You know those women who make life look effortless? Dreamy family, thriving-but-not-completely-overwhelming career, glowing skin? Camilla D'Alfonso is one of those women.
As the mother of twin boys, living in Paris with a career that is dedicated to capturing beautiful moments between families, Camilla certainly seems to have her life in order. But that’s not to say it has all come easily. While her style is impeccable, her children are delightful and her balance is completely in order, it’s something she has worked incredibly hard for, and not something she takes for granted.
We spoke to Camilla while she was on an idyllic family holiday, and it took all our self control not to fly right over and join the D’Alfonso clan for good.
Can you tell us a little bit about your childhood? Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Naples in the south of Italy. My childhood was filled with love and lots of time spent on a beach or on the terrace of our home. Every Summer, my dad would drive us to a family house we had (and still have) on the north side of Puglia, which is a little village between countryside and seaside. We would spend three full months in the water and my mum would join us every weekend after work. The memories I have of my childhood are happy memories. And that is exactly what I want to give my children – happy memories. With my husband, we go as often as we can to the countryside and to little farms outside Paris where the kids can pet animals and run free or play in the sea. We also organise weekends here and there with friends and their kids so that they can all play together while we can cook and drink wine!
Napoli seems to be a completely idyllic place to live - was this the reality?
Napoli is not an easy place to raise a child, and now that I am a mother, I often ask my mum how she did it! Napoli is messy, super crowded and loud … But still one of the most beautiful places on this Earth. We now live in Paris and we fly two or more times a year to Italy.
What parenting philosophies do you adhere to, and what type of mother do you aspire to be?
I love travelling and spending the maximum amount of time with my family. But I also work, so I’m trying to balance everything and create a sense of stability and harmony in the family. I want to teach my children to laugh, dance, create and in the end, show them how beautiful this life is.
Tell us a little about your photography.
Everything started as a passion. While modelling and travelling, I would take portraits all the time of friends, models or even random people and landscapes.
I only photograph in natural light. My city is a very big inspiration for me and one day I will do an exhibition about Napoli. It’s a vibrant city that is very colourful – you should go at least once in your life!
My passion for photography has grown since the birth of my twins Maxime and Andrea, and made me want to focus on this beautiful bond between a mother and a child, the child with their father and the three of them as a family (or more). I wanted immediately to immortalise those moments
How did becoming a mother influence your career?
It did quite a lot. When I stopped modelling, I was not sure of where I wanted to take my photography, I had mixed opinions.
But the moment I gave birth changed everything. I am one of those mums constantly with the camera. I never tell them how to pose or what to do – I just follow them and they are my biggest inspiration. I knew I wanted to work with families and capture every happy moment of their new life.
How have you approached your career to date? Do you make specific goals and targets? Or do you go with the flow?
My work varies from one day to the next. Sometimes everything runs smoothly and sometimes it’s total chaos! Mostly I go with the flow and all the super mums I have been able to work over the past year have been very kind to recommend me to their friends.
But work doesn’t just come to you, you have to get out, meet people (and hope they like you), start conversations, share your passion and show what you can bring them.
How do you find life with twins?
Being a mom is the most wonderful and fulfilling experience of a lifetime, and being a mom of twins makes me feel special – the love is unconditional.
Their bond is breathtaking and watching them grow together, laugh, of course fight (also part of the process) and love each other is just amazing.
Sometimes I feel like Wonder Woman with Superman as a husband and I am very lucky to have a close family who help whenever we need them to.
How do you approach the juggle between managing a career and family?
Really well. They are in nursery school from 9am til 5pm and I am always there early in the evening to play with them or cook dinner (they are starting to help a lot in the kitchen and are enjoying it too). I prioritise family over work, but I do love photography and I do love my job. Documenting families has also brought me new friends.
What does a typical day look like for you?
We wake up and snuggle for a good 20 minutes as a family. Of course, the kids decide what time we have to wake up, and they literally pull me out of bed! Then we have a pretty good routine. We have breakfast and my husband gets them ready while I jump in the shower, and we are out the door to preschool around 8.45am. After I drop them, I usually go back home to tidy up, have a cup of coffee or tea in silence, an hour editing on the computer, then out to work out, grocery shopping at the local farmers market, cooking something, picking up the kids and if it’s nice outside, we spend some time at the park before going back home to take a nice bath. The days I work most are the weekends (of course as that’s when families get together), but it only takes me away for a couple of hours, and then we will usually go to a local farm or for a walk in the forest.
What inspires you?
My children inspire my everyday creativity.
Do you make time for self care? Do you exercise?
The time I take for me is essential to make all the rest run smoothly.
I work out (yoga, Pilates, spinning and I’m loving barre classes at the Dailey Method), but I also meditate and take baths with essential oils.
When I have some free hours, I read a book or just listen to some music while cleaning the house. I also loooove to cook!
What books are on your bedside table?
- Poems from Pedro Salinas
- The last book by Joel Dicker
- Anais Nin Journal
- A Moleskine because I take notes all the time, especially when it’s time to go to bed, when it’s quiet in the house and I can think quietly
What is your current list of loves?
- Laura Mercier lip balm and amethyst eyeshadow
- Oh My Cream nourishing face oil
- Quincy white wine or Cloudy Bay from New Zealand
- My Leica camera
- Wild and the Moon blue spirulina breakfast bowl
- Bonton kids store
- Ylang Ylang essential oils