Prepare The Flash shines a light on folks that shine a light themselves. The people behind the camera, taking pictures of the artists we all love. Let's take a look behind the scenes of some of Belgium’s most infamous clickers. This time with Marie Wynants!
Hi Marie! Tell us, when did you fall in love with photography?
"I was lucky to roll into photography actually. When I started dance school, I planned on staying there. But at a certain point I felt it was time for something else. I opted for photography and passed the admission test, so it’s not like I wanted to do this since I was young. If you want to create art, your decisions are rather impulsive than rational."
How did you come up with the term epileptic photography?
“You may take that literally. In the past I had some epileptic seizures, and in a way that reflects itself in my photography. My images have something dynamic, they look kind of hasty. I don’t go out looking for that, but that’s something I noticed. Epilepsy is also a very physical experience. There’s something with the human body that has always fascinated me. I find it strange how your body goes through those seizures when you don’t really experience it. It’s something that happens out of your consciousness.”
You look like you're on a very familiar base with Vuurwerk and Oscar & The Wolf. Where does that come from?
“We have all known eachother for a long time and we’re around the same age. It’s really interesting to see how everyone’s paths develop and to see everybody doing so well. It’s really diverse and everyone gets a lot of inspiration out of that. It’s very motivating to be a part of such a group.”
What’s your creative process like and how do you come up with ideas?
“I’m mostly inspired by people like models. I’m not good with shooting men except for Max (Oscar & The Wolf), we have great synergy. I prefer to take pictures of women because there’s something in their physique that attracts me more. Of course there’s always a practical side to it, from styling to production, but I’m not someone who goes like: I want that kind of coloring and that sort of vibe... It’s only when I look back at the pictures that I realize what my inspiration was. I tell myself things unconsciously that I only realize afterwards. It’s because of my work that I get to know myself better.”
2016 looked very busy for you. What is your best memory of that year?
“Last year I did my first big fashion assignment, which was for Delvaux. That was no doubt the highlight of my career. The cool thing was that I got to shoot two days at a great location with a fully equipped professional team. I learned a lot from that experience, and it’s unbelievable how they just trusted me in doing my thing.”
You made some really iconic shots of Oscar & The Wolf. What’s your favorite picture of him?
“The fun part about working with artists is that they already created a world of their own, to then ask you about your vision on that. In the beginning, it was more clinical with the red bath, plants etc… After that, we experimented with dark glitter and a more warm vibe in Marrakesh. Recently we did something completely different! Those pictures will be coming online very soon. We take our time working out these ideas. My favorite picture of him is where he’s standing in the desert, with a dark sky and golden shine around him.”
How is working with artists different than working for, let's say, Ann Demeulemeester?
“Again, it’s the same, both musicians and fashion designers already created their own world. Shooting for Ann Demeulemeester is one big rush. When you arrive you barely have an hour to capture impressions backstage. But the production is so big and there are so many things going on… It’s really hectic. It’s actually funny, because when I look at it afterwards, the pictures look really peaceful. The people in the fashion industry themselves are also very calm and moderate. One of the few differences with musicians and models is that when you get shoot them, you have their full attention. When shooting models, you have to stand your grond and almost literally put them in front of your lens.”
How is the balance between your own work versus assignments?
“People ask me about that a lot, but I don’t really see them separately. Every assignment that I take is already sort of a personal project because I’m very selective. It’s great working with people that are really passionate about what they're doing, and most of the time they give me carte blanche, so that’s definitely something that I want to keep on doing in the future.”
How hard is it for young photographers to get themselves in the picture? Got some tips you would like to share with them?
“It’s hard to say because I’m still in that process of self-development and I'm still kind of unsure about what it is that I want to show the world. Maybe somewhere in the future I could answer that question better, but for now: try to find your own angle and keep criticizing yourself.”
What would you like to do in the (near) future on a professional level?
“Instead of taking pictures, I directed a couple of videos recently. That’s something completely different and I really I like it. But everything felt in place when I was doing that assignment for Delvaux. I acquired the taste for it and would really like to work with other brands, like Prada for example. Plus, obviously, keep on working with musicians.”
We saw you live in London now?
“I only live here part-time with my partner (Thieu Seynaeve, Vuurwerk) because job-wise I have a lot of things going on in Belgium, so I have to keep going back and forth."
What are your plans for the future?
"This year, I would like to focus on doing more international projects, but that obviously takes time. I would love to do projects in Asia and America to really look into cultures further away from Europe. We’ll see! Maybe I should stop talking about all my big dreams before they are reality." (laughs)
One has to dream, Marie. See you soon!