There is something about nighttime that really gets my creative juices flowing. No other time of ‘day’ I get so much ideas and images in my head. Projects I want to bring to life. Many of which do not sound doable (at all) the next morning. As if the light coming through the windows affects my conception of what is possible and what is not. As if dreams seem more likely to come true at night.
Perhaps it is because I find something soothing about moments after midnight. The city sleeps and I am up, thinking. Letting my mind run free. No one around to say I should stop, so I don’t. Besides, everyone else is dreaming, too. I just do it with my eyes open.
The moment comes and it is mine. The world stops. Serenity covers me with its warm blanket.
© Els Vanopstal
One of the hardest things to do as a photographer, for me at least, is finding your own style. Some people have it from the beginning. Some make bright romantic photos and stick to that for the rest of their life. There are those who are more drawn to dark, atmospheric images. Others search for what makes their images ‘them’ their entire lives. Maybe it is because defining one’s style has to do with knowing yourself. Every photo that you make is in one way or another a self portrait. There’s a part of you in it, whether you like that or not.
Me I have gone through all kinds of different photography styles. When I started studying photography, I was drawn to strobist lighting, using a flash to seperate the models from the background. I was also shooting digital, and I liked its crisp clean look. After a while, I started taking pictures in more natural light, finally seeing the beauty in that as well. Now I’m mostly shooting film in natural circomstances. And I feel this is the closest I have come to really finding my own style. But I’m still going back and forth between things like light or dark, dreamy or raw, natural or conceptual. And I don’t know if I will ever be able to choose, as I myself am a creature of opposites. I’m a dreamer on the one hand, and on the other I read Bukowski and think perhaps this world is doomed. I am silly, I am serious. I’m a creative, but my nature is very introvert. There’s a duality in me that I will probably never lose and therefor it will always be a part of my photography.
And maybe it’s good just to realise that. Maybe this knowledge will help me create the images that are most ‘me’. Those where there is a sense of duality, of struggle. I find that the photographs I like best, have this in them already in one way or another. For instance a gorgeous model, with a tear streaming down her face. A perfection broken.
Model: Renée @ Flag Models
MUA: Kathleen Van Walle
© Els Vanopstal