Photographers Duo DOMEN & VAN DE VELDE about life, photography and the change in the fashion industry
DOMEN : " For every dream , there is a place, as long as you believe, fight and go for it ! "
Giel Domen and Kenneth Van de Velde
known as DOMEN & VAN DE VELDE are one of our favorite imagemakers from this time. Allure that reminds us of glorious ages , dreams and fantasy. We don't find any kind of minimalism when examine the boys outstanding portfolio with many international references and clients. Recently our eye felt on a published article on the New York Times about the change in the fashion industry. We had a lovely chit chat with Giel and Kenneth.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE ?
Giel : We don't like regular or normal. That doesn't mean that we only like to create freakshows. We still try to capture everyones beauty to the core. But , in our way. Outspoken, not just the regular thing.
Kenneth : Iconic, feminin with an artistic edge.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST DREAM ?
Giel : I have many. I can't tell them all. My biggest dream in general is just to create beautiful things and connecting with likeminded people and have a good health to do that.
Kenneth : Its just about having recognition for what we do. If you get respect for your work, it feels like you achieved something good.
DOMEN & VAN DE VELDE for NUMERO
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE PANDEMIC , DID IT AFFECT YOU ?
Giel : I think it affected everyone. To me it wasn't all negative. I think it is a period of rebranding yourself, to me it definitely worked out. I am a stronger version of myself then I was before the pandemic.
Kenneth : It brought more sense to my life. There were many doors closed, but better opened.
OBVIOUS QUESTION , LOL , BUT WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION FROM ?
Giel : Historical facts , Historical figures , Specific times such as 20s, 50s, 60S, 70s , 80s,...
Also fairytales , books, nature...
Inspiration is everywhere, you just need to open your eyes and ears and there it is. Life is full of it !
Kenneth : A personal experience can be very interesting to add to your work. I always get very inspired of people that reaching the top by working hard and standing strong , even after disappointments on their way.
VAN DE VELDE : "We like the same but because we are two different people we keep or focus on different things."
DOMEN & VAN DE VELDE for MIRROR MIRROR MAGAZINE
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE SHOOT?
Giel : That is difficult to answer, we have so many, every shoot has its own energy and memory. We love the underwater one , the ghost one , our first VOGUE, the first desert shoot and many more...When people connect and work on the same level, that's when the magic happens.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST STRUGGLE ?
Giel : It's a difficult world in general, it's also something very personal when other people have to go over your work and decide if your good or not. But at the end you must stick to your own gut feeling and stay focused on what you want to achieve. I think the biggest struggle is to hold on that fact and not change cause of other people want you to.
Kenneth : Not being to hard on myself. The ambition goes high, but sometimes you forget to enjoy on the way to your goal. I think I have to give myself more rewards for what we do achieve.
DOMEN & VAN DE VELDE for VOGUE ARABIA
DOMEN & VAN DE VELDE for L'OFFICIEL ITALY
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE RECENT ARTICLE IN THE NEW YORK TIMES ABOUT THE CHANGING FASHION INDUSTRY?
Giel : I feel connected to it. But I do believe that everything has its time. I will not change myself cause of the trend of today. That would make me sad and unhappy. I really go for the idea that for every style is a market. People will always feel the need to dream or to think big, no matter what trend is happening in fashion. Definitely after a pandemic there will be more opening to it. Maybe not in fashion but definitely on other platforms, but the future will speak for itself. I stay close to my believes and our style. For every dream , there is a place, as long as you believe, fight and go for it !
Kenneth: I have the feeling that everything is about getting more money. Companies and brands are pushing to go normal in the hope to have better sales. More restrictions and policies are given to magazines , teams and artists. But my feeling says that if they would let artists create more, there will be more inspiration to let people buy magazines. I think at this time brands are batteling with magazines and are at the winning point. Luckily there will be always brands and magazines that stand for creativity and dreams.
WHAT WOULD YOU ADVISE STARTING PHOTOGRAPHERS ?
Giel : I would advise young photographers to choose wisely the school they want to apply for. I see so many damaged people, totally confused about what they want , because of the way a teacher thinks about their style and about their photography. A school is good to learn you the techniques, but I see more and more teachers getting involved in the taste and the creative proces from the students. That should be not a common thing. Not many people are made for this job our industry. The younger generation of today does not want to take risks , or does not want to work for their evolution anymore. Everything is about money...That is a sad thing. Money should be a logical consequence from following your passion, not the way around. We struggled a lot last two years with interns that are totally lost their track in this game. My advise is: If u really want it, just act like it.
Kenneth : Be prepared to work day and night if you want to be someone into fashion. Also combine multiple things to earn money in the beginning. And as Giel said : Let passion come before money.
DOMEN & VAN DE VELDE for VOGUE PORTUGAL
DOMEN : "I think the biggest struggle is to not change cause of other people want you to !"
DOMEN & VAN DE VELDE for VOGUE MEXICO
DOMEN & VAN DE VELDE for VMIRROR MIRROR
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT PROS AND CONTRAS ABOUT BEING A DUO ?
Giel : Its not always easy to be 24/24 a couple and being connected with work. Its a passion, so it always returns. You have to find the good balance between those two. Luckily me and Kenneth are very open en clear to each other on what we need. Its always good to have 2 more eyes on a picture or project and 2 more hands for a camera to hold. I cannot see myself doing this all alone anymore. We both found our place in this ambition and track. We are 2 souls with the same dream now, sharing their lives together.
Kenneth: Its very interesting to combine two different views on 1 thing. Keep us more focused. I have my taste, Giel has his taste. We like the same but because we are two different people we keep or focus on different things. What we do have is we go through the same struggles. So if we have a sad day, we both have a sad day. Same for the happy days. We stay in the same pattern, so its not always easy to have a different eye on a situation.
YOU GUYS RECENTLY MOVED TO THE UNITED STATES, ANY NEWS COMING UP ?
Giel : Watch and see ;)
Kenneth : Who knows...