CHARMAINE DE HEIJ.

TODAY WE ARE TALKING WITH PHOTOGRAPHER & ARTIST CHARMAINE DE HEIJ.

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As what do you define yourself?

I define myself as a photographer and as an artist.

What are your main sources of inspiration and how do you apply them in the work you create?

I have different main sources of inspiration. With my photography I reflect on​ contemporary issues, that also concern me on a personal level. I get inspiration from the incomprehension of the world we live in today and occurrences close to me .
The inspiration can come from​ a psychological state of being to identity.
I dig into hidden memories and creates representation of what can be lost in the mind.

What are you currently working on and is there anything you could share with us?

I have several projects I will be working on the next couple of months. One of them will be with the topic of representation, racism and stereotyping of people of colour in Western Society. I am very excited to work on this, and I hope that my project will make the spectator think about the issues that people of colour are facing.
I also have a ongoing project about Corona, and I will continue to add photographs towards the series while the virus is still ongoing. I hope of course that soon this whole situation will be over. I also find it very interesting to see all the other artists that are working on this topic. Another project I want to finish during the next months is a project about Winti, a religion from Surinam. I am also working on trauma. For this I will explore the trauma created by others, and what it did to me. Being confronted with those that created it, made me re-experience everything frequently. It did a lot on my mental state, especially when occurrences repeat themselves. It feels like a rebirth now, and not forgetting who I am anymore.

Corona

Winti

Trauma

What is the main theme that you apply in the photos you take? Could you tell us more about this?

I have different themes in my work, I explore different subjects. I always have a personal connection to the themes, and I know these are experiences that some people can identify with. Not everybody can find identification, so I also hope that the people who don't have identification with certain issues can open their mind while looking at my work.

Fragments of reality 1 & 2

How did you start shooting? Has this grown onto you or is it a fascination that you have always carried with you?

I always had a big interest in photography and art. When I was a kid there was a photograph from Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin in a magazine that my mom used to read. It was with two girls eating a ice cream on a bike, and it totally mesmerized me. That was the first time I fell in love with a photograph. That same feeling I got years later while visiting a Gregory Crewdson exhibition. I used to take really shitty pictures with my phone ( I think we are talking about 1,3 megapixels), but a teacher in my high school said I got an eye for photography and that I should do something with it. And actually that made me think of doing something with photography in the future.

Is there a special type of photography that you specialize in?

My work mostly exist out of still lives and portraits.

Fragments of reality 3

Do you like to work on assignment or do you also photograph autonomously?

Most of my work is autonomously, but I also work on assignment.

Does being a woman affect your work?

I actually never thought about this, but I think it does. I look upon things from a female perspective, and my work is a reflection of myself. Nevertheless I hope that people who don’t identify themselves as female, also can see something in my work.

Do you have certain rituals that you get into a good workflow?

Headphones, phone on flight mode, and making sure I don’t have too many distractions. For every project I work differently, but their are some similarities. I do a lot of research, to know more behind my topic. I don’t want to be narrow minded in what I photograph, I find it important to see what other minds think about this. I did a project about Black Hair, and for that I researched a lot about the history, but I also went to a exhibition about the topic. I also always think about what I want to photograph, and how to get the props. For the props I look first what I have at home. Most of them I re-use. Looking for props also gives me a lot of inspiration for images. Thinking beforehand what I want to photograph, makes my workflow going.

Black hair

Black hair

Black hair

What is the main message you want to give to people when they look at your work?

Every project is different, and they all have a different main message.
My work reveals the invisible and I want to uphold a mirror with my photography. I want the spectator to think, and I want to create a dialogue with my photography.
I hope that people can recognize themselves in my work. For fellow artists I hope that they see that the past can be a inspiration, or current situations. The past to learn from, and a current situation to reflect on. I also hope that fellow artists see that it is okay to tell personal stories. If you have something to say: say it, say it loud and clear.

Under my bed

CHECKOUT HER WEBSITE

https://www.charmainedeheij.com

CHECKOUT HER INSTAGRAM

instagram.com/chrmndeheij

ILVY MAIJEN

TODAY WE ARE TALKING WITH PHOTOGRAPHER ILVY MAIJEN.

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How do you maintain autonomy in your work?

I like to take photos that I think are aesthetic, I am very visually oriented and I really like aspects such as simplicity and contrast in images. I love being busy with my work in that way. I am therefore not commissioned to photograph the model or am concerned with how others would think it should or shouldn't look.

What kind of camera do you use to take your photos and what impact does this have on your work?

I once started analogue and also printed photos myself,  which I thought to be very beautiful and exciting to do. However, I stopped with this because of the speed that digital photography brings, I experienced that I could develop my photographic skills faster by being able to experiment more in a short time.

I now have a digital Nikon SLR camera (D750). For my work(s) I usually use an analogue 50 mm portrait lens or an 85 mm lens. I am not that technical I must say. I am proficient in basic techniques in both hardware and software, but it doesn't go much further than that. In the end, a sense of light, and being able to use and capture it properly, the framing and of course choices regarding your subject (emotion, attitude, etc.) is the most important thing and equipment in my opinion, doesn't make that much of a difference.
My free work is characterized by black and white photography. This is about the form, the essence, you are more drawn to the emotion because you are less easily distracted by things in the background or bright colors. I really like modest, somewhat melancholic pictures.

Work: Dancing trees

Do you make aesthetic work or meaningful work?

Or a mix of both and if you mix both aspects, how do you determine the right balance?

Working aesthetically, it puts things in a perspective for me, since I also work as a GZ psychologist. It is very relaxing besides the responsible work as a psychologist to be busy with creating beautiful pictures. However, I sometimes cannot resist linking these two worlds together. For example, I am currently working on a project about experiential experts in mental health care.(GGZ)

How do you get into a good workflow and what inspires you the most?

A few contemporary photographers currently inspire me the most, such as Stephan van Fletteren or Jitske Schols. I almost always shoot with non-professional models, who are not used to standing in front of the camera but still really enjoy doing it, it can be a bit uncomfortable in the beginning. I also find that uneasiness a interesting aspect to capture on camera.

I get into a good workflow when the music is on, the models think along and are enthusiastic. Then you get an interaction between model and photographer and in that way you'll create the most beautiful images. And when I photograph children the workflow is  good right away. Children are so pure, I often prefer to see them seriously on camera, then they will let you look straight into their souls. For adults that is a lot harder, they are a lot more self-conscious, less free.

What are you working on right now? 

As I mentioned above, I am working on a project about experiential experts.
The project originated from admiration for experienced experts. They have been able to turn negative experiences into something positive, something that contributes to the well-being of other people. They have taken the power somewhere to come to this point. In my project I am curious about what has given them strength, I am looking for the stories and I want to show this power in the portraits that I make of them.

What are your own favorite work (s) and tell me why they are your favorite?

I have just started a project about experiential expert (GGZ) as mentioned above: the first portrait has been made and I am very proud of that. There is a special story behind it.
When it comes to my "autonomous work", the portrait of Nivah is my favorite, that look, you look straight into her soul. In addition, the photo of Tajae (nude): I love the light on his skin and the elegance of his body.

Work: Tajae

Work: Nivah

Does being a woman influence the way you photograph women?

Yes, I think so. I prefer to portray women in a powerful way and I don't like photography that is sexually charged, I'm looking for art or beautiful powerful portraits.

What is your favorite psychical place to create?

Since a few years I prefer to shoot in my studio. I have everything that I need in plain sight and the lighting is just beautiful in this room. Before that I also went out with a model to look around for places to shoot, which I also liked very much. Just happened to think recently that I want to do that again. Near our house are many meadows with beautiful locations.

How do you approach starting a new work?

Pinterest. When I have a certain idea, I look around on Pinterest. Then I make a mood board and make additional notes in my phone. I discuss this with a model that I think fits the idea, and work out the ideas in my studio during the shoot. In the end, during the shoot there are often more beautiful or interesting versions of the original ideas that come up. I almost always invent the ideas in bed, then it is quiet and there is room for it. My life is otherwise quite busy, it is difficult to create peace.

Work: Anne

How important is creating for you?

I would almost say "vital". If I don't create for a moment (and I mean not thinking about any idea) then I get restless. I am addicted to creating; losing yourself in your passion, the visual stimulation, the pride in the end product, all this gives a feeling that I cannot compare to anything else.

CHECKOUT HER WEBSITE

https://www.ilvyfotografie.nl

PIP MAARSCHALK

TODAY WE ARE TALKING WITH PHOTOGRAPHER PIP MAARSCHALK.
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What do you define yourself as?

My full name is Pip Elisa Maarschalk and I am 19 years old. I am currently studying at the Grafisch Lyceum in Rotterdam and I’m studying photography. I am currently building up my portfolio so that when I go into the wide world, I have a good basis to show what I’m capable of.

What is your work about?

 I would describe my work as docu processed in an editorial jacket. I always have a small concept before I take pictures. I hardly work with big concepts because I think that this will limit my vision at the moment itself. I like to work through my Intuition because it has not let me down yet. I also always work with people I have never met before the shoot. There is also a piece of me in every photo. In the beginning I made dark portraits because I was not feeling well at that time and a lot happened in my life at that moment. I can also express myself very well through photography and it is very healing for me. A kind of therapy. I also want to convey a certain feeling to the viewer. Not just to look at how beautiful the model looks. I think it's more interesting if you show more than just a beautiful portrait.

I also think it's super important that everyone accepts each other for the choices that people want to make. Even if it is not your choice. That's why, for example, I put down a portrait of a Muslim woman next to that of a girl who later wants to become a porn star. Two totally different worlds but both not necessarily right and wrong. It is also safe to think in boxes, but I think that's a shame. Because people are more than boxes and often you don't even know the story behind that person. You also limit yourself if you start thinking in boxes. I also want to show that both perfection and imperfection does not exist. It is just as it is and there is an image created by the media that is blindly followed by all teenagers / people. Which makes you think in boxes with people who fall outside of it.

How do you arrange models, and on what basis do you select them for a specific photo?

I find my models either through social media or through acquaintances of mine. On the street I have often asked people if they would like to stand in front of my camera sometime. I photograph as many different people as possible because I myself can learn something from everyone and I can photograph everyone differently.

Do you take control in your own hands?

I am very happy to take control of everything and to take matters into my own hands. I really love working together except when I’m photographing. I want to make it completely my own. The shot, styling, choosing models and editing. Something that comes entirely from myself.

Which projects have you always remembered and why?

Every project had something special and a different feeling. One project that stands out for me are the 20 'gingers' that I have photographed and arranged 2 days in advance. Even the models with vitiligo, burns, albinism or a certain 'deviation' were also quite an experience for me in the beginning. Also, my first nude shoot that I did was all very new and exciting. But you grow over certain things so quickly and you always want to go one step higher. You want to make it as challenging as possible for yourself.

How did you start photographing? Is it something you have done since your childhood or is there a special reason for it?

I started photographing on my 11th birthday. I bought my first camera after that. I started by photographing nature. I especially liked animals and colorful plants. I found myself in a new class in school and soon asked if a friend wanted to model for me. I liked this so much that I asked her to stand in front of my camera almost every week. I didn't know anything about aperture etc. yet. Just automatic mode on my camera and go. When I finished high school, I really wanted to do photography, but I was too late to register for the school where I wanted to study. I did a year CIOS {sports training} to see if that would be something for me. After the first few weeks I already knew that I was not in the right place and I immediately registered for the Grafisch Lyceum in Rotterdam. I am currently in my third year and will probably want to study even further in photography.

You work both analogue and digital, what is the difference in look and feel and is there also a difference in how it works?

I work a lot digitally, but I also enjoy analogue photography. Analogue requires more patience and it is exciting because you do not know how the photo will develop. I own an analog camera but actually use a lot of Hema disposable cameras. I also use my FujiXT2 for my digital shots.  I find the look of this camera very vintage / retro looking, and I can switch quickly during the shoot.

Do you mainly do 'free / autonomous' work or' work on assignment / for a client?

At the moment I am still a student and I have not received many projects for companies. Coincidentally 3 meetings next week to discuss a few upcoming shoots. But I mainly work for my portfolio at the moment. I also want to make creative work later on, not too commercial. I hope to see my work sometime later hanging in museums, posters or certain magazines.

I think I'll never stop taking pictures. I have the feeling that I just started, and many special subjects are coming my way.

CHECKOUT HER INSTAGRAM

https://www.instagram.com/pipgraphy/