Gemmy tells her story through the use of lines, light, colour and the contrast between them”. She is guided by her unique intuition and her obsession to create, moving liquid pigments on a canvas. For Gemmy, every detail is lovingly obsessed and refined – from the backgrounds, she usually paints herself to the costumes, set construction, styling, and post-production. We asked Gemmy dome questions about her and the beautiful work she creates on a worldwide stage.
Her creative path started with liquid pigments and a brush, but her way led her away from painting as life so often does. Claiming space for her creative practice, Gemmy grabbed a camera and started experimenting. “This became a way for me to paint again” Through the manipulation of light and pixels,
Gemmy Woud-Binnendijk is a Dutch contemporary artist.
Her creative path started with liquid pigments and a brush, but her way led her away from painting as life so often does. Claiming space for her creative practice, Gemmy grabbed a camera and started experimenting. “This became a way for me to paint again” Through the manipulation of light and pixels, Gemmy began to create work that exists somewhere between painting and photography.
The lighting conditions of the 17th century have become an aesthetic that overlays soft colours over a canvas of deep shadows and shimmering highlights – to create an image full of gloom, and light with a beautiful silence in between. “Beauty for me is creating an artwork in which all elements merge and then come together firmly.
Telling a story through the use of lines, light, colour and the contrast between them”. Guided by intuition and an obsession to create, moving liquid pigments on a canvas. For Gemmy, every detail is lovingly obsessed and refined – from the backgrounds, she usually paints herself to the costumes, set construction, styling, and post-production.
Gemmy’s artwork becomes a depiction of real things that are not entirely grounded in reality. Each of her painterly photographs expresses a beautiful silence, which exists between awake and asleep. Gemmy’s works claim the interspaces, with each piece telling a divine transition between the tradition of painting and photography, between the painters of the past and artists of today, between analog details and digital pixels, between reality and fantasy, between the banal and the ideal, between light and shadow and between textured movement and pearly silence. A modern story in the light of the past is born.
Gemmy, please can I ask what was your desire to become a photographer, and when and how did this take shape?
My creative path began with liquid pigments and a brush, but, as life so often does, My path took me in another direction.I picked up a camera and started experimenting. It was a fine art photography workshop with studio lighting that showed me the ability to control and manipulate light, replicating the painters I adored.
“Following the fine art photography workshop, things completely changed for me. This became a way for me to paint again, but with a camera instead of paint. There were no complicated tricks, just a simple lighting setup and styling. The magic that happened for me that day was the discovery that you can create the same mood and light that I think is so beautiful in Dutch 17th-century paintings.”
How did you become a photographer; did you assist first?
I’ve never assisted another photographer, I did watch a ton of videos and tutorials when I first started at photography. I think it would be an excellent investment to be an assistant for a photographer; you’ll learn the most by actually doing it! So I would absolutely advise anyone who’s starting in photography to assist.
Where do you work from and I know you have a studio, Where is this based?
I’m based in Holland; I have my own creative studio, from where I built my sets and do my shootings.
My studio is located in a small quiet village.
I really like that it’s in a quiet place, for me, there is no need to have my studio in a busy big city. My clients don’t mind that I’m not located in a capital city.
What helped create your style and who do you follow for inspiration?
Because I painted a lot in the past, I think I have already developed a preference for a particular way of lighting the subject.
This is, I think, the top line in all of my work.
How would you define your style of photography?
I personally would define my work as introverted and storytelling where light is leading. In every work, although It could look raw, there is some form of beauty present
Is your desire for photography driven by early growing up or studying at a later date?
I think photography is the end result of everything I’ve done before I started with photography. I’ve been able to apply different kinds of skills into my way of capturing images with a camera.
Your style of work seems mixed and so what drives your creativity?
I get inspired by many things from my personal life, books, movies, and things that happen in the world. I try to translate them into images. This also requires a lot of preparations, set building styling, etc.
The photoshoot is only a small part of the process.
How do you choose your models and are they professional?
Sometimes I work with professional models and sometimes with people who don’t model.
It depends on the character needed for the project. But sometimes, I get my inspiration from a model, and the project is entirely built on the model, so it varies per project.
Your style mostly has a super painterly feel similar to paintings and grans masters. Could you tell us how your work evolved to this?
The most important part for me in photography is the placement of light; you can really define what part of who gets the most attention in your shot. The light can really tell the story and make images full of drama or the opposite full of emptiness.
Also, my set and styling are carefully matched with the story I want to create. I’m a staged photographer, so I never shoot unprepared
I have watched some of your videos and see that you used to shoot with a Nikon D850 but now with Phase One, how has this worked for you? Has it been enhanced if so how and why?
I’ve been shooting with the Phase One system for the past 3 Years. For me, it’s like a glove that fits perfectly!
I requested a demo, and after that, I knew that was for me the best system to work with! I really love the details that it captures.
What is your camera system, how many do you have what are the best lenses or your favourite lenses?
I’m shooting with the Phase One IQ4 150mp system, my three most used lenses are the 150mm , the 80mm and the 45mm Zeiss Jensens for Phase One
Your images have a strong sense of colour to them, they all have an atmosphere is this created in the camera or within your digital darkroom?
I’m shooting as close to the final image as possible. This means a good preparation of light setup, set building, and styling. The end result is already close to the in-camera shot when this is carefully matched.
I use a very basic editing workflow to enhance some details or remove the basic skin issues
Can you run through some of your workflows, please?
My editing workflow is basic, but I’m really into the details. After the raw processing, I continue my edit in photoshop, I begin with some repairing, then dodge and burn is an essential part for me, and I’m really spending a lot of time on that. Then some tiny colour toning adjustments and that’s it.
What software do you use for your edits, and what is your workflow from camera to picture?
I always shoot tethered in capture one, its great to see what you’re doing on a bigger screen instead of the back of your camera.
After that, I export the ones I want to fully edit into Photoshop.
Do you like to photograph people as your work is mainly people-based, but there are some very nice still life studies. Do you break away from people to stills for a break?
For me shooting still-lifes is a really zen way of shooting, alone in my studio experimenting with shapes, colours and light.
I think still-lifes are the best way to practice light, colour, and composition. You can really learn a lot from shooting still-life.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I get inspired by many things from my personal life, books, movies, and things that happen in the world. I try to translate them into images.
Do you like art and if so, does this affect your work?
I absolutely like art. I think art keeps you open-minded and keeps your brain triggered and prevents getting stuck in particular thinking patterns or judgmental behaviour.
It’s food for the brain.
Do you work with an agent or gallery for the output of your work or is it mainly for brands within advertising or agencies?
I work with several galleries besides my commercial and client work.
Do you exhibit your work, please explain a little bit about where and your work is or has been?
I Exhibited my work in different ways globally, at art fairs, in galleries, in books, and in magazines. I’m working on another solo exhibition this year.