Gemmy Woud-Binnendijk, a Dutch photographer is famous for infusing the luscious beauty of Old Masters paintings into her photography. Her work looks timeless which is related to her great love for fine arts, art history, humans and animals. Born and raised in a land of Flemish Old Masters Gemmy was always an artist who used to paint ad draw with a great passion. She studied goldsmithing and multimedia design. In March 2016 she fell in love with photography and found a way to express herself through pictures. She finds the use of light very important and she uses dark and light contrasts to create characteristic depth. Combining two art techniques, sfumato and chiaroscuro, which were both developed during the period of Renaissance, Gemmy manages to build unique depth and form by laying tones and color. The result produces “imperceptible transitions” of young adults, adults and children who look exactly like art paintings of that time period. It would be no wonder if you couldn’t tell the difference if it was a Renaissance period oil painting you somehow missed or if it’s a photography, and that is exactly why her art photography is timeless.
And as Gemmy said: “ It’s an opportunity to create. That’s my biggest urge; I have to create things. I am so happy that I found my passion, found something that makes me happy. It gives me a lot of satisfaction that I can make images and translate things in colors, shapes, ideas, and transform them into something that you can touch or see.” (Quote taken from PHLEALEARN https://phlearn.com/magazine/taking-rembrandt-like-photos-using-old-master-artist-techniques/)
1. Did you choose photography or the photography chose you and can you remember how and when it all happen?
Ever since I was a child, I was drawn to art, meaning that I was always painting and drawing. But due to some circumstances I couldn’t paint anymore. So three years ago I bought my first camera, went to the zoo and photographed many animals. Unfortunately, few weeks later it didn’t give me the feeling of pleasure I was hoping for. Then I started searching for something I could connect with, so I did one wedding photo session and the one with a new-born but both weren’t successful as I thought it would. My camera ended up on a bookshelf, left there for a while. One day, I remember it was in March 2016, I came across a Facebook ad from a photographer who was offering a one-day fine-art workshop. After attending it I was completely hooked! I discovered I could actually paint again, only by using camera as a tool.
2. Where do you get your inspiration from because your work is hard to distinguish from painted art sometimes?
I get most of my inspiration out of art in general, books and museums, but also movies and music inspire me a lot.
3. How much do you research your themes, subjects and the entire atmosphere before photographing them and how important do you think it is?
For me, the all preparation process for the shoot is one of the biggest time-consuming parts of making a good photography, and I really like that part.
Making costumes, searching and looking for for models, props, visualizing by using mood boards, getting my team together or even building stages is really important for my process towards making and creating an image.
4. What do you do to light the picture?
Most of the time I use a two-light setup: one key, and one fill. The lights I use are Profoto studio strobes, one with a big defused umbrella (my key light) and one with a magnum reflector on it which I bounce from the back or from above (my fill).
5. Why do you like using Gravity backdrops backgrounds and what benefits it can give in a process of taking a picture?
90% of the time I use a gravity backdrop for my shoots.
I use it because of the beautiful colors and structures they have. It immediately gives my images a painterly look and feel. Also the good thing is that they are so beautiful matted that I don’t have an issues of having shiny reflections on my backdrop from one of the strobes I use.
6. Your work is marked with very strong personality presented, and the atmosphere created is captivating, do you think it helps you relate to the subject and reveal a candid side of them through your lens?
I really like the part when a model or a client drops the guard and reveals a bit of him or herself that you normally cannot see.
I also like when the subject itself empowers a dominant feeling towards the viewer.
You can see that a lot in art history when someone used to be portrayed.
7. What inspires you the most?
There are a lot of photographers that I admire!
In art history, Caravaggio is definitely my biggest inspiration.
8. Can you tell us more about your future projects?
At this moment I’m editing images from a project of mine, that I shot a few weeks ago.
Hopefully I can share them in mid/end October.
It will be a series of 30 images, all connected to each other by a story or an object.
But I am also in the middle of costume making for an upcoming shoot.
9. That sounds so exciting and we are thrilled to see it! Since you brought an innovative approach in photography, can you tell us where do you see the future of photography in general?
Our society gets more and more image oriented. In the future we will make and share even more visual information that we even do nowadays. So, by my opinion, the photography is approaching fast to the golden future.