Photographer and retoucher: Cindy Stegeman (Original Cin)
Model: Felicia Cramer
Hair and Makeup: Monika Murris-Nikken
Headpiece: Kim de Wit
I am a 30-year-old Photographer from the Netherlands. All my life I’ve been fascinated by photography and images but I never had the chance to develop those photos because of costs of film roles at the time. Since my 16th I always felt slightly more attracted by dark colors and I began to wear Victorian gothic clothing. Because of that decision, I finally felt myself. After a while, when I got myself a job I, unfortunately, could no longer wear this type of clothing. From that time, my attraction and comfort of that darker style continued to grow and became my biggest inspiration. The pictures that I create are most of the time combined with a melancholy atmosphere, which is the style that gets me excited.
In 2003 I had the opportunity to buy my first digital camera which allowed me to fulfill my passion of photography. In 2005 I attended an audio/visual school that taught us lessons for basic photography. At that time my passion was to become a film editor, so these classes didn’t get my main focus.
After I graduated I started off as a freelancer and did several assignments for a variety of companies. The content of these jobs was about movies for websites, doing family shoots etc. It was in the year 2012 when I came across some work of Rebeca Saray and got really inspired to create photos in a similar style. I loved the fantasy and fairytale vibe in those pictures. I also looked up similar photographers like Amanda Diaz and Lauren Helena and learned a lot from them and their work. So I arranged some fantasy clothing from the local theater school, asked my sister in law and a friend of hers to be my models. From that time I truly became inspired and fell in love straight away with this kind of photography. I still had a long way to go but was absolutely sure it was worth it.
From that time onwards I started arranging several photo shoots which allowed me to develop my skills and gain experience. In the beginning, it was difficult getting recourses, clothing and did not always have the necessary accessories at my disposal. This did give me inspiration and allowed me to be more creative for my shoots. However, I didn’t always know how to find my way around but over the years, designers, make-up artists, and stylists were starting to notice my work. With these recourses to my disposal, I could make bigger and more beautiful shots than before Without all those creative people, I would not be as inspired as I am now. I can’t thank the people that I worked with enough. These individuals brought me to where I am right now.
The more I started to know my strengths, the more my photos were getting a style, my own style. I love making pictures in the studio but I still prefer the outdoor shoots in natural light that give a better result, and that is what I’m after. Unfortunately, the weather in the Netherlands is precarious and forces me to reschedule shoots a from time to time.
It was in spring when I saw a lot of photo shoots on Facebook with beautiful models that were posing in front of white or pink blossomed trees. I did not have any experience with those types of shoots and wanted to extend my knowledge and give it a shot. So I started looking for the perfect model and dress that would make the pictures complete. We’ve done two shoots, one with a white dress and the other with a big pink dress with extra details on it. The pink one has to be my favorite. The dress was actually too big for the model so the assistant had to hold the dress from behind otherwise it wouldn’t have stayed in place. At the end, I had to Photoshop him out of the picture, and the end result doesn’t show any sign of that happening.
The sun was not going to show itself that day, so the ambiance was a bit gloomy. This was the reason I decided that the model was a sad princess who was longing to her long lost prince. These kinds of stories help me and the models perform better and give that expression and style I want in my pictures. It was really cold so we had limited time at our hands. I was lying in the cold wet grass with my 80-200 zoom lens to create that fantasy look and capture the model and the high blossoms in one frame. But it was worth it. I am really happy with the results. Funny thing is, three days later I had a different photo shoot on the same location. The results, however, were completely different. You can see them on my Original Cin Facebook or Instagram.
What draws me into photography is the emotions the models show combined with the atmosphere and story told before. I’m trying to catch that emotion which will draw people into my picture. That’s why I think it’s extremely important that the models I use for my photos are capable in showing those emotions and can portray a different person or character. This can be really challenging.
One other aspect I love about my work and style is the retouching of the photos. Often, people ask me what I do with the photos and what kind of filters I use. It’s not just one filter of course. I spend a lot of time behind Photoshop that allows me to create my own special Original Cin look. I mostly spend about 6 to 10 hours on one particular image to make everything perfect. But it can also take me 5 minutes to get the picture as beautiful as the other. I really strive for perfection of my photos. I like both, natural and over the top edited photos as long it looks realistic. This is still a thing I am working on perfecting, but that’s just practice.
I really hope I can pursue this passion for the rest of my life. Continue to capture people in my photos on the most beautiful locations out there. The special thing is that I am always on the look for the most beautiful locations out there. I’m always thinking about it and it is always on my mind. And that allows me to see places in the city I live that I otherwise might never have noticed as well as locations throughout the rest of The Netherlands. There are too many beautiful places in the world, perfect creepy, frightening locations. I hope that other artists and I have the possibility to escape the real world and drift away in a different one when gazing upon different styles and pictures.