Sarah Navarre, VanderRose Photography

“This series was inspired by Renaissance paintings of Madonna & Child. It highlights the rich tones, fabrics, and colors utilized in artwork from master-painters throughout history. The subject is classically-themed Christmas with deep symbolic meaning, as well as the beautiful connection between mother and child”.

Have you always been an artist and/or creative?

I have always been creative and had an unusual perspective. I’m generally quiet and an introvert in that I gather energy from being alone. Yet, I’m often in my own wonderland of sorts with my imagination. As a child I won a small coloring contest where the paper I was given was a typical winter scene with a Christmas tree. I colored everything except the tree, the background was green and other color was surrounding the tree, but the tree was left white. I actually won this little coloring contest but I suspect it was mainly due from this unusual perspective. There are a number of situations where I was awarded “most original” in various competitions as I was growing up and have always had a unique perspective.

How has your education effected your photography?

I have both an MBA and MPH (Master of Public Health), but the most influential is my undergraduate from Brigham Young University, Hawaii. My program was International Culture Studies where I had a large focus in conflict resolution and bridging communication and understanding across cultures. I also spent 2 years learning Mandarin Chinese and also spent time studying abroad in Shanghai, China at Fudan University. The perspective I gained from a very international student body, a focus on international culture and peacebuilding had a profound effect on me. My conflict professor, Chad Ford, had a big impact on my life and taught me to always remember the humanity around me, treat people as people and not as objects. This experience and many others created a tremendous level of empathy and that has a profound impact on my life and my work as photographer and creative.

What other photographers or artist’s work inspires you, and why?

Jovana Rikalo is an artist I find inspiration from. Her photography is in her own unique lane, she creates a beautiful world that is magical but not typical fashion-magazine art. She creates the kind of world I envision life to be in an ideal state. A sense of beauty, a timelessness
and magical element to her work with sophistication and thought provoking.

Is there a specific environment that is integral to your work?

I tend to shoot outdoors because I find most inspiration in natural elements. A slight breeze, warm sunshine, trees, leaves rustling, majestic mountains in the background are all inspiring and all are found in the area I live. Although studio work is beautiful, I tend to get the best results and connect more with the work when I’m outdoors.

One of my favorite photographs was taken outside on a trail with a beautiful Friesian stallion with snowcapped mountains in the background and the wind blowing his mane and the model’s cloak and hair. It was spectacular seeing this through the lens and I loved the final piece. It actually won Honorable Mention at the International Photography Awards 2021.

How has the area in which you live influenced your art?

I live in Utah, USA that has a large variety of terrain from rugged mountains, sand dunes, salt flats and red rock canyons. I continually find inspiration in the changing seasons and variety of landscape here.

What is your artistic style?

My artistic style reminds me of Hellenistic art where it’s a moment in time captured in flowing gowns, flowing hair, and a natural setting that could potentially be in any time period. An idealized world with a sense of magic, as well as work that is inspiring and uplifting for the model and viewer. I am an idealist and feel the world needs more beauty and kindness.

What do you aim to capture in each session?

I often incorporate animals such as owls or horses in my portrait sessions. The animals are majestic on their own but with a human included I aim to capture what I call “the quiet moments” between the human and animal, the connection is what is so beautiful.

Where do you find inspiration?

I am inspired by nature, by powerful or majestic animals, magic, and fairytales; the idealized world where life is slower, softer, more kind, and beautiful.

What helps you get better results in each photo shoot?

Three things,

  1. A stunning gown. I get more creativity from creating a beautiful new gown design and having it made, than from nearly anything else. Natural elements are inspiration, but the right gown can take the work to a new level.
  2. Letting ideas flow organically. I tend to get better results when I have a vague idea of what I am going for, but then letting things happen organically with the model, the animal if we’re including one, or the setting. I like to let keep an open mind and see what occurs organically than having a set idea and particular poses in mind.
  3. I tend to have more creativity and get better results when I feel rested. When I am my level of creativity diminishes and even if I get good results, it is far more labored.

What motivates you to create?

I continually have ideas in my mind that I want to create and bring to life. Typically, I have several ideas that I’m pondering on at any given time, there’s never really a time when there’s not any ideas brewing. I sometimes will get an idea for a shoot by the initial idea for a new gown, which then leads me to creative settings to use the gown. I design a number of gowns and have them custom made to use in shoots. Gowns often spur ideas in my own mind, plus I rent them out to other photographers and models as I like how a gown can be used in other creative ways. It’s synergistic and creativity creates even more creative energy and so much beautiful art comes from it.

Why is this particular work meaningful?

This series of photos was inspired by Renaissance art of the middle ages where Mary and newborn son were often depicted. My vision was to capture the quiet moments of reminiscent of moments when Mary held baby Jesus, but also the way any loving mother would adore her child. Deep rich color, velvets, draping fabrics and gold all inspired of Renaissance masterpieces, but using photography as medium to capture a modern version with a timeless quality. The location was set in the beautiful gothic Cathedral of the Madeline in Salt Lake City, Utah with Krystal Elan and her newborn son as models.

Thank you to The Style Researcher Magazine for publishing our work. We love submitting work to them because they appreciate our unique style and publish work from other creatives with an international audience.

Model: Krystal Elen
IG: krystalizabela

Photographer: Sarah Navarre, VanderRose Photography
IG: vanderrosephotography

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