Friday, 21 January 2011


I’m Christa Holka and I am a photographer. I came to London in to do an MA in Fine Art at Central St. Martins, which I finished in 2008. I met Alun very soon after my arrival in London and we became fast friends. I then began working with him in the summer of 2008 doing Art Department/Set Design on a feature film. Since then, I regularly work with him on set design projects for fashion, but have also worked with him as a photographer.

My personal work is mostly documentary photography and deals issues of documenting and archiving the communities in which I exist. One of my biggest ongoing projects is “I WAS THERE”, a series of photographs of friends and acquaintances in parties I frequent in London. Intersecting with my personal work, are photos I share with my friends’ blog The Most Cake.

Outside of my own work, I work predominantly as a freelance photographer documenting live art/artists and art events as well as in editorial photography. I am also a stills photographer for film and television and occasionally work as a photographer’s assistant for fashion editorials and with Alun in set design and art direction for fashion and film.

Working with Alun, I’m always impressed by his incredible creative vision, passion, professionalism, attention to detail and ability to make the most gorgeous sets and objects with any budget no matter how small. Working with Alun has and continues to influence me and my work on a number of levels, and I am lucky to work with him. Plus, it’s just fun to work with your friends!

So, some highlights for the year included:

The saga of Lady Gaga. I was part of a very intimate team working with Alun assembling costumes for Lady Gaga’s European Tour. I don’t know if I have ever worked so hard and so long in my entire life. This project also marks the moment where I hit my exhaustion limit and broke. After two long weeks of work, and the final 2 days of 15 hour days, plus the final all-nighter, I lost it! My usually calm and relaxed demeanor even in the toughest, most stressful situations just went out the window and I do believe I was asleep in the studio, refusing to get up to finish the job. After an hour nap, I did get up and I did deliver those costumes to Anna Trevelyan. Oh yes I did.

Rihanna for i-D Magazine. I must admit, I was starstruck. Rihanna is one of my favourite pop stars of late and that I got to be in a room with her for a whole day whether or not I even spoke to her, was terrifically exciting! This was a full day shoot where we brought everything. Lots of furniture that I think I helped source, fabrics, etc. and in the end, it was all about a wooden stool. I never could have imagined that a wooden stool would be so important or so precious. I am since always on the look-out for the perfect wooden stool which I plan to buy and give to Alun as a surprise some day.

Kate Moss for British Vogue. This was a two-day shoot, one of which was on location in a gorgeous location house. This was again a situation where we brought the world in terms of props: gorgeous furniture that we sourced from all over London. I also remember Alun sending me out to source an old mattress, not just a mattress but an “exquisite” old mattress. I never found the thing but I tried did I ever try.

Rosamund Pike for InStyle Magazine. For this shoot, we built a gorgeous old film set. Aside from the Adidas Campaign I worked on with Alun a few years ago, this was the first time I got to see the almost all of the big props Alun sourced go to work. The result was an impressive, convincing film set. I also got the opportunity to do some “behind the scenes” photos on this shoot that are included in the final story.

Naomi Campbell for British GQ. This was another moment where I felt truly starstruck. The chance to be on set with one of fashions most notorious models was quite exciting, not to mention the very ambitious set that included a special effects swimming pool AND us building a separate free-standing room. Also, as it goes with celebrity rumours, Naomi was not a nightmare, but rather she was well behaved, quite unremarkable in those terms. On top of being on set with Naomi, my job for about half of the day was splashing Naomi while she was photographed (!!!).

Beyond fashion shoots, I also collaborated with Alun by doing the photography for Bright Light Bright Light’s 2010 Limited Edition Tour EP as well as some publicity photography for 2009 and 2010.

And I think that about covers it! I look forward to many more of these memories with Alun to come! Hey 2011!