Mirjam Delrue excels in children photography. Her amazing portraits are intense and full of emotions. Each image tells its own story. Discover this talented artist and “read” her stories behind her images. Thanks to Yvette Depaepe for conducting the interview.
Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs, Mirjam.
I’m 44 years old and a mother of three kids (16, 14 and 11 years old). During the week I work as pharmacist in a local pharmacy. Besides my work and parenthood I try to spend most of my spare time with photography.
About ten years ago, I wanted to follow a course in editing for creating the invitations for the birthday party’s of the children myself. At that time there was only a course in image editing and photography available. That was the first contact with photography for me and I liked it a lot. So quite soon I bought a good camera and I started to photograph everything I saw and I joined a photo club.
After one or two years I took the picture of my daughter sitting with her doll.
After taking this picture I realize that this is the kind of pictures I wanted to take.
How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
I certainly believe that when I had started earlier with photography I wouldn’t have taken this kind of pictures. Everyone has setbacks in his life, for me I had a difficult period about nine years ago. In my photography I was able to express my feelings.
Nowadays I have to be very precise and alert in my job as a pharmacist. Photography is just the contrary. You can use creativity and mood to express yourself. So for me it’s a perfect activity aside of my job.
What first attracted you to photography?
Photography makes you look differently at things around you. It makes you look better. You see light, colors and so many other things around you in another way.
Sometimes I take my camera and go into the garden to take macro pictures of insects. This is such a relaxing activity, and I never knew that there were so many different and beautiful insects just in my own garden.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
I think everyone has to create what he wants and prefers the most. Don’t let your creativity be influenced by the opinion of other people. Of course you can learn from criticism, and given by the right people it can bring you to a higher level.
I often have had the comment that my pictures are in a dark mood. But they are not meant to be for the family album. If I had to take pictures only for the happy family album, I wouldn’t enjoy it so much.
And by using people in my pictures I can tell the stories I want and create the mood.
What is more important to you, the mood/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
For me it is definitely the mood. Nowadays I only take pictures on intuition, the technique is less important for me. I hope that people will look just a little bit longer at my pictures and imagine their own story by seeing it. That’s why I sometimes think it is difficult to give a picture a title. You draw the viewer to one direction, and I just want everyone to create his or her own story for the picture.
Often I have an image in my head that I want to create. Then I have to create the scene to get this picture. Almost every picture is taken in one shot and there are not many shots that I merge later. Sometimes this is a challenge. To create the right light for example.
When I’ll photograph at another location, I always study it well before. What stories you can see in that location, what kind of mood and light is there etc.
Sometimes I use my Linkstar studio flashes to create the light circumstances.
What software do you use to process your images?
I use Lightroom and Photoshop CC. I also often use Silver Efex pro for the conversion to black and white.
Can you tell us something more about your workflow?
Often I get my inspiration by little things I see in nature. Then an image will grow in my head. I will create the scene to try to take the image I had in mind. But often during photographing you just see other things and moods, what will bring you to another picture than the one you originally had in mind.
After the shoot I always edit my pictures in Photoshop. Almost all my pictures are converted to black and white. I think that color often distract, by using black and white you can emphasize the story.
What is your most important advice to a beginner in Portraits and Mood photography and how do you get started?
First of all when you start with photography, just photograph everything you see and want. This is important for to get to know your camera and find out what you prefer to photograph. When you work with models you have to know your camera and your settings well.
I believe that especially in this kind of photography less is more. Try not to photograph a big scenery, but start small. And you don’t have to go to spacious locations. Start small and in your own area and don’t use too many attributes.
Who are your favorite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
I don’t have one particular favorite photographer. I look a lot to pictures on the internet, but I also visit expositions. Of course I like moody pictures, but I also can enjoy viewing other categories of photography.
Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?
I think that my preference will stay in taking story telling pictures. I secretly hope that one day one of my photos will be on a book cover.
But my children grow up and they don’t want to be models so often anymore. So I have to look for other models or maybe another kind of photography in the future.
Describe your favorite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
My favorite photograph is definitely the picture with my mother and my daughter in the mirror.
The light circumstances to create this were difficult, but I’m very happy with the result I have achieved with these two people and the story I had in mind. To create this with your own mother and daughter is a privilege.
Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
Every day I visit 1x.com just to see the new published pictures. I can enjoy photographs in every category. There are so many good photographers on this website. And I am proud when my picture is published here. I thank the crew for giving us a platform to share our pictures.