Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Eléna…. Rafael was a real little character, smiling and laughing for every photograph taken, while Elena sat back unbemused by the situation, wishing she was somewhere else!

Rafael & Eléna

The French Cat

I had two dreams when I was a child, to be a National Geographic Photographer and to study film at the New York School of Visual Arts (SVA)…. So far I haven’t managed to achieve either of these dreams but there have been many stepping stones I have taken during my career that have given me just as much satisfaction and achievement as I would have if I had ventured down the path I had dreamed of at the grand age of 8 years!

I have to say, the latest assignment I have just completed, ‘The French Cat’ has been the most exciting and inspirational of my career so far, and probably has got me the closest to my dream of being a National Geographic Photographer as I’m possibly going to get!!! As much as I have loved working in studio type environments over the years creating my character portraits of animals and babies, it was the thrill of working with animals in their natural environment that has given me a new lease of life in my field. Travelling a hypnotically beautiful country with my adorable husband and daughter in tow has been an amazing experience; everyday I stepped out into an inspirational environment, there was not a corner I turned that didn’t frame a beautiful setting, and spending hours wandering, on the prowl for cats was a dream job for any animal and photography lover!

Some of the cats I photographed were residents of historic character filled French Châteaux, others were cats I befriended whilst roaming the ancient villages and country side; each one a true character, intrigued by the green feathers on a stick that constantly were drawn in and out of my back pocket, if they weren’t being held at the ready by my enthusiastic rapidly growing daughter. The biggest challenges I would say would have to have been the numerous times I had to practice my ‘tres mal’ French when asking the owners permission to photograph their cat…. I can actually string a few sentences together now though, so I think I have progressed from pigeon French to somewhere just above the basic level! Thankfully cats have a universal language, as long as I am calm, gentle and softly spoken, if I manage to get within a few feet of them, most cats tend to be putty in my hands after a few minutes. A lot of French cats are ‘trés timide’ and required a lot more patience on my part to be able to create the images I was wanting to illustrate the book, luckily, when it comes to my photography, patience seems to be something that I have a continuous supply of.

‘The French Cat’ is being released worldwide in October this year; along with being a collection of the images I have created of the endearing French felines I encountered during our 6 month journey, it also tells the story of our move to France and our experience discovering the beauty of our French surroundings.

Photographing at Montmartre Cimetére, Paris

Photographing in Pérouges, Rhône-Alpes

Andy and Charlize working the cat

Photographing at Château de Saint Loup, Saint Loup Lamairé, Poitou-Charentes