This is Deqa, a beautiful woman I met in London some time ago. This image was taken on a morning where we started with a stroll through the park, filled with good chats and resulted in me taking her portraits. I just followed her movements and tried to capture her beauty in an intimate moment that gives you that feeling of being at ease.
Photographing women comes naturally to me. I think it’s because I feel so connected to them as a woman myself. We all have different experiences in life, but in the end, we go through the same phases. The more women I meet and photograph, the stronger I feel about portraying them and their beauty.
I believe this is something I developed over the years. It reminds me of my mum sometimes, who has always given me the feeling of being okay the way I am. Now that I’m a bit older, I have found a certain peace with myself and that translates in creating a safe space for the women I photograph.
That’s a difficult one! In general I love the days when I’m working with a small team. It’s all about creating and telling a story, not so much about the results in the first place. Few of my favourites are the sisters Sena and Max (as seen below) who I photographed recently, and the home session with Maaike in Amsterdam. Each with a small team, sometimes just me and them.
This project started with two sisters Alice and Lucy. I loved that I saw certain similarities in their faces that I wanted to capture. It resulted in me sitting in their bedroom with a cup of tea and chatting. It was such a nice feeling to be part of their sisterhood for just that moment that I wanted to tell more of these stories. I do not have a sister myself, however, because I feel so connected to women I think it’s that that is leading.
The project Sister, is one that is still close to my heart. But it comes and goes as it’s an ongoing project. One of my favourites is also the shoot I did for Bower Swimwear. This was self-initiated and we shot on a beautiful, warm and sunny afternoon with two best friends, Lotte and Wendel. It felt as though it was an extension of Sister since their bond is really strong.
I feel very lucky that I had the possibility to keep working over the last year. I didn’t travel as much as I used to, but that gave me the rest I had been needing for a long time. I have had time to think about what I really want to photograph, what I want to give to this world, and it has made me more grounded. However, I believe I will go through this process for some time as it’s not something you learn overnight.
The people around me and nature. I can get inspired by a long walk through the forest, or talking with friends about their personal lives. When I was younger, I found a lot of inspiration in magazines and publications, but now that I’m older I feel that I need inspiration that comes from the heart.
Stay true to yourself and never stop dreaming. I believe that if you keep dreaming, working hard you can do everything in your power to make things happen. It might work out different than you imagined, but I believe that everything happens for a reason. Trust the universe.
- Artist: Marlou Fernanda
- Musician: Cosima
- Leader: Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez
- Role model: My Mum
- Dutch (or living in The Netherlands) Creative: Maaike Riemens
First image: Maaike Riemens
Second image: Marlou Fernanda