Winter Vandenbrink

1. Aesthetic: The study of the mind and emotions in relation to the sense of beauty. How has aesthetic evolved over the years and how has it influenced fashion photography? What is your approach with aesthetic in your works?

For me it was a long road to finaly find an aesthetic that is my own.
So I’m not even sure if this approach is suitable for fashion photography atm.

Before I was following everything that happened in fashion photography and was trying to jump on that boat by creating similar work and get inspired by other photographers. This means I stopped looking a bit to what is happening around me in fashion now and be inspired by life itself when I’m on the street with my camera.

2. Identity. “We contain multitudes,” wrote Walt Whitman, referring to the fact that we see ourselves in a different way depending on different contexts. Nowadays, gender and sexuality have been explored in many ways, from art to cinema and of course fashion. Fashion photography is a means to capture reality and changes within it. How do you reflect identity in your works?

I’m mostly interested in identity of youngsters and love to study social codes which are detectable through clothing, hairdo’s and also group behaviour.
Lately I also sent styled models into these groups, whom are unaware of being photographed as xtras with the model. The most beautiful thing then what can happen is when the model and his clothes blends in with the identity of the unaware group he is in.

You need to have all your ingredients right for that to happen!

3. Beauty in fashion. “The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express”, said Francis Bacon. Fashion photography once depicted a perfect kind of beauty, almost false in its perfection. Nowadays, fashion photography focuses on imperfection and peculiar traits. Which is your relationship with beauty? How has the language of photography mutated in the past years? 

I think we are all trying to find beauty, in perfection or imperfection. I notice I have a strong craving for images in my work wich I never saw before or wich you’ll never be able to think up before starting a shoot. They can come across as imperfect but is this because we never saw anything like it before or is it really imperfect?
Still in the cropping of my images or casting the kids in the street or even use of color, is strongly influenced by what I think is beautiful. I have a very minimal Dutch aesthetic I believe, eventhough my images can look chaotic sometimes.

Ideas on what is beautiful can be a trap too, you’ll need to keep challenging the bounderies of it.

4. Sociology: the study of human behaviour. How is photography able to portray social changes? Is fashion photography a way to portray cultural changes within society? How have social and cultural changes influenced your works?

It think next to off course documentary and news photography, fashion photography is very capable of doing so. It is always operating in the zeitgeist of the moment.
In my work I can see a shift in dresscodes for instance over a couple of years, or even I can detect small differences in dresscodes from one metropolitan city to another.

5. “This is me not being you”: an exhibition about identity, gender and change. How have your works expressed this feeling? How do you express your personal background through your works?

It is my study object, I isolate a certain kind of guy or girl or details in clothing or hairdo’s or even faces. This is all about identity and gendercodes.

Since I work in this approach I call my own, this must come from within, I’m focused as said before on youngsters, mostly boys, so I believe this comes from my own identity or lost identity from a childhood stage. I’m looking for something very close to me or what I have been or always dreamed of being.

by Giovanna Pisacane