April 15, 2021 | Awards

IPPVA Chairman’s Award 2019: Greta Do and her Photograph ‘Silence’

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Greta Dominaityte (alias Greta Do) was announced as the Fine Art Photographer of the Year, at the IPPVA Professional Photographer of the Year Awards on Sunday, April 7th 2019. Greta was also awarded the Chairman’s Award for the best single image.

Greta smiling while holding her trophie at the Award Gala in 2019
IPPVA Award Gala 2019 – Photo Courtesy of Dermot Byrne

We have asked Greta a few questions about her image ‘Silence’, which had a lot of IPPVA members talking.

Talk to us about the back story/inspiration behind this image.

I was always fascinated with the dark and the idea of something all black was lingering for a good while. The concept of “saying without words” or “sound of silence” was also paralleling in my head.

It is only after I bought a bag of black feathers from AliXpress that it all came together. I took the feathers out of the bag, and I saw the shot, very clearly.

Black faces lost in a sea of black feathers. Photograph by Greta Do called "Silence""
‘Silence’ by Greta Do. IPPVA Chairman’s Award.

Tell us more about the process. For example, we’d love to hear about your challenges or what went through your head while shooting.

My models were my younger daughter and my friend’s daughter. I knew exactly what I wanted, I imagined them both… Blue and brown eyes. This was shot in my studio, natural light, with SonyA7iii and SigmaArt 35mm. I painted the faces black with some resistance 😂 and draped a black sheet over a big bean bag positioned right beside the window. The hardest bit was placing the feathers on the faces… It tickled a good bit, so I knew I had to do it fast, really fast. I did 10 shots of the girls. That is all! I am very surprised myself as I do overshoot on a regular basis.

Afterwards, I took many shots of different feather placings on the black sheet.

Editing took time! First I composed everything – the faces and additional feathers (that I shot separately). I worked (a lot) on getting the colour right and I just was not happy with it, so black and white was the next step. And there it was!

Black faces in a sea of black feathers. Photo by Greta Do. Titled "silence".
‘Silence’ by Greta Do – Colour version.

How did you feel right after taking this image? Did you know instantly it was “award-winning”?

I planned for this image, I saw it clearly in my head and the work during shooting and editing went smoothly. It was exciting and I couldn’t wait to edit and finish it. I also knew I would submit it to the awards if I liked it enough. Obviously I had no idea how well it would be received. I’m really happy and proud.

From your point of you, what are the key elements that make this image successful?

After I confirmed the final version to myself, the magic of it, to me, was the visual mystery. After Corin [Bishop]’s “You be the judge” workshop I have a much better knowledge of what makes a successful photograph. So I can say now, that the impact is the key element of this image.

Is there anything that you would change in the image if you were shooting it again?

Yes, I would paint the faces more meticulously and I would definitely paint their full face, not just half. That would result in much less editing and better quality image. I guess adult models would have been easier for something like this. But no, I would still photograph the kids.

Last question! Your Fine-Art work is very personal to you. What do you do with all the ideas that come to your mind? Do they haunt you until they are done?

Some ideas come as visuals – like the ‘Silence’ and I merge it with poetry or song. Sometimes it is deeper, comes from within. Like the image of my Ieva holding her portrait on the tablet. I feel much more connected to these pieces as they are so very personal.

A lot of the ideas are just drawn into the deep… even if I put them down in my journal… even if I do a little drawing… If it lingers too long – it’s gone, with some exceptions of haunting. So when I have an idea, I have to act! Get it done, like NOW! I want it so badly it feels physical. I feel very grateful that my girls are still ok to help me embody these ideas. ‘Do it now’ approach is one of the reasons I prefer natural light. Many of the portraits are done right at home… I just picked a different window.

When I have an idea, I have to act! Get it done, like NOW! I want it so badly it feels physical.

A girl holding a tablet in front of her face. Photo by Greta Do.
‘Retina Childhood’ by Greta Do

Find more of Greta’s Fine Art work on www.gretado.com


Find out more about Greta Dominaityte

Hello, Greta is my name and I am calling Ireland my home since year 1998 I am award winning on location portrait photographer specializing in natural newborn, family as well as dance and fine at portraits for over 10 years. My storytelling photo...

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