An ode to someone I love!
At his gallery

My mother died when I was 17. My father raised me and my sister Herica, whom was then 13. My father died 2 years ago. ** Post from October 2016 **

Naldo Navajas was a painter and started his career in the 70’s. After a long distance relation with my mother, he decided to move to Ouro Preto – a historical city in Minas Gerais, Brazil. There, he started from zero, opened a gallery and lived by his art.

My father was a great man. Brave, talented and with a strong personality. My father was really black or white, stood up for his believes – made some enemies in his path, helped people either with words, prayers, medicine, love, clothes, food, took care of homeless dogs…  There was always coffee and kind words at his house.

My father was a spiritualist and believed we came here with a purpose. He believed we were all connected and we should all do good to each other. My father was comprehensive and kind, but also very perfectionist, inpatient and extremely hardheaded. An inventor, a wise and visionary man.

I remember many times that we crossed some children during Christmas, and the little ones said “Santa Claus, Santa Claus!!” due to his white long hair… Once there was this conversation between two kids:

– Look, look: God! (referring to my dad)

– No, that is not God, that’s “Jesus”: my mom has a picture of him at home!

There are many funny stories…. and sad ones.

My father was not materialistic. At the end of his life, he lived in the most simple house ever, close to his memories, to his LPs (which he still used), his dogs, his tools. He would never say no to someone in need. He taught me to be kind even to the unkind. He gave me wings to believe in myself, to pursue, to get up when I would fall, to fight for what is right, to pray for those who – by any reason – speak bad against me. To be myself no matter what.

My father was a great artist. He created beautiful paintings to express himself and the way he saw the world. Impressionist, with an amazing composition, understand of colours, seasons, anatomy and light.

My father would not enter someone’s house, if he didn’t feel like he shouldn’t. Spiritual stuff I never dare to understand. He believed in the teachings of Allan Kardec, believed in reincarnation – and we certainly had our disagreements. One thing was always clear, I’ve learned how to be positive with him, to expect the best from people and situations, to raise above (sorry the bad language) all the stupid bullshit and mediocrity.

Before he died, he was still driving his old green Opala Chevrolet 1971. He remained painting till his last day. In our last Skype conversation, we talked about everything, from Joaquim to photography. He complimented me about some photos, criticised too, laughed and was there for me.

The saddest day of my life it was…

Comforting only to have relates close by. At his funeral I’ve seen known rich people from our town, but I was really touched to see those “underdogs” to the society, a tear and a word of gratitude…. “your father changed my life”…

If I ever made anyone happy in this life, if I am a good person today, If I laugh, if I am positive and enthusiastic, I own it to my father. A hero, who did transcend his time with love and care for others. Someone who allowed me to grow, who believed in me, nurtured me and and pushed me to my limits, to pursue my dreams even if they looked hard and impossible, even if I had to leave my homeland and fatefully leave him as well.

To those who lost someone they loved, a kiss and strong hug.




Shanna & Sonny

It is vicious and I said and I will keep on saying it… the wedding experience is something magical, excited, nervous, unpredictable and yet adorable and absolutely magnificent in all the aspects.

At springtime of their lives, Shanna en Sonny engaged to live together. I can image their feelings since the beginning, something like “let’s celebrate in the best way possible”. Maybe, in reality, it was not like that but certainly, the day had this atmosphere from begging to end.

Dear Shanna and Sonny! I would like to drop only feel words, which actually scape me at this moment… I was overwhelmed as always with feelings of gratitude and happiness, for the opportunity to photograph your amazing wedding and contemplate your happiness among your loved ones. I had a great time and looking at the photos was just difficult enough to hold the emotions. I hope you may be transported back again to this day as you look into the pictures. Keep on sharing your love with others and I wish you all the happiness and love in this world. Life will be a party everywhere you go! For the colors, the angles, the party, the amazing family you have and friends, I say THANK YOU!

xoxoxo, Helen Navajas

© Studio 31 – Helen Navajas Photography
Photographs by Helen Navajas and Juliana Celotti

Love and love and love details!



Our gorgeous photoshoot together!


Party time! Lets start with the photo which summarises the whole day’s atmosphere! Fabulous! 

01376_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July2016

00677_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201600748_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201600351_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201600977_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201601078_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201601011_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201600981_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201601028_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201600969_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201601158_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201601562_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201601530_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201601560_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201601950_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201601886_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201601658_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201601635_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201602060_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201600616_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201600267_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201600457_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201600461_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July201601485_Sonny and Shanna_Party_July2016

Dennis and Shanna

Two people committing their lives to each other. How magical this moment can be? You are surrounded by family and friends, and there is love, fun and happiness everywhere you go. Then you have to capture with photographs. Can this be more blessed? Yes! Because every wedding is still unique and no matter how many you go, it is as if it was your first time!

Dennis and Shanna – two beautiful people shining in their youth…

Since our first meeting, I came to admire this couple for taking this step in their lives. Committing themselves to a life together and celebrating it with those they love. Not only that: celebrate it with style and personalisation, a day full of lights, great music, words of love and respect and great people.

During the preparation, Mama Eva offered me a “good morning coffee” and I started feeling my ground and shooting. I get very emotional – as always –  but thanks to haven I can hide my tears behind the camera. Seriously! Call me cheesy or silly but the white dress with all the bride’s details are just so beautiful! She dressed as a sweet princess she is, totally appropriate for Shanna. I see a lot of strength in her eyes and there is something very loving and peaceful about them. Beautiful Shanna! Mama and Pappa Casper helped me shooting the details. Parents know best, trust me, plus they have all the tools you need and they even read your mind!

Dennis made me laugh many times during their private photoshoot. During his preparation, his parents Jan and Janita came along before we go to get Shanna, along with his friends, and it was a great moment! Not to mention that one day before the wedding, Dennis was at the Hotel Spaander taking care of all the sound equipment and details – as a specialist in what he does!!

I love dutch weddings too! There is so much interaction with everyone! It is truly an engagement! You hear laughs and people enjoying themselves of the histories they share and remember. This is how life should be every day: remember the good and dream with the future, in a perfect balance.

At the party, I don’t even know from where to start: the funny and original speeches?  The music? Lights? Decoration? Everything just Fantastic!! Family having fun, friends singing and dancing… I enjoyed every moment which pushed me to win the tiredness. And when they played “Dead Flowers” I dropped some tears again. Juliana by my side was another great detail as she also came to take photos with me – I love her compositions!

Technically speaking, there were a lot of “lines” to play with during the party, which makes the photos very geometrical – you may see lines connecting people’s eyes and bringing your own eyes to run throughout the photo, in a visual path: it is part of my style, I love doing it and getting sharper every time. Even on their shoot, there are vertical lines behind Shanna, bringing you to observe the main subject – her beautiful eyes and smile and Dennis reaction – Magical!!

Dennis and Shanna, I appreciated this amazing moment you gave me, for being able to witness your joy and beauty, among your loving friends who admire you and your lovely family! I wish you a long and happy life together!!

These are just some photos I had to share with you all and they are not completely edited! There is more to come! Check them out one by one and I hope you enjoy them! Dikke kus van mij!!