with Gemmy Woud-Binnendijk

I am ME

For Gemmy still life photography is like practicing yoga for her brain. However, she prefers to work with people to produce her signature Fine-Art, staged, and highly-directed photographs that look like paintings. For this project, she has shared another beautiful story about acceptance, judgement and finding your true self.

About her work

I love telling stories to share emotions and capture very intense moments in time, which will change so fast into another direction in people’s life. I am very harsh on myself, when it comes to details. I need every shoot to be well prepared and almost fully scripted, ranging from the hair/makeup to the final editing part. My work is very diverse, but my personal projects are the closest to my heart. To afford these, I combine my client shoots and commercial work. Recently, I’ve worked with Warner Music and Chopard. These types of shoots demand a lot of flexibility and make you move out of your comfort zone, but it helps you to stay sharp, so that you break out of your routine. For my personal projects, I put a lot of emphasis on emotions and mood, which usually tends to be darker and more depressing, even though I am not like that. It reflects my own emotion when I’m exposed to injustice in our world or topics, that people are very judgmental about. So I love working with people and topics that are breaking taboos.

About the project

Still life is a part of my work, but I prefer to work with people, to shoot concepts that stand close to me as a person. The project “I am ME”, which I shot two years ago, still means a lot to me. I shot Lysander, who was in transition from woman to man, and Darren, who was transitioning from male to female. Darren is, besides being born in the wrong body, also on the autism spectrum and had a rough time accepting who she is. Her mom contacted me, after seeing the work that I did with Melanie Gaydos. She was asking me whether I could shoot Darren as the boy, they would soon say goodbye to, and as her real self in form of a princess. Showing the gender transition, by depicting both parts those of being a boy and a girl together. As for Lysander, I also portrayed him being a man and wearing the body of a woman. The environment that I put Lysander in was a miniature dollhouse that I built myself. It represents the cage he was kept in with all the outside glamour and shine, but no space for his struggle to become himself.

About her equipment

My work is all about the details, hence when I first tried out the Phase One system, I noticed right away that it fits perfectly to my needs and level of perfectionism. The name Phase One stands for itself, and I heard a lot about the quality beforehand. I used to shoot with Nikon, but I needed greater details and pixels. Also having that enormous high dynamic range made the switch quite easy. So, for every shoot in my studio or on location, I use the IQ4 150MP. When putting so much effort into the detail and preparing so much for a shoot, the camera needs to be able to capture all of that. With my Phase One, I can also crop certain parts of a scene and use them as a stand-alone image after the shoot. As for the lenses, I have shot 80% of my work with the Schneider Kreuznach 150mm f/2.8 IF lens, but I also like the Schneider Kreuznach 80mm f/2.8 Mark II lens for bigger setups. If I need to work with a tiny space, I go for the Schneider Kreuznach 45mm LS f/3.5 lens.

What’s next

I have so many ideas that I want to execute. At every shoot I learn new things, and my goal is to get better and better at translating the ideas into visuals that I can share. My only trouble is that I don’t have enough time in my life to shoot everything I have in mind.

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