Interview: Nancy Schoenmakers

Exhibition in the Fashion Hotel. For the coming two months the hotel is showing fashion photos by Nancy Schoenmakers. She is an ’almost thirty years old’ photographer from The Netherlands. She has been nominated for different awards and has exhibited her work in many different galleries and expo’s. I had the chance to catch her for an interview in advance of her latest exhibition.

Why Fashion Photography?
“I’ve always been involved in photography in addition to my teachers training. The art school in Utrecht is engaged to documentary photography, but I soon found out that it was not really my thing. I like to direct a story. After Utrecht I enrolled onto the Royal Academy in The Hague in the third year for commercial photography, which is fashion and advertising. I did an internship at Petrovsky and Ramone, two leading fashion photographers of our time. They’ve been very inspiring. Then I went to New York, did lots of different things there and by the time I got back, I was graduated. Thats three years ago already!” (giggles).

And then suddenly your own exhibition.
“Going away for a while and do some shoots elsewhere felt good. Also the idea that the best work would be in an exhibition is a good incentive“

So you knew in advance the best California-work would be exhibited?
“Indeed! And also five older works. Things go very fast now and I shoot a lot. During the NY Fashion week I also photographed shows there. An interesting experience!“

The glimpse of the photo’s I’ve seen showed me mainly outdoor photography, am I right?
“Yes. I like it very much. But I couldn’t show much of the photos, as they aren’t officially published yet. So there are a few teasers. Did you see the youtube-video? “

“Then you could see a bit of what the outdoor locations in California looked like! I love shooting outside very much, I find it exciting and I also like it to go abroad to shoot because everything is new, everything is so refreshing… I only worked with local people. I love the dynamic image very much and work with many movements. I do not work with tripods, I feel too limited. I shoot mostly out of hand“

What feeling did you want to give us with the images?
“My vision of beauty (…) and a story in the pictures, which I want to tell.”

Do you have a direction where you want to grow?
“I think I make a step at a time. Ambition never ceases. I would like to work for international magazines and shoot major advertising campaigns. “

Which brings me to a question on the way you work: did the online world change that?
“Well, Internet is just very convenient. You can mail or Skype agencies and interesting people. Without the Internet it would be impossible. Then you had to go there, make local contacts, etc. This is simply faster.”

And has it affected your photography?
“Well, many people call themselves a photographer and put their pictures online. And besides that you see a hundred thousand images, everyone takes pictures and puts them on facebook or somewhere else. It all goes much faster, but I think it has many advantages.”

Do you think it is important that you worked with analogous photos?
“Pooh.. Now I’m thinking of the people who never experienced it. I think it’s good that I’ve been there. It is important that the young generation knows where photography comes from.”

One more thing: do you have a signature in your image?
“I asked a few people how they would describe my work. Eye-catching, feminine, colourful, fresh, daring, edgy, although I sometimes wonder if it’s all that. I don’t know. My work is very much in your face. It’s not romantic. But I’m not so busy with those questions. I shoot the way I shoot. That’s my pen, a part of me. When I look at other hobbies: I am a singer, I make music in a band. I love loud music and stuff.”

Ha, in a band, what’s the name?
“An electro-pop-rock-punk band. We’re called “Inspect My Gadget”. Haha! But yes, it is difficult, now I’m back, but I was just gone for two months. Now the base player is pregnant, so every time there\’s something in between.”

Thank you for your time! I am looking forward to the exhibition. Is it in one space or throughout the hotel?
“Yes, it is spread through the hotel and people can also buy work!”

More: Nancy Schoenmakers

This interview was published online on, April 2011. The initial idea was to make it part of a series, but then I got a ‘normal’ job… 

Krijn Soeteman is a Dutch science and technology journalist. He majored in the history of art and architecture. After his studies he started as a music video producer. This led to producing a Museum Night at the NEMO Science Museum, which eventually led to science journalism. And much more.