Interview: Photographer Anja van Ast (Netherlands)
Can you tell us a little about you?
I am a portrait photographer from Holland. My style is creative portrait- and fine art photography. I have a studio in the south west of Holland. Besides free- and paid work, I like to give workshops. When I just started with portrairphotograpy I was chosen as a finalist in a well known portfolio photography contest in Holland. That gave me an enormous boost and the feeling that I was going in the right direction. After that I had multiple publications in Holland and other countries. I won several awards in international photocontests such as the Fine Art Photography Awards (FAPA), the International Photography Awards (WPE), Trierenberg Super Circuit and the Chromatic Photo Awards
How and when did you get into photography? About five years ago I bought my first DSLR. The first two years I only photographed landscapes but I wanted to do more. Slowly I started to photograph people and then I discovered my real passion.
What does photography mean to you? I can express my creativity through photography. When I am photographing with a model or busy retouching and editing, I forget everything. Also the social aspect is very important for me, meeting all kinds of people and the interaction with the models.
Where do you get inspiration from? I get my inspiration often from the model, a story that is being told or an emotion during the shoot. Inspiration also comes from certain clothes, accessories or paintings. I like the light and colours from the Renaissance- and 17th century paintings.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers. It has been quite a journey to discover the style that suited me best but I have found it. At first I did normal portraits but for me that was not creative enough. Then I discovered fine art work and I loved it. I like to make painterly photos with a lot of attention for detail and storytelling. I always work with a make up- and hairartist and a designer who makes the clothes for me. That way I can put everything to my will. I love working with my team to get exactly the look that I want.
Do you think in advance what you want in the picture ?
Yes I always have an image in my head of what I want to achieve. Because I like photos with a story it is very important to think about the way to get there.
Studio, on location or both?
I definitely prefer the studio but a few times I did a shoot in a special building like a church or an abbey and that was great too.
What has been your most memorable session and why? I have had many great sessions but the shoot I did in the old abbey of Middelburg from the 13th century was really memorable with models in clothes of that period. The light was great there and I took a lot of photos with natural light and that is something I almost never do.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional? It is fifty/fifty. I don’t live entirely from photography but I don’t consider myself a hobbyist anymore.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens? I use Canon camera’s but my favorite lens is the Sigma Art 50mm
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business? Starting a photography business is much more then only take great photos. One of the things that is important is to make a difference. There are so many photographers but you have to find your own style. Then you must go out there and let people know that you exist.
What do you think of our new magazine? The magazine looks great and very professional with great photographers, models and hair- and makeup artists.
Fabienne en Tooske