1. What drove you to pursue photography?

I started taking pictures while I was in acting school in New York, sometime around 2000. It took me quite some more time to break into the business-in my case streetstyle was a helpful starting point. I’ve been working for about ten years now.

2. Why did you choose the fashion industry as your specialty?

I’m not sure if I chose it consciously-it sort of happened. I was always fascinated by how clothes could transform a woman and by the beauty of fabrics, colors and shapes. I still get very excited about fashion, and that’s what it’s all about…being excited I mean.

3. What steps did you take to break into the fashion industry?

While I lived in New York I took a couple of internships with photographers and agencies. I also did some test shoots while there. I only broke into the business though when I moved back to Europe. I worked as a photo editor for a few years, which was important in building up a budget for my equipment and travels. I started traveling to the fashion shows and from there it slowly built.

5. What differentiates you from other photographers in the industry?

I think I have a pretty organic approach when I shoot. It’s important for me to let things develop on a shoot and to really work with the personality in front of the lens and to keep space for discovery within the location. I’m not someone who wants to force a character on someone. I’m rather looking for authenticity. I also get feedback that there is a difference when shooting with a woman, so that is also a point of differentiation. It is not something I see as good or bad, but as a woman I have a sensitivity to understanding how a woman wants to be seen, which can be an advantage.

6. Do you have any role models that helped you find your artistic style as a photographer ?

In streetstyle it was Tommy Ton and Garance Doré. Early on it was more the iconic photographers like Lindbergh, Steven Meisel, and Mario Testino. Now, I love the work of Alexander Saladrigas and Alasdair McLellan. At this point I try not to get influenced too much by anyone, but rather to look for inspiration outside of fashion photography. It can be art, nature, travels, or a photo festival like Arles.

7. Do you wish to pursue other forms of art besides photography?

I recently discovered painting. I actually had a very small exhibition earlier in the year. It’s a completely different way of working and very meditative, I really hope I will find more time to dedicate to it. On a side note, I don’t consider most of my photography art, but rather creative work.

8. What are some of the most interesting projects you have worked on ?

There have been many interesting encounters, mostly when I was able to portray someone in their home and get to know them a little. One memorable job was last year when I traveled to Senegal, on Ile de Gorée. It was a commercial job but I ended up doing some documentary photography on school children and and women that were sewing in an artistic collaboration with a French brand. It was such a different world and the most impressive and memorable experience.

9.  I noted you also work on the subject of travel. Does travel or fashion photography interest you more?

Since I travel so much, it came naturally to take photos on the road. I especially fell in love with shooting landscapes, though, since it is a calming contrast to fashion. I don’t really want to choose-I think it’s fun to be able to do different things.

10. Where is the next place you would like to travel to?

I would love to discover South America. It’s a part of the world I have never visited. Another spot I love is Sicily, a place of passion I’ve been traveling to for years. My next vacation is set for Sicily.

11. What are your long-term goals as an artist/photographer?

I already feel pretty lucky in the state my career is in right now, so I would say to continue and to have additional truly creative collaborations. Other goals are to work with fascinating women, brands I admire, interesting art directors, and in new locations. Maybe to develop the studio a bit more. And lastly to continue painting.

Paris Haute Couture summer 2019
Paris Haute Couture summer 2019
London Fashionweek FW 2019
Paris SS2019 Fashionweek
London Fashionweek FW 2019
New York Fashionweek FW 2019

Visit Sandra’s work at sandrasemburg.com or follow her on instagram @sandrasemburg