On recent reflection of our brand Childe Eyewear's short history and modern design principals we felt we needed to change up our brand direction. We needed to showcase our product in a more interesting and beautiful way to connect the design aesthetics with imagery that represents the boutique and personalised artisan quality of our product and brand.
During this process we were very fortunate to be connected too and collaborate with innovative Australian creative artist Bartolemeo Celestino to photograph our Childe Eyewear 2020 campaign in Surry Hills - Sydney.
Bart is an exceptional creative who lives by his own drum but remembers not to take life too seriously.
The following article and posts are a terrific insight into Bart as a creative family man, his way of life, creative process and his social commentary on the current global and local issues.
Bart is also the founder and publisher of Love Want magazine.
It is an absolute pleasure to have worked with Bart and reading his articulate responses below to our questions is very inspiring. Bart's honest creative approach and life educated opinion really felt like there is hope amongst the current mayhem.
Hi Bart - How are you?
Im doing well thank you
Where do you live and why?
I used to live by the ocean in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs, I felt being close to the ocean was an important aspect of my personality. I had always lived in large dense urban settings, NYC, Hamburg and then Sydney. Then one day the ocean stopped talking to me. I felt this great silence had fallen on my life. A lot of people I thought were close friends were actually just relationships of convenience. I had lost any real connection to them and nature. I grew up in Canberra in the early 70’s and I was always surrounded by space and silence. On a deep level I needed that back in my life, so I started to remove all the noise.
You know the saying, ‘you dont see the wood from the trees’ well I could’nt see past the car in front of me. So I stopped that whole game. I heard the wind in the trees again, and I used to hate the wind. I was very varta. But when I actually listened to it with intention, I heard the ocean in its song, and had this strong calling to be surrounded by trees. Big trees. Lots of them. Wild, oversized monuments to nature. Now I live in the quiet surrounds of the Southern Highlands of NSW. Nothing but big skies and the hum of a distant freight train as they move through these sleepy mist covered towns. I live among those large trees and between the empty spaces. I like it because the locals wear Blundstones and Akubras. They wave at you when they pass you by, or have all the time in the world for a chat, and never ask you what you do.
What stimulates Bartolemeo Celestino?
I like listening to and observing nature. It has a particular frequency you need to tune into to appreciate. Once you're there it’s very nurturing to your soul. I need that connection in my life, it makes me a better person
Where was the last place you travelled before Covid lockdown and what did you learn and love there?
I was in Japan mid March 2020. I flew there from LA. I was in the Japanese Alps to be in the stillness of the lightest snow I’ve ever experienced. The snow cancels all sound, it just absorbs it. It was beautiful. No one was there and it was like being in a snow dome. A huge contrast to the City of Angeles
How did you become a fashion photographer?
I wouldn't even regard myself as such. I’m more a conduit for ideas to be realised. I rarely look through the camera anymore, it drives my clients crazy and as anyone who knows me knows, I rarely shoot anything in focus. I’m looking for the feeling in an image, the gravity of the moment we’re creating. That's why I use manual cameras and avoid any kind of automation in the focus. I guess everything and that's how I try to find something beyond what I’ve trained my eyes to do. I don't use assistants or digital wranglers, I hate large crews and I try to be as naive as possible, and appreciate that your making something great happen with amazing people.
When shooting this Childe campaign it was really cool to see you get lost in the moment and just be creative with use of light and the models persona. What situation creates your best work do you feel?
You just need time to connect with people and the environment. The actual photography shouldn't be more than 10% of the time you have with people to create something.
We noticed you have an affinity for the Paramount Hotel in Surry Hills. What is your background and relationship with this establishment?
Its my home away from home, Russell the owner and I have a history and he’s a Lennox Head local now soo watch out for him dropping in on his long fish. I just appreciate the surrounds and aesthetic of PHH and I rarely shoot further than 500m from the venue when I’m there.
Any plans for an exhibition of your work in the pipeline?
I’d love to explore how I can create new work in a defined space or place again. If any one knows of any opportunities I’d love to discuss that
What creative idea or project is exciting Bartolomeo at the moment?
I’m trying to wrangle new ideas into some kind of usable form again. Definitely involves lights and sound. The technology is getting insane in terms of what you can do to realise those dreamy spaces with truly new ways of interacting with people. We need more of that in our lives
One of the models in this campaign is Gee Gee Ferguson who you have known since she was a child. Tell us about that connection?
I’ve known her father (a fantastic fashion photographer and magazine publisher too) and her mother ( an accomplished fashion stylist) and equally beautiful woman since she was a child. Its wonderful to have an opportunity to collaborate with her on this project. Gee Gee has a magical quality about her.
Who are some of your inspiring peers or muses?
All my heroes like musician Mark Hollis are dead. I’m not inspired by any photographers that’s for sure. I think we’ve done all we can do with the ‘fashion photography’ medium. Its just rehashing old ideas. The younger photographers should develop their identity and incorporate new ideas into their work, they should start with their memories. Otherwise they are just Xerox copies of their peers, lost in the vortex of politics. It gets boring very quickly. That's why I’m pushing what boundaries remain with ideas rather than a sharp focus. I'm more attached to the great ideas, how plants grow and elemental camouflage or composers, than anything to do with a photographer or what they do. In terms of muses though my wife, daughter, my history, memories and thoughts are my eternal muses.
What is your creative and social intention with your magazine Love Want?
Firstly inspiration and the exchange of ideas for family and friends to showcase what would otherwise have been overlooked by other publications. The world has changed a lot since we started such some 15 years ago though. Some of our ideas have now become the norm, particularly the more femme ideas. Since it’s inception we have avoided any form of retouching and have showcased a variety of body shapes, genders, races and alternative ideas around fashion and beauty.
It’s a beautifully interesting magazine. Why is it so hard to see and buy Love Want in Australia?
I don't believe in the mass printing and distribution of publications as most end up in landfill so I’m careful about how it’s made and where it goes. I’ve always been very discerning about where it could be purchased and who distributed the publication. Currently it is available via the small press distributors ‘Perimeter’ in Melbourne.
What do you love about being in the Fashion industry in Australia?
I’m interested in people and communication. Australia has this immense wealth of cultures, I love its isolation both geographically and culturally, it allows more space for ideas to grow and be nurtured.
What is your favourite image or campaign that you have photographed?
I get to do some pretty wild and crazy campaigns. From Farfetch to Bassike to Gucci who recently let me explore colour for their Psychedelic accessory collection campaign in Tokyo, to Chanel who let me photograph flowers in Paris for their fine jewellery collection.
Other memorable experiences recently include Queenstown tourism who let me photograph glaciers with my tiny Leica M cameras from a helicopter that was way out of it’s league with the weather we were working in.
BMW let me do whatever I wanted with the new X5, most of the pictures didn't even have a car in them. I was just creating emotive images that felt like the core values of the brand and the DNA of the machine. That was special, but I get to work with some truly remarkable minds in some jaw dropping places.
I'm extremely lucky to have these opportunities and am grateful for all the people that have placed their faith in me to create these images and films.
What fashion brands do you love now and from history?
I like very techy and nerdy fashion brands for functional and tactical applications like shooting, camping and alpine hiking. Templa is an amazing brand at the forefront of material use for alpine environments. Historically I’m more interested in clothing that can be worn over decades rather than seasons. Thats true sustainability. So heritage brands that have been involved in hunting and the like are of great interest to me too.
Working with you its clear that you are an artist and creative firstly and photography is just one of your creative outlets. What are some of your other creative passions?
I’m super interested in the new media applications, 3D rendering and industrial design. I’m obsessed with ceramics and I’m a keen gardener which is highly creative. But I’d say music is my true love, I’m passionate about acoustic and percussive instruments.
How do you live or take action to be more sustainable and sensitive to the environment?
We need a new modality of living and thinking about each other and the environment. Firstly I acknowledge Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and gives respect to the Elders – past and present – and through them to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
I’m tired of professional politicians championing 1% of the population's control of our resources and destroying country in the process. That has to end.
Saying such I put my money where my mouth is and make monthly donations to peoples and organisations that champion environmental causes that I feel are urgent and necessary to our survival.
There's a lot of misinformation and politics on both sides of the fence, and I’m in no way anti progress or anti development. I will argue and fight for the importance of organised unions, better transport, job security and the ability for people to have a fair living wage and live decent safe healthy lives with their families. But I’ll also push for any development to be sensitive too and aware of our fragile environment, and respect country. Until we have a balance of all interests for all peoples, flora and fauna included we can't progress as a country let alone a race. My agency Utopian Visions promotes environmental awareness alongside producing galvanising cultural, social and positive impact experiences and content. It a step in the right direction, a small step but one we are slowly taking. The days of endless profit increases are over. We need unity on so many levels, and we need to find a common ground with our opponents to make the future better for our children
On a personal level, I was an early adopter of new technologies that are pro environment. I bought an electric cargo bike to replace the family car for commuting a long time before the trend caught on in big Australian cities and I use public transport whenever possible where ever I am internationally
As a family we are very conscious of what we consume and what waste we produce. I’m a huge fan of gardening, particularly the no dig approach to composting and getting as much of my own produce from our own backyard. Whatever I take I try to replace and I think that's important
Also I just think big concentrated urban centres are bad for your health. People in the future hopefully get turned onto how dangerous it is to have endless burnt car and jet fuel dumped on their kids and having your personal space invaded by cell phones, Wi-Fi systems, cell towers, and wireless devices such as tablets, headphones, and voice operated devices. All these machines radiate a persistent level of radio-frequency radiation that contributes to a range of health problems such as cancer, developmental disorders, and chronic ailments. You'd be naive to think that living in these big cities doesn’t also create an underlying level of anxiety that is detrimental to your health.
How can Australians change our social acceptance and be more positive in action towards a more inclusive nation in light of Black Lives Matter?
Move to the country.
But seriously, I'm colour blind. I don't see gender and I definitely don't see race. I only see good people and bad people. The rest is semantics, social manipulation and politics. I have no time for virtue signalling, and I have less time for people who don't educate themselves about fascism or racism. I think putting down your phone and reading some books would help a lot of people get a better perspective of this nation and our place in the world. We all know our history has huge holes in it, and some of it is outright lies, I’m not concerned with correcting old books or old minds. I’m interested in learning from it and making the future a safer and better place than how I found it.
Do you have any thoughts on how we might reduce the rate of men’s suicide in Australia?
Create real opportunities for people to be better people. Give people a sense of purpose and identity. Build community, thats whats fundamentally missing here. We need to support our collective mental health and ultimately our families and our selves.
Stronger regulations around social media, tech and AI companies and what they are responsible for is really appropriate too. These are greedy monopolies run by socio paths. They are not there to ensure your mental or physical safety.
There is definitely also lack of concern for mental health in rural areas. It’s tough for a lot of people. Really tough and that's because there's no opportunities for new ideas, new careers or education. As long as you've got the majority of our population crammed into a few kilometres of our large cities, living like rats in a cage, we can't correct that problem. We need fast, affordable transport like fast trains in this country to connect peoples and have them feel they are connected to a greater good. We need to forget the urban sprawl and start making new rural centres. So you can work or be anywhere and you can also be home in time to tuck their kids into bed and not be worried about dying on our roads that are over run by large logistical companies that ensure this country stays dominated by road rather than rail
Any words of advice for aspiring creative in todays environment?
Yes, walk away from your laptops and devices and get out of the city
I highly recommend a surf matt or an alaia and some fins and find a good point or beach break and belly board or knee board the shit out of that thing, no experience necessary.
Have a few laughs, dont feel guilt for being you, cry if you have too, fuck off if you have too, scream, dream, say your goodbyes to bad vibrations and embrace your loves. But most importantly enjoy the company of those that are close to you. That’s where all goodness starts
What is Barts go to meal to cook?
Potato Gnocchi with homemade tomato sugo
Thank you Bart for you time and your beautifully creative photography
Thank you for having the time to create such beautiful objects X
Follow Bart @lovewant and @bartcelestino and tune into one of his hero artists in Mark Hollis here on Spotify