In a bed of tulle and fresh flowers, a young woman lays back beneath a sneaking ray of sunshine with the anticipation of a small vanilla cupcake. It may sound like a scene from Alice In Wonderland or a classic fairy tale, but it is actually a moment captured by photographer Katherline Lyndia during a shoot in Bangkok.
Thai-born Katherline Lyndia, with samples of her photographic works,
Thai-born Lyndia is making a name for herself throughout the fashion and photography scene in Asia and Europe. Her scenes of serenity, fantasy, and raw emotion have landed in magazines and advertising campaigns for big-name brands such as Versace, Nina Ricci and Salvatore Ferragamo for Her World magazine. Her photos have also gathered prestigious awards throughout the UK.
Based in Geneva, Switzerland, Lyndia was back in Bangkok for a whirlwind tour that included the Narrative Abstract Dream Photography Workshop sponsored by Canon and a fundraiser for soi dogs. Camera in hand, she could also be spotted on rooftops and by pools for a photo shoot to launch Jewel Tech's new line of jewellery for Ta's Jewels.
Her burgeoning career has her flying around the world to chase the perfect photograph, but it wasn't always that way.
"First of all, I had nothing to do with this kind of career. I was an air hostess," Lyndia explained.
On the long flights and in the airports she started her creative path.
"I loved make-up. As an air hostess I had to do my make-up every day and I began to teach my friends and do tutorials," she said.
Her work schedule did not leave her much time to pursue make-up professionally, but after she married and moved to France with her husband, Stephane Lapouge, she was able to let her passions guide her career path. Inspiration jumped out in bright colours, architecture, and in the air of nostalgia.
"I started to see that I could create crazy things using my imagination," she said. "I like things that people think don't exist. I love fairy tales and older Disney movies. I try to make it happen again, but not as cartoons. I make it real."
Her first steps were not towards photography. After years of applying make-up on herself and her friends, she had developed a technique that was uniquely her own.
Skill combined with innovative ideas quickly lead her to become a sought-after commodity in the world of make-up and styling. As her demand began to skyrocket she decided to make her own portfolio.
"Sometimes it's kind of spooky. Everything happens for a reason and we don't know why it happens," Lyndia explained.
She couldn't find a photographer who understood the vision she had for her portfolio, so she decided to do it on her own. After testing cameras and taking pictures of herself, she hired a model to showcase her make-up designs. She had no idea that it would change the course of her life.
"I prepared fresh orchids in many colours on my bed. Then I bought butterflies, real ones that are dead. I did the model's make-up and had her lay down in the flowers and I put the butterflies on her," she said. "I started to shoot her and took one shot. It was her eyes. They looked through the camera _ my heart almost stopped beating. I didn't feel the lens between me and her, she just looked into me."
The experience changed the way she looked at herself, the camera, and her life. "When I processed the picture, I was like, 'Wow this is really what I have taken _ incredible.'
"I didn't know Photoshop or anything so it was just the original picture. That was when I decided to be a photographer. I needed to explore why I had that amazing feeling when I was shooting her," Lyndia explained.
Since then it has been nearly impossible to find Lyndia without a camera in hand. She has chased that special feeling from the very first photograph around the world.
She studied photography in France and Photoshop in Geneva, leaving an impression on the fashion and photography scene in her wake.
Her rapid journey up the ranks of photographers has not changed her ethic of hard work, in fact she said that it has probably increased because "the photographic world is really tough".
"You need to improve yourself all the time or you will always stay in the same place and your ability will stay fixed. You will not go higher," she said.
"You have to find new experiences and new people to talk to. You cannot look in the mirror and say you are the best. The people you work with are your mirrors and will tell us how we actually are _ then we can listen and see what we have to do."
That is why she travels with her "team". She is usually accompanied by photographers Eric Cheize, Florent Berault, and Clement Rousset. The team members each have different styles and techniques so they are able to give constructive criticism in order to improve and keep a fresh eye. They are also there as second photographers for the moments when Lyndia cannot feel the passion that drives her.
"If the models don't have contact with me, I can't do it. If I take a snapshot and I just don't feel good about it, I will stop shooting," Lyndia said. "Some girls are very pretty and from top model agencies in Paris, but if they aren't the person that I was looking for, I can't take the picture."
As she snaps photos of a young model for Ta's Jewels, it is hard to see Lyndia unable to find the spark that ignites her photographic fire. She disappears into the moment, and for a brief second the crew at the shoot including her team, the stylist, and everyone else disappear and its only Lyndia and the model.
The photos that she created out of that moment look like they could be taken from the pages of an old fairy tale or perhaps were writing their own story. They give a hint of insight into the radiance inside Lyndia.
"You already have it in your mind, but it's not always clear," she said. "The imagination is non-stop, it is beyond everything else. You can buy an old house and build it like Versailles if you have an imagination."
Lyndia's life has taken different turns to finally find its path. It has not always been an easy or clear journey, but the experiences she had along the way help her to create the emotion-filled photographs that will lead her into the future.
"You can't stop because it's too hard. Life is designed by your own desire. If you wish to be a photographer you can maybe just take a snapshot, but if you want to be a creator, you need to build it and to find yourself," she said.
"I use emotion to control the photography. That is my style."
About the author
Writer: Kelly Malone