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Shooting a Merck campaign for cancer all over California.

June 29, 2017 Caterina Bernardi

This amazing project gave us a CA tour in 4 days; Tahoe, Carmel, Point Reyes and Petaluma. Phew. With 4 am. call times, it meant little sleep and intense creative work. We saw the moon go up at night and go down at the break of dawn. A majestic bald eagle sat in a tree top overlooking the quiet waters of Tahoe when we were shooting there. And to top things off, while shooting at Limantour beach, we saw whales quite close to us. We had a great crew and it was really fun to collaborate with so many talented people, and we sure hope the NY team makes it back soon for another CA experience. Retouching and beautification done by Sugar Digital LLC and Jellysquare.

A paddle-boarder on the clear lake

On the mountaintop in Petaluma

Jenny Bullock, the super-duper producer

The incredible crew

Jumping high

Editing over at Sugar Digital Studios

 

Step by step video of what goes in the making of the post production.

Norwegian WWII Veteran’s Story

June 1, 2017 Caterina Bernardi

 For the past year I have been working on a personal project about the remaining Norwegian WWII veterans around the world. The goal is to find as many veterans as possible and record their stories through photos, interview and video, and although I still feel that it cannot fully capture the vividness of their experiences, there will be at least some insight and evidence of these stories for future generations to read and reflect upon, as a beautiful and everlasting tribute.

This project has a much deeper and personal meaning for me as well. My grandparents’ home in Orkanger, Norway, was occupied by a general from the Nazi party. One day he came home drunk shouting and screaming, holding my grandfather at gun-point. By sheer luck, another officer arrived at the very last moment and calmed everyone down. Living on the countryside, my grandmother Ellen Røhme had access to more food than the city dwellers, and she used to sneak in food to the Russian prisoners of war who, in the bitter winter cold, only had newspapers wrapped around their feet as shoes, while the German soldiers would turn a blind eye to her. After the war my grandparents regained the house, but the memory of having had Nazi invaders living in their home was still present. I remember my grandmother telling me that these young German soldiers did not want to be fighting in Norway anymore than we wanted to have them there. This comment struck a cord with me, as I wondered my whole life how she could be so diplomatic in the midst of a horrific situation, but with the years I have realized that in coming to peace with ourselves and with history, we can transcend the confines of our consciousness and reality. The post-war served as an equalizer in many ways, as it elevated us to a higher standard, to equal rights, to a female workforce, to independence and of so many untold stories of bravery that I want to share with the world. Both my grandmother and grandfather have since passed on, but I can tell their story of the Nazi encounter.

The importance of the Norwegian War Sailors cannot be underestimated, as they were indispensable. The British Admiral Dickens stated as much in an interview with BBC, that “if it had not been for the Norwegian merchant fleet, we might as well have asked for Hitler’s conditions.” The Veteran’s efforts were crucial in order for the allies to win the war.

All of the veterans I have spoken to are very excited and anxious to tell their stories and we truly have no time to lose. This project serves as an invaluable historical and cultural marker of Norway’s heritage and these Norwegians’ valiant service.

 

 
 Prime Minister Erna Solberg chatting with 2 decorated veterans at the Maritime Museum in Oslo, Norway.
Me and War Sailor and Captain Olav Aune born in 1922 in Namdalen, Trøndelag, Norway.

On the 5th November 1940, the vastly inferior S.S. “CETUS” merchant cruiser of Bergen, fired ca 27 rounds against the German battleship “Admiral Scheer” at Jarvis Bay. Olav was the captain of that ship.

War Sailor gathering at the Maritime museum in Oslo, Norway.

Karl Wilhelm was born 29 December 1923 in Oslo, Norway, and went to sea at 16 years old, to work on a ship destined for New York. Karl set sail on the 7th April 1940, after a brief stop in Bergen, starting the trans-Atlantic voyage. Only two days at sea, the ship received an urgent radio-call that the Germans had invaded Norway, and now being at war, Karl could not return back. Karl said, “Life had presented me a long detour that I was only beginning to understand, and it took me 5 years before I saw my family again.”

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Visiting the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo and seeing Malala’s face in the Nobel’s Garden Room, made me think how inspirational it is to have young women making an impact in the world. May our future be in the hands of many wise women.

Pharma campaign

May 4, 2017 Caterina Bernardi

 

A great project luckily came my way to take portraits in beautiful locations for Genentech with pharmaceutical agency Giant Creative Strategy. On the first day of the shoot we were at Bon Tempe Lake at Mount Tamalpais, located north of the Golden Gate bridge in Marin. Mt Tam is the tallest peak of the Northern California Coast Ranges, and it’s name comes from the Coast Miwok language, meaning West Hill. We discovered another bald eagle at Mt Tam, and as chance/luck had it, a ranger was hanging out and lent us his $ 1,500 binoculars to get a good look at this amazing bird. After 2 sightings on set only a few weeks apart, I have come to think of the bird as my spirit animal.

It was really fun to photograph the talent close-up and personal and to work with the lovely ladies; Michele Adams, Jeannine Giordan and Melissa Vega. We created some strong images that were beautified over at Sugar Digital.

Shooting at Bon Tempe Lake. Locations by BirdMan Inc.

Shooting talent on set with the gorgeous backdrop of Mt Tamalpais

Great ladies’ team to work with!

Super producer Jenny Bullock and team checking out the bald eagle.

My niece Inès, the super duper photographer on set.

After our shot was over we jumped into Spring Lake, and had a nice swim with my nieces and daughter Kaya.

Spring Break at Lake Tahoe

April 6, 2017 Caterina Bernardi

 

Lake Tahoe has a distinct blue colour and is surrounded by snow-capped mountains framing the beautiful lake. There are countless amazing vistas along the mountainside, where the blue sky meets the water, and you get lost in the magic of this place.

Native Washoe Indians inhabited Lake Tahoe and considered the area sacred, and the center of their world. The name “Tahoe” derives from the Washo word Da’aw, which means lake.

Sand Harbor is a magic spot located on the Nevada side of  Lake Tahoe, and it is a place I always visit when going up to Tahoe, and is where these pictures are taken.

I hope you get to visit Tahoe one day, summer or winter, to explore the beauty of Da’aw.

 

 

 

 


An Ode to Lofoten

March 10, 2017 Caterina Bernardi

Some of my images from Lofoten were featured in Uncertain States of Scandinavia, and here is the text I wrote for the article.

These images were shot last year in Lofoten, an archipelago north of the arctic circle in Norway.

I was inspired by a quote that Gustav Vigeland, a famous Norwegian sculptor, attributed to Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, a Nobel Laureate, in his book: “One has not seen real nature before one has been to northern Norway, and the most beautiful of all is Lofoten.”

Inspired by Bjørnson’s quote I traveled north the very next day to Lofoten’s beautiful and wild nature, where I wanted to capture the magic atmosphere under the midnight sun’s glowing light.   The dramatic mountains in Lofoten have distinctive pinnacles and there are bedrocks that are over 2 billion years old, some of the oldest in Norway.  Lofoten also has the world’s largest deep water coral reef, and the waters are abundant with marine life that fisherman have been harvesting cod from for over a thousand years.   My husband called it the arctic Hawaii, as the archipelago is truly an arctic paradise.

Last year the north was calling me again, and I embarked on another trip to Lofoten with my husband and my Russian friend Elena. Upon arrival we did not hesitate to start location scouting and shooting the spectacular landscape and towns that are dotted around the islands that reach out to the North Sea. 

We went to bed around 2:30 am the first night we arrived, and so it went on for a week of shooting all day and late into the night, since it does not get properly dark in summer time.  Everyday we kept discovering new places to shoot. I felt as if I was eating, dreaming, breathing the dramatic nature of Lofoten, and becoming intertwined with the elements of the environment.  I wanted to climb every mountain peak and inhale and harvest the breathtaking vistas and long views, framed by the sun’s rays writing glittering poems over bodies of water.  I wanted to document every step I took over this ancient land.  The sun and the moon were visibly present day and night, and time was no longer linear, it felt eternal. This is what Jung would call: “The reconciliation of opposites.”  I was in a constant, perpetual cycle of endless days with eternal light that illuminated every forgotten corner, dark spot and cold stone. It felt like I had arrived at the end of the road where the the sky and the water become like one, where the afternoon light is painted with every shade of blue and rose, and the waves crush upon you and makes your heart skip a beat.

How could I capture all this with my camera…?

The result is a series of images that was both inspired by fairytales from my childhood and the discovery of places along the way in Lofoten. The one link that carried the story through was the white vintage dresses, and I even put one on myself for an image.  This is my ode to Lofoten, a very special place in my heart, that I hope you enjoy.

Fort FUNston

February 3, 2017 Caterina Bernardi

Pictures from Fort FUNston where hangliders take off into the sunset, and kids chase birds and dogs.

 

Be Brave

October 21, 2016 Caterina Bernardi

At the moment I am taking a great class at Stanford in Design Thinking, and this semester I have focused on women in the arts. For my class I had to research quite a bit, and looking back at my mother’s lifetime, it can be argued that women have made the most progress in such a short timespan. The 2nd world post-war served as an equalizer in many ways:  It elevated women to a higher standard, to move towards closer equal rights, to an increasing female workforce, to independence and of so many untold stories of bravery.

It tells us that with a narrowing socio-economic gap, women and other minorities thrive and move up to achieve their full potential.

So if historical statistics is a guidance, and we continue to raise awareness, we are going in the right direction, and that if we continue to use this compass towards the goals we want, we can accomplish more of these goals over successive generations.

So, for your next project Be Brave and hire a woman:-)

Caterina


Brad Bird
took a picture of me taking a picture of my daughter Kaya, at a PixarPalooza event at Pixar.

I wish I had a picture of that:-)

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6 year old Brave Nille from Norway in the studio.:-)

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Sweet 16

September 15, 2016 Caterina Bernardi

The gang united on a 20 mile bike ride to Squaw Valley where we stopped along the way to climb some rocks and take pictures.

On Sunday we enjoyed the ice cold waters at Sand Harbour and had to climb some more rocks and take pictures again of my beautiful niece Eva, with the long legs:-)

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Shooting in a clean room

August 2, 2016 Caterina Bernardi

One of the great benefits of being a photographer is all the amazing people we meet and the incredible places we get to see.

With the NDA signed, all I can say is when I removed the protective clothes I felt so light and happy. I have the utmost respect for people who work in bunny suits in a cleanroom!

“A cleanroom or clean room is an environment, typically used in manufacturing, including of pharmaceutical products or scientific research, with a low level of environmental pollutants such as dust, airborne microbes, aerosol particles, and chemical vapors.”

 

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Finding Dory at Pixar

July 28, 2016 Caterina Bernardi

My best friend and super animator Nancy works at Pixar, and from time to time we get invited to see movies before they come out.

Over the years we have seen so many great movies and amazing presentations at Pixar, and I feel super lucky to have had these opportunities.

There are even a few secret rooms in people’s offices at Pixar, that are quite fantastic to hang out in.

Pixar started out in 1979 as a part of Lucas Film before it branched out as a separate corporation in 1986 with Steve Jobs, as the main share holder, becoming the owner and CEO. In 2006 Pixar became a subsidiary of Disney. 

Pixar has produced 17 films, won 16 Academy Awards and 11 Grammy Awards for their amazing storytelling and incredible animation, and they continue to make beautiful movies that captivates both children and adult audiences.

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