Q: Tell us a little bit about your background!
I graduated from Art school in 2001 with a degree in fashion photography and worked for almost 20 years for fashion labels and renowned magazines such as Vogue and Elle. I have also worked on many different art projects.
Q: When was the moment you realized you have a passion for photography?
I was very creative when I was young, and after the first year of art school, I decided to start working with a camera, to become a photographer. I loved to paint too but liked to work with my camera more. I need to tell stories and share emotions through the lens.
Q: Do you ever have trouble getting inspired? What do you do when moments like this arise?
No, I don’t have problems working out all of my projects and have always worked on ideas and moodboards. That way when I am finished with one project, I can start with something new.
Q: What would you say is the hardest thing about photography?
I don’t know what is the hardest about photography itself. I think the hard part is to be a freelance photographer. Freelance existence is for me sometimes the hardest.
Q: You have been chosen Nature of the Year for your work “Beyond Horses” – a series of beautiful portraits of Friesian horses. How did this idea spring into your mind?
I have this fascination with horses. The stable I went to shoot photos had this beautiful stallion Timon. This horse stole my heart along with all other Friesian horses. He was strong and graceful at the same time, and he made me calm. No unexpected movements, but controlled and without fear in front of my camera. So black and so elegant. Then I knew I wanted to work with other Friesian stallions. Not only to show his beauty, but more his personality. And I love the baroque period. I felt like a digital painter. A horse with the utterances of his emotions of the baroque period, and lighting of the golden age. I have been to visit several owners of famous Friesian stallions. I feel very privileged to have worked with them.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about the background of this project? Did you photograph in a studio?
Yes – I can’t control the horse, but I can control the lightning. I built a huge studio inside the riding school with my lighting equipment.
Q: What was the most notable memory for you when you were shooting this project?
That sometimes, I forgot to press the shutter button, because I was so impressed by the horse’s movement, prancing and motions.
Q: What is the hardest aspect that you faced during this project?
This project gave me so much energy, from the horses and their owners, that I can’t find anything hard about it.
Q: Why did you decide on entering this particular series into the IPA?
I made a selection of the more artful and emotional pictures, and a selection of the complete beauty of the horse.
Q: What does winning this competition mean to you?
At first, I was so overwhelmed with winning the first prize that I could hardly believe it. A project I’ve been working on for 3 years, with so much good energy and challenges. I am relieved that I have been able to work on this project with such motivation and that my creativity is so much appreciated.
Q: Is Nature photography your main profile, or do you enjoy taking photos in other genres too?
I love photographing and working with the horses. I am working on a second art project called “We Are Already Made of Stardust”, where I work with materials that can perish. It’s all related to nature. And I like to work with my fashion projects in nature. Nature is very important to me.
Q: If you could do anything or go anywhere, what would your dream photography project be?
Actually, I never thought about that. At the moment I work on very nice projects, and I feel very inspired.
Q: What is next for you, are you working on anything right now?
Yes, I am working on some new projects. One is called “The Horses of Diomedes”. The horses are carnivorous in this Greek myth and eat their own leader Diomedes.
In the end they will be trained by Hercules. This story inspires me to make my own art work with photography and digital painting. It is about the strength of these horses working together. I also want to show their dark side and their power over humanity.
I am still working on “We are all made of stardust,” and another project: I grow my own flowers, in a theme of a “New beginning, or the end.”