Tucked in the english countryside just outside of London, photographer Renee Kemps sets a tranquil scene inside an idyllic old cottage. Below, we chat with her about work, her background in photography and where she draws inspiration.
Where are you originally from? How did you end up living and working in London?
I'm originally from The Netherlands. After graduating from University I moved to Tokyo, Japan to give my photography career a go (in the most naive and experimental way possible). After some months there I moved to London as that was the city in Europe/close to home with the most opportunities for my job at the time. I stayed for a year and left yet again for Amsterdam (a few years), then Copenhagen, and ended up moving to London again last January, for work and to finally, after many years of long distance, live together with my boyfriend.
Has photography always been your career? If not, what did you do before?
Photography has always been my career. I always loved it but never did anything with it but take photos of whatever I had around me. I studied literature and during those years, I really got more interested and was spending all my free time learning, practising, documenting. I ended up being invited to New York City in my second year of University for an award ceremony and ended up winning the award for best photography. It felt unreal but also really pushed me to explore my options and think about what I wanted to do. After graduating I decided to give it a go and see what I could get from it, and it's been 5 years now since I did.
What are your favorite types of shoots and why?
I love interior and architecture shoots that are someone's home, a single project, a house made only with materials from the area that it is located in. It's those unique properties and places that tell stories and open my eyes to all kinds of things I normally wouldn't know of or see.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from travels and relationships. I love traveling and seeing and experiencing places so different to mine, as well as connecting to people who tell stories that I can learn from, get to have a little taste of, or can be part of with for instance my photography. There's so much inspiration online, too, of course. But for me the real life connection and experience will always be most special.
You recently worked on a shoot for us at Notary. Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration for this shoot? And what it was like shooting at that darling cottage in the english countryside?
I have been a huge admirer of your/Sarah's work for a long time. Every time I saw images coming by on Instagram I kept imagining the products in different interior settings. With the corona situation and being so locked up at home it became even more clear to me that it was all about connections. I focused a lot on who I want to work with and what I want to offer myself. I reached out and immediately had such a great connection with Sarah, talking about all things life and ideas for working together. We quickly ended up agreeing that an English cottage would be such a dreamy location for a shoot, and I had just the perfect one saved. The inspiration was mostly letting the items and the location come together very naturally and focus on how it would look to peek into that little home on a normal day and see the items where they would be. It all came together beautifully.