Tell us a bit about a young Elise – where did you grow up and has art always been part of your life?

I’m Sydney born, but I spent a lot of my childhood living overseas in Jakarta.  I have always loved art as a spectator, but never thought of myself as creative. I still struggle to think of myself as an artist, mainly because I can’t draw or paint – but now I understand that art is so much more than drawing or painting.



Are there any artists or art movements that resonate and inspire you?

Floral artworks have always been my favourite subject for art and my absolute favourite artist is Georgia O’Keeffe, but really give me anything with flowers as a major theme and I’m happy.  I love the work of Boyd McMillan, an Australian artist who focuses on our beautiful natives, especially Banksia.  I also love the Pre-Raphaelites, like JW Waterhouse and John Everett Millais, for their beautiful flowers and beautiful depiction of women, rich colours and mythological and romantic themes.  When it comes to photography of flowers, I just love the work of Christopher Beane.


Blushing Bride Cluster by Elise Catterall


What do you have on your walls at home?

Based on the above, it’s probably no surprise that I have Georgia O’Keefe and Boyd McMillan on my walls, as well as some other art we have picked up on our travels, including Australian artist Anthony Buselli.


Can you tell us about how you came to photography?

I came to floral photography late in life; I was practicing as a naturopath and wanting to write a book about some of the beautiful flowering herbal medicines that exist (e.g. white peony, blue flag etc) and wanted to photograph the herbs myself.  I was already doing a bit of photography for a children’s nutrition website that I had, so I decided to dive in and learn photography properly.  The flower photography soon became a bit of a passion, so I stuck with it.  I do a lot of other photography as a freelance photographer, but flowers have firmly become my favourite thing in the world to shoot. Shooting them is a whole body experience; my mind calms, my breath stills, and I often feel emotional.  It’s a lovely experience, and one I don’t get through shooting any other subject.

King protea portrait

King protea detail

What is a typical journey through your art practice? Can you talk us through the process of a piece from the FPC collection? Eg Blushing Brides was a good one!

My art making process starts with receiving or sourcing the flowers and then taking them into my home studio to shoot.  I have a dark and a light set up so I shoot everything both ways. I often do focus stacking, which is a technique that blends a number of images with different focus points, so that the final image is in focus from front to back, in order to retain detail. I used that technique on the dark blushing brides cluster so that most of the petals are sharp.

July 08, 2021 — Leanne Pearce