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June 10, 2016

A chat with Frieke Janssens

In April we have launched a new communication theme inspired by those of us who are very sensitive to light. We took this opportunity to shoot new campaign images, as Modular often did in the past (as you can see in our brand movie or on our Pinterest account). This time we worked together with one of Belgium’s most talented photographers: Frieke Janssens. Let’s meet her and find out what she thinks about light and our new theme.

Artists, (interior) designers and architects are all people who work with light very consciously, but there are others who are even more aware of light’s power. Albinos and night butterflies, for instance, sense light before they have even seen it. These people and animals are a great source of inspiration for Modular. That’s why we would like to put them into the spotlights. Figuratively of course!

Shooting new campaign images is not something to be taken lightly. You want to work together with a team of professionals and make sure the images show and tell everything you want them to, regarding mood, atmosphere, brand, products etc. Frieke Janssens and her team are said professionals. She's born in Bruges and mostly known to be a non-conformist photographer who likes to incorporate humor and surrealism into her work. This is why she fits the Modular profile. You might have seen her work before, since she has done some striking and controversial projects, like this series of photographs about smoking kids.  

 

Modular (M): We can imagine that light is key for a photographer as yourself. Can u describe what light means to you?

Frieke (F): To me, light is the very essence of photography. This goes for the 19th century Daguerreotypes (the first publically used photographic process), as for the digital camera’s we use today.

Together with the concept and subject of the photograph, light is the most important element of a great picture. Even if the image isn’t 100% sharp, light can make up for it and save your picture. This also works the other way around: a perfectly sharp image doesn’t work without good lighting…

One can play with lighting. It can help you express a feeling or vision. That’s why I sometimes see myself as a manipulator of light. You could say that I knead the light in such a way that it fits the concept and subject of the shoot. This often is the hardest part of the job. Once the light is taken care of, it’s only a matter of guiding the model and pressing the shutter button.

 

M: What’s your favorite type of lighting?

F: That depends. I used to prefer flashlight, which tends to ‘freeze’ the subject. The thing is that you can’t hide the use of this kind of lighting. You immediately feel it when a picture was taken with flash lighting. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing by the way, but every different type of light evokes another feeling.

Today I tend to work more with continuous light or a combination of daylight and flashlight. It feels different and looks more cinematic. I believe my recent work as a moviedirector has taught me how to work with continuous lighting, which needs a completely different approach.

 

M: How did you encorporate ‘sensitivity to light’ into the new campaign images for Modular? Did you pay extra attention to something in particular?

The concept was very clear from the start. We would work with albino models and animals, so I wanted to make sure that there was a clear contrast between them and the dark setting. This would make the models and animals ‘pop out’. Afterwords, we edited the images a bit, so that the paleness of the models was highlighted even more.

I think that the images display the right mood and atmosphere. Everything fits: the poses and looks of the models, or the way they face the camera all contribute to this. The animals and models really connect. The relation between albino man and –animal is what sets the right mood in these images. 

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