Interview with Esmee

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Who are you and why?

I am Esmee. Woman, writer and photographer, teacher, reader, Epicurean, in touch with her feelings, singer, watcher of cycling, optimist and dreamer. Why? Because of genes and evolution. Talents and shortcomings. Falling and dusting myself off again. Trial and error.

When I met you, many moons ago, you were a writer. In the last few years you have added photography and mixed media to your palette. How did this come about?

Writing, photography and mixed media are all inspired by the same need: to translate my internal dialog into the most fitting medium available. That medium can be words, but also an image.

As an 11-year-old I already kept a diary in which I drew and made photo collages, and I have been doing this ever since. So it’s not as much a new way of working for me, but it is new that I am sharing this with the world. Before, I just never thought this type of work was good enough to share.

Your work looks like it’s analog, is it really? Or is it digital?

It is both: for the analog part, I use my old analog camera and a Polaroid SX70. During a couple of years of my life I spent way too many hours in a dark room with stinky chemicals, which made me hate darkroom work. That’s why I cherish the luxury and ease of digital photography and Photoshop. I love the analog craft of other photographers, but I don’t like to do all the work involved myself.

There is a lot of symbolism in your work. Is that something you think of beforehand, or is that something that happens organically during the creation process? Or is it something you only realise afterwards?

It mainly happens beforehand. My creative process always begins with a feeling, a thought or an experience that preoccupies me. While thinking, writing or talking about it, I already connect these feelings, thoughts or experiences to metaphors or symbols. That’s apparently the way I process and experience things. I have developed my own symbol language throughout the years. I often hide symbols in visual layers that aren’t clearly visible. The viewer might not immediately recognise these symbols, but I do believe that it gives my work a deeper layer.

I am very impressed by your donkey series. Could you elaborate on how this series came about?

That’s nice to hear, thank you! I am fascinated by hidden stories. Every person has their own hidden stories and it’s exactly those stories that make a person interesting. They are often the “why” and thus the difference between anonimity and intimacy, between misunderstanding and understand. The donkey features in daily life stories, where nobody notices him. By photographing him I DO see him, and the story under the surface. I think the donkey series is probably my most idealistic work.

What do you want to achieve with Studio Polle, and who do you want to reach? What have you already achieved?

My work at Studio Polle is twofold: there’s my art and then there’s the development and teaching of courses on what I call authentic creativity. With my art I want to reach anybody who’s touched by it, in any way. My courses are meant for both private individuals and entrepreneurs who want to live and do business using their authentic creativity. So not by going by “shoulds” or by “this is just the way things have developed” or by “this is how others do it”, but by using creativity and a distinctive way of being that is in line with who you are, what you believe in and that makes you feel good.

What I have already achieved? Sometimes people tell me that they have been touched by my work. I also get to help private individuals and entrepreneurs with living and working from a place of authentic creativity. They often let me know that their lives have changed in a positive way after taking one of my courses, and that they keep using the knowledge they have learned. That makes me very happy. I think happyness is a great thing to achieve.

(Photo credit: Esmee)

Links:

Studio Polle (NL)
Studio Polle (EN)
Facebook
Instagram Esmee Aarbodem
Instagram Studio Polle

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Next week it’s time for another “Get out of the house!” See you all on Wednesday!