Meet South African model model-turned-photographer, Michelle Ferrara. Growing up in South Africa, moving to London and New York and then traveling around the world, the place that Michelle now calls home is Barcelona and Paris. Now, a mom and a very successful photographer that specializes not only in fashion, but kids, we wanted to take a moment to ask Michelle a few questions…
How was it growing up as a child in South Africa during the Apartheid era? I grew up in a very liberal home in the Eastern Cape. My father was a political activist, pro African National Congress. I always knew in my heart that all people are equal and in fact it is our diferences that make us stronger and more interesting and unique.
My biggest memory in seeing « a change », came at least two or three years before the ANC came into rule and Nelson Mandela became president.
The headmistress of my school was English and very forward thinking. It was one of the first schools to welcome « non white » children.
I believe the school were aware of my background and so I had the privelege to share my bedroom in boarding school with the first girl that arrived. Inside the school walls we were changing history…..but outside our school walls there was a very different reaction. It was an extremely conservative town. It was good that we only went out of the school grounds once a week. In the main street we where pointed at and at times even insulted. This made me us lift our heads up higher and interlink our arms even tighter. I smile thinking back. That was already more than 20 years ago.
Madiba will live on in the hearts in all the people who he touched so deeply. (This is cheezy to say, but he was my hero! If I would have been able to choose one person to meet and photograph on this earth, it would have been him!)
Are you a Mom? Yes! Life has blessed me with a wonderful 7 year old son.
The ups and downs of being a Mom? I think the best gift for any child are parents who truly and deeply love and respect each other and thier children.
This coupled with the blessing of a healthy child ….I think that with this luck, everything that comes your way are ups….. unconditional love, Stearing your child in the right direction, watching him grow and learn and exploring the world together….
Describe your typical day. Every day is different, some are shooting days , but many others are prep days, travel days, visiting locations, doing castings , editing, following retouching, putting proposals together, meetings, phone calls,… etc.
Day to day I am very active and lead a healthy life… It is important for me to take care of myself so I can take care of others.
My favorite part (the days that I am not travelling and shooting early or away on a trip) are of course when I am with my son. We chat a lot while we walk to school and when he goes to bed at night (I know he is just stalling bedtime, but I love it !) we read, cook, travel, goto exhibitions and concerts…..
How did you begin taking photographs? I have been fascinated by photography since I can remember.
Since I was little, when my grandfather use to visit, he always had his camera on hand. We played dress up and made mini photoshoots. I loved this time that we spent together.
In general I was a very expressive and creative child. I was always making something new that I considered fashionable (clothes, jewelry , accessories and selling them for a profit and using that profit to make more stock.
My childhood games eventually turned themselves into a modeling career.
which later progressed very naturally to me moving to the other side of the camera….
What inspires or motivates you? I grew up in South Africa, with all its light, color, contrasts, natural beauty. Inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere. especially from the subjects themselves, Memories,….Traveling, Art, film……life
How do you see yourself in 10 years? In 10 years time I would love to grow into one of the most sucessful and established photographers and directors (advertisements) in Kids/Fashion/Lifestyle domains. I take one day at time and put my heart and soul into my work. Every job is as important as the next.
Some recommendations for moms and babies (and dads) in Barcelona? Barcelona and its surroundings are filled with fun things to discover. Your family’s imaginations can run wild with the works of Antonio Gaudi, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miro and Pablo Picasso.
My son’s favorite thing to do has always been the science museum. (It is suitable for all ages). It is considered to be one of the best in Europe. The buttons are positioned so that even a 2 year old can reach them, lots of space, fun, movement. They even have Amazonic fish and many different activities for example one where children can learn about and even touch all sorts of little animals…..spiders, snakes, starfish etc. A great place to encourage a positive attitude to learning about how the world works.
What are your dreams?
For my loved ones and myself to be healthy, to travel and experience life to the maximum.
Your essentials ? My family, my cameras , open natural spaces, animals, hearing children laugh… a piece of dark chocolate and a mug of hot coffee.
Your favorite books? I have loads ! My favorites…… I am a huge William Wegman fan !
This post is also available in: French