New Dutch Photography Talent, simply known as “New,” is an initiative of GUP Magazine. The annual catalogue showcases the 100 most promising upcoming photographers from, or based in, the Netherlands. New is also in the position to connect upcoming talent with photography agencies, galleries and museums across the world. New is a hardcover publication that features a hundred fresh eyes, which makes for an awe-inspiring collection.
It is clear from the get-go that Aisha Zeijpveld has a unique way of photographing. At first glance you may mistake her artistic ways for Photoshop, but in fact she uses a hands-on approach: “I use materials like scissors, cardboard or whatever else I have lying around my studio. You could say a lot of improvisation is involved. That is an essential ingredient in my creative process.” To avoid replicating previous ideas, she continues to push her boundaries. Interestingly, she manages to do this without sacrificing her recognizability and trademark style.
This process may seem tedious to some, but Zeijpveld definitely gets a kick out of it. “I love these subtle distortions, the dust and scratches on the surface of each printed photograph. It adds a tactile and artistic touch which I’m in favor of. Experimenting with such techniques has opened up a whole new arsenal of opportunities to create images.”
Zeijpveld’s distinctive methods have always paid big dividends. She got her first break quickly: in 2009, shortly after graduating, she was approached by the Dutch production company Hazazah who wanted to work with her. Not long after that she was also featured in New 2012. With the support of Hazazah and New, she acquired the confidence needed to develop her photographic signature further. Her work soon started travelling across borders to places like Germany and Ireland.
Over the years she has taken portraits of many famous people in the Netherlands. Faced with unique, intimidating personages, how did she approach her subject? “I study their life as much as possible so that I get a feel for their character and can relate to them. This gives me the much needed input to shape the images specifically to each person. But at the end of the day I consider most of my work portraits of ideas rather than the people in them.”
Regardless of how often you venture into the same studio with the same confidence, each photoshoot is different. It’s all about comfort and feeling at ease, she tells us, “I try to capture a moment in which the subject seems unaware of the camera. This means finding a mutual trust, which can be a difficult task, especially when experimenting with new techniques. But that is why I always prepare as much as possible beforehand so that I can direct the team with a clear vision. Then I also feel more relaxed.”
Zeijpveld hopes to continue as a professional photographer well into the future. She has found that adding more clients to her business—the right kind of clients—affords her all the creative freedom she desires. “I enjoy working for designers and musicians as they understand and often share the same artistic vocabulary. Having the same creative mind-set avoids a lot of unnecessary discussion. It provides the necessary synergy in a sometimes difficult process and usually results in a satisfying outcome for both parties.”
At the end of the day one of the most important lessons to take home from Zeijpveld is this: “Have confidence in your peculiar self, and establish your own signature. Always let the human touch prevail over using the newest hard- and software. My credo will always be: see with the eyes and watch with your brain. This is the one thing that distinguishes us from other specimens.”
May Putman Cramer
Managing Editor of New Dutch Photography Talent
Editors’ Note: New Dutch Photography Talent is an initiative from GUP magazine, an authoritative international publication on photography.