Saskia Dingemans has her very own style, always capturing deeper emotions in her beautiful work. It gives her images much more meaning than just recording landscapes, seascapes, forest shots. Her photography is purely emotional and all her images have a soul. Saskia wants to share her feelings in the processed images and succeeds so well on that purpose. Most of her work is impressionistic with a mystical, sometimes dark and dramatic touch using the light in a way that reminds the Old Dutch Masters. It was a real pleasure to lead this interview and to know a little better the romantic soul of Saskia hidden behind her photographs. Enjoy...
Dear Saskia, please briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs?
Thanks a lot for the invitation, dear Yvette.
I was born in Breda, Holland. I was married to Hans and helped him to build up his medical practice for 10 years . Unfortunately he died very young . After a difficult time I decided to start an atelier for ceramics and interior designing in our farm.
At that time, I also travelled a lot to Mali “The Dogon Valley”, Yemen, Madagaskar essentially for their beautiful primitive architecture and nature.
Because of serious health problems and surgeries, I had to stop my activities.
After a journey to Cuba, I realized that I should buy a good camera and that photography could become a most interesting hobby that I still was able to do.
How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
Which are your most important experiences that has influenced your art?
My travels, my work as an interior designer and my self and my self conceived jewellery, the 25 years I lived in a beautiful natural environment and my health influenced me the most.
What first attracted you to photography?
What first attracted me was that I could go everywhere with my camera. It is a never-ending learning process stimulating my creativity. Because of my creative work in the past, I learned to observe and to make good compositions. These tools helped me with my photography. A very important aspect is that I can translate my deepest emotions into pictures and that I can play and paint with light. It makes my world bigger, more interesting and more beautiful. For me photography is always “manipulated”, even analogue photography, because you have to choose the ISO, diaphragm, shutter speed, film rolls from different brands and so on. That's my personal opinion. To me, photography nowadays goes more and more direction designing with all the tools we have such as Photoshop and other programs. I like a lot this aspect too.
Fifteen years ago I started with macro and micro photography.
I used my knowledge acquired in the past to create abstract macro pictures from parts of flowers in a way that you could not recognize the flower any more and I also loved the fact that I could make an invisible world visible. It felt like a magician because I could change reality into new dimension by playing with diaphragm, focus, bokeh. But after a while, my physical problems didn't allow me to go on. So , it's my body who decided which direction I should go. Today, it's nature, landscapes and Fine Art photography.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
I don’t make a picture of what I see but I always make an impression of what I see . My intuition and deepest emotions in combination with technique are guiding me to achieve the result that I have in mind . I take my time, observe very well my environment and I am always looking for aspects as, poetry, surrealism and drama, mystical or magical light that reminds me a bit of the Old Dutch Masters like Ruisdael especially in places like Kinderdijk with all the windmills or Domburg at the sea, or the forest near my house, and off course Iceland. I feel free to use tools as Lightroom or Photoshop to reach my goal. It gives me the opportunity to express my emotions and to put my signature on my images. Unfortunately I am not very good in Photoshop and would love to learn more about all the interesting possibilities.
Your work is very diversified but you have your very own style, whatever the subject is. What is more important to you, the mood,/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
It depends of the subject .Technical perfection is important .When you know your camera, you have more possibilities for better and creative results, but,… the mood and story behind my images are more important.
What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer? Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
I always consult the weather forecasts when I have something in mind. One time the weather prediction was bad with big Dutch clouds and hail. I took my car and went to Kinderdijk with the famous windmills in the hope I could make the picture that I had in mind with dramatic Dutch clouds and light that reminded me of the Old Dutch Masters. At the end of the day I was cold and tired, so I went to my car and I saw that the result was not good enough. I rested for 15 minutes and forced myself to go back to give it another try , and then, suddenly this beautiful magical light came through the dramatic, dark clouds . The light of Ruisdael that I had in mind . I was so excited and it was so worth all the waiting and cold. Finally I was very happy with the result.
Photography to me really is observing and waiting for the right moment . When it's foggy, I love to go for a walk in the forest observing and waiting to see people and dogs passing by to make that perfect composition that adds some dram or mystery to the picture and to the story of the people just passengers who are on their way. Mostly, I take those images from a distance.
What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
Mostly I use my Sony a7R
Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar FE 4/16-35
Sony FE 4/70-200
Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar FE 1,8/55 ZA
What software do you use to process your images?
I use Lightroom, Photoshop a bit and sometimes Redfield or Luminar.
Can you tell us something more about your work flow?
I work on the composition, light, contrasts, saturation, shadows and get rid of dust spots. I put my pictures in maps and I have an external hard disk for a back up. When working in Photoshop, it always is very intuitive, trying out things fitting me and the image.
What is your most important advice to a beginner in Photography and how do you get started?
I am going a lot to the forest near to my place. Because of that I became better and better with forest pictures. You learn so much by seeing the trees through the forest, by going often to the same place.
It is also a challenge to make every time a good and different picture from the same location. It forces you to observe, feel and concentrate. Take your time and wait for the right moment . Using a tripod can help, choosing a specific theme too.
Don't be afraid of playing with ISO, diaphragm and shutter speed. Try to discover what fits the best. Must most of all, do what makes you happy and gives you energy.
Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
Robert Doisneau , Paul den Hollander, Teun Hocks , Manray...
On 1X I love the work of Veselin Atanasov, Gilbert Claes, Carmine Chiriacò, Franz Staab and so many others.
They are inspiring to me and give me the energy to become a better photographer. It affected my photography in a way that I learned to take my time and that it is very important to develop your own style.
Is there any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a lot and why?
There are so many good photographers that I do not have a specific photo in mind.
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 would love to travel more to places who are interesting long exposures and Fine Art like Normandy, Bretagne, Island Skye, Romania, Georgie, Galicia. I would also love to travel together with a few photographers who have the same spirit, in a relaxed way. My wish is that I may continue my photography for a long time. My biggest goal is that people recognize my work, my “signature” and that they enjoy it .
Describe your favourite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
It is so difficult to choose a favourite picture. Stockness, Iceland is a very special place to me for its wideness, roughness, silence, light, drama, magic and poetry. All these aspects are coming together in this picture for me.
Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
1X to me is the place to be. The best photo site I know to inspire me and to get the energy to become a better photographer.