Lately I was thinking about my style of photography during 4 years as an art student. At the Art Academy (in Rotterdam and Milan), it was all about your concept and the idea. Here is my story along with pictures!
Before you were able to actually make the pictures, you had to spend most of your time at the proces. This way of working included drawing sketches, writing inspiring words, collect images, vist museums and read books. During the lessons there was a lot of discussion with teachers and the other students. When everything was approved (or when the deadline came closer) there was finally time to grap the camera. Or in my case, to organise a fashion shoot with a team. My first fashion shoot I organised when I was 16/17 years old. For my team I searched on the internet (ModelMayhem or Hyves, an old Dutch version of Facebook). Soon I got in touch with creative people and modeling agencies.
Now back to my style, at the start of the first year, my pictures where often very dreamy, light and girly. I used locations close to my home and my sister or friends were the perfect models to experiment. I even made self-portraits, so I was able to experiment with different styles and learn more about my camera and how to deal with concepts. Of course I also had to photograph landscapes, documentaries, still life, products, portraits, architecture etc. But I already knew before I started at the Academy, that I would love to focus on the fashion side, although it was good to feel and experiment with the other genres. Unfortunately, fashion photography was probably a bit too commercial for an Art Academy. I always had to avoid to do the style of photography I actually wanted to do (and what I do now). This is the main difference between then and now.
In this period I was insecure about everything (this probably is also due to the teenage years), and my style changed to a bit darker and more mysterious. I felt I was able to tell a story in the pictures with this style. I worked with unusual poses and different locations. I preferred to work with daylight and models with a special appearance, because just a beautiful picture was boring at the academy. It was good to be busy with photography 24/7 and learn how to work with the creative side of photography instead of the technical aspect. Of course we also had these technical lessons, but the focus was on more the story behind a photograph. The end result was note primary, all steps in between were.
Now, 1,5 year after my graduation my style has changed, I want my photography to fit in fashion magazines (Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Glamour and so on). I don’t mind if a picture is ‘just beautiful’. But of course I still use the conceptual skills and the things I learned at the Art History and Cultural History lessons during those 4 years. These skill have become a tools for me and are no longer leading.
This year I hope to develop my style even more!
Below I collected a random selection of pictures I made at the age between 18 and 21.
For my new work you can visit my website.
What are your thoughts?