Can you remember when you first held a camera?
My mother, a photographer herself, always took pictures of me and my four brothers, so it was not long until I was able to hold a camera myself. Our bathroom was a ‘dark room’ at one point. I vividly remember sitting with my mom to develop the photos and bonding over photography.
What is a childhood image burnt into your mind?
Being at my grandparents’ farm in my childhood, where my brothers and I would run around, be in nature, take care of animals, and chase each other on our bikes. I cherish that time a lot.
Can you tell me an iconic photographer whose work you got very fascinated by? — What did you feel when looking at their images?
I used to assist a female photography duo from the Netherlands called Petrovsky and Ramone. These women were my first exposure to the possibilities of a female-led team. I loved (and still do) their eye and uniqueness, and the way that they balance daring with a sense of mystery.
Do you think the “male gaze" is a myth?
My view on photography was constructed through a female perspective. Starting with my mom teaching me the basics, and later on be an assistant at a female photography duo. Women nurtured my photographic eye and shaped my critical perspective on inequality within the industry.
The male gaze is not a myth - it has shaped and continues to shape photography and films in many ways. Under the surface of our industry, there are alternate ways of seeing and reflecting the world through art, many of which come from groups that have long been excluded, such as women, people of color, and trans and gender expansive people. We live in a time where we can scream louder and demand that new and forgotten perspectives are brought into the forefront of our industry.
What was your first fashion shoot?
I believe this was with a friend (stylist) with whom I still work with occasionally. We were shooting at a motor-cross-court. We were fearless and went for it regardless. Quite a big production for two girls who were just starting out!
What do you love most about the Fashion Industry?
I love the possibilities of creating together in a space where there is trust, but also the safety to challenge each other. As more women, marginalized gender groups, and people of color enter the field, beauty and fashion photography will become an increasingly radical space - those possibilities excite me..
What do you most hate about Fashion Industry?
Because of the shift from print to primary online methods of sharing work, aesthetic appearance has become synonymous with online presence. I’m bothered by the focus on fast-paced online environments, even though I understand its benefits.
If you would start out now what would you be doing, how would you go about // who would you work with and where would you be aiming?
I’d like to dive in head first with teams that share my values. For me, this means connecting with teams where I feel a strong bond and collaborative spirit, and nurturing relationships with modeling agencies. I would also be shooting as much as possible. Experience comes by doing, so my hope would be to get out there with like minded people who are committed.
Statistics show that only 1 in 10 of the big money jobs i.e. womenswear- beauty and perfume campaigns are shot by women. Is there just no qualified female fashion photographers out there?
There is an abundance of qualified female image makers. It is not that we don’t exist - it is that systematic bias keeps women and other marginalized groups from attaining these jobs. While female photographers may not shoot the covers of Vogue at the moment, they are shooting visionary editorials and covers of other magazines. Although there is more room than there’s ever been, it’s nowhere near enough. The numbers above are shocking, but they also motivate me to be part of the change.
What would need to change in your opinion to get more women shooting the big prestigious covers and the big money jobs?
I believe that change comes from a few places: first, companies and publications must commit to working with talents that are new or under-represented in the field. This is a type of internal change that requires an active commitment to hiring women. However, the second part of this change comes from putting pressure on these companies - as photographers, we are required to ask tough questions upon securing jobs, such as asking how many women are part of the shoot.
One says it takes 10’000 hours to become a master of a craft, how long in hours/days/years did it take you to make a living?
By assisting and creating my own work on the side, I feel that I was able focus more on my own work and develop my creative eye. When you reach the point of “making a living,” this doesn’t mean you stop developing. For me, it took years of assisting experience and independently developing my work before I could support myself. It’s great to get payed for your craft, but getting where you want to be (and also getting the rates you deserve) can often take more time.
Who is your female fashion image maker icon and who is your the one to watch?
This is hard for me to choose, as there are so many image makers that inspire me. To this day, my icons are the photographers I used to assist, Petrovsky and Ramone. They remain dear friends and have always been incredibly supportive of my career. And of course, Inez van Lamsweerde of the duo Inez and Vinoodh, fellow Dutch photographers. There are so many photographers that we should take a closer look at - too many to pick just one! But for now, I’d say Natasha Segebre, my current intern who makes amazing documentary work.
What makes you feel comfortable on set?
My set-playlist, a coffee, positive vibes, and some chips in the afternoon.
How important is your team?
My team is essential. I love different people’s energies and building from there.
What do you say about the charge that all fashion photography is predominantly sexist?
Going back to the male gaze, I feel like this exists and still exists. It is impossible to look at the statistics mentioned above and deny that there is systematic bias against women. But again, I feel that creatives have an immense responsibility in leading the effort for change.
There is a big surge of feminism at the moment - do you think that will affect Fashion Photography?
I have already seen the influence of feminism within photography - today, we are seeing more body types and diverse models, as well as natural retouching. Feminism also shifts the gaze of how bodies are portrayed, especially female bodies: now, we are increasingly seeing bodies presented in non-sexual ways. This increases the quality of our art, and makes new visions possible. And of course, feminism has inspired the effort to include more female photographers and teams.
What is your favourite shoot in your portfolio?
The Iris van Herpen SS2021 Roots of Rebirth campaign. Iris van Herpen is my favorite fashion designer all time, so it was a dream to shoot for her and her amazing team. A big part of the crew was female and the energy on set was really supportive. We all made sure we took that extra step to create the story it became.
What was your relation to fashion prior to working in this industry? Has it changed?
During my studies, I interned with fashion photographers and became an assistant afterwards, so this field is what I’ve known for many years. The biggest change I’ve noticed is social media. My love still goes out to printed magazines, but pictures are now typically on Instagram before the magazine is available for purchase.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you were ever given and what advice would you have wished for earlier on in your career?
Take risks. As women, we are often socialized not to be risk takers - but it can be useful to be bold and go big.
What is your next big project or goal for your career?
I just moved to New York 3 months ago from Amsterdam. My goal is to get more established here, and to work with teams that share my passion.
Is there anything in particular you'd like to accomplish?
I envision myself making work that move and inspire other people, and shape the future of photography in a direction that is led by those who deserve more space in the field.