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
The summer of 2011 is quickly coming to an end. Here in Belgium though it feels like we have been living underwater the entire time. I yearn for more days of sunshine, my albino skin craves some good old vitamin D. But when I look outside, the leaves on the trees are already turning yellow and red. Fall is coming and there’s nothing we can do about it. But here I am, stuck on the feeling of these photos I made on another gray day in July. Sitting inside in summer costume, looking forward to when the sun will come out again.
Model: Laura Theys
MUA: Kathleen Van Walle
© Els Vanopstal
Last week I had a shoot with my two muses, Charlotte & Yaelle. I have had several photoshoots with them and I never grow tired of shooting them. This time I had a somewhat crazy concept in mind, involving spices and patterns, and I knew they would not mind going along with my craziness. Here’s a small behind the scenes video I made for fun while makeup artist Kathleen was doing her work.
September. What better month to start off a new blog? It’s that time of the year when some go back to school, others back to work, and then some back to blogging.
I have had a couple of blogs before, but somehow I outgrew them. My interests changed, or the work I had been putting on there just didn’t seem representative to the person I had become. And now, after putting quite some thought into it, I have decided to make a fresh start.
Whereas before my love for writing had to make place for a new love, photography, I now feel like I am slowly finding my way back to the written word, whilst still keeping my passion for photography alive. Also I feel like I am coming closer to a turning point in my photography work. This year I have been focussing more and more on shooting film instead of digital, simply because it feels more real and basically more ‘me’.
I like to think of this blog as my own personal place on the world wide web, where I can on the one hand post photos in a more comprehensible way than on my tumblr, and on the other hand share my thoughts and ideas. And you are of course welcome to share your point of view or – if you’re not the sharing kind – you can feel free to just sit back and relax. So lets go ahead, and see where this takes us.
– x –