Well I am feeling very pleased with myself today. And that is because I get to welcome on board our brand new columnist, the Art Buyer, (and I might add one time Bond Movie prop stylist !), Sophie Hector, who has been commissioning photography and illustration for the best part of two decades.
In her first column for the site Sophie meets up with still life photographer Beate Sonnenberg and takes us through the wonderful world of Beate’s photography, from her time assisting fashion photographer Javier Vallhonrat, her six year stint in Mexico, the beautiful Secret Garden series she has printed onto silk scarves and her most recent project with Havas Paris which took her all the way to Arles Photo Festival.
After a few years I felt it was time to move on to more creative explorations. A scholarship then allowed me to study photography at the Bournemouth College of Art & Design. During this time I had the great honour to intern with fashion photographer Javier Vallhonrat. It was an exquisite experience to see up close what a master of light he is and how he creates a magical feeling in his images. Then life took me to Mexico. A good friend had introduced me to Mexico while studying in Bournemouth. I thought it would be a good experience for a year before trying my luck in London. One year became six...!
I set myself up as an advertising photographer. Due to the nature of the industry, I was forced to broaden my professional horizons and step out of a purely still-life approach, to work within different photography disciplines like fashion, portrait and food. It strengthened my confidence and helped me to trust my intuition.
My first shoot was a fashion shoot on location for Vogue Mexico. Totally out of my comfort zone but a great success! These kind of experiences have made me more comfortable with being experimental… Also the presence of all the amazing bright colours inspired me a lot, maybe this comes through in some of my work.
Living in Mexico, experiencing their culture and temperament had a huge influence on me and is reflected in all aspects of me and my work. Here is also were I met my husband Roberto Rubalcava also a photographer - a wonderful photographer!
I am very fascinated with the still-live work of Irving Penn. In particular I like the personal work he produced in his later years, for me the strength of it is the simplicity, wit and edginess. This work keeps inspiring me to keep exploring and to use simple materials. I am deeply touched by William Eggleston images, with the cinematic quality to the seemingly mundane subjects. I admire his determination and focus on ordinary people and their landscapes, structures, and other materials.
It was an absolute pleasure for me to execute the four images with complete creative freedom. And a good challenge because it was important to create a link between the brand and the content of each book's story.