Isolde Woudstra (b.1982) is a photographer based in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Her work is known to capture the wonderful strangeness of our lives in this world. Her personal work shows people, places and objects in an amplified manner in comparison to reality so that they look staged, humorous, and contrasting. Her work in music, fashion, and portrait photography is clean, thoughtful, and exhilarating.
About : I was born in Friesland, a countryside province in the north of the Netherlands. During my teenage years I was always taking photos of my friends and bands playing at the local bars. In 2001, I moved to Utrecht to study documentary photography at the HKU. One of my teachers there was Viviane Sassen, and I soon realized my interests in photography went beyond the strictly documentary approach of the academy. I started doing collaborations with students of the fashion department and in my spare time I was making work that was more autonomous at heart than my teachers deemed appropriate for a study in ‘documentary photography’.
It’s the fragile balance between the sincerity of documentary photography and my urge to stage scenes that makes up my photography today. I graduated in 2007 with a documentary on people living with depression and suicidal thoughts. One of my first commissioned jobs after graduation was to do portraits of a band for Glamcult magazine, something I very much enjoyed after having spent a full year working on a rather heavy subject. Soon after that I started working for Subbacultcha, a music magazine I still regularly shoot portraits for. I’m working on personal projects next to my commissioned fashion and portrait photography whenever time allows.
Statement, etc.: I’m trying to capture moments when everything looks very natural but also confusing at the same time, to create images that seem just as possible as unlikely. It’s the effortless oddness of these personal moments that I’m looking for. When shooting I like to keep things as simple as possible… to just focus on the person in front of my camera and the image we’re going to make together. I usually stay away from complicated lighting set ups and I mostly use a small analogue rangefinder camera. It’s less intimidating, makes me very flexible and doesn’t create as much of a barrier as chunky SLRs do. I simply love the quality of film photography, it’s costing me a fortune to keep working this way but there’s just something about a print (or scan) from a negative that digital doesn’t give you.