MEET VENI ETIAM PHOTOGRAPHY
How did you learn your craft?
I learned photography by doing and by being. I haven't always been a photographer. I was actually trained as a scientist with a PhD in neurolinguistics. My parents bought me my first digital camera as a "bon voyage" gift when I moved to Europe for my Master's. I experimented a lot with composition, before learning other technical aspects of photography on my own through books and online resources. I made it a point to carry my camera with me everywhere (before smartphones existed!) and took LOTS of pictures, not only of extraordinary travel sights but also very ordinary details in my daily life - hanging laundry, views from my window, the way the light changed in my living room, what my eyes saw on the way to the supermarket, how the seasons changed. Photography became my way of storytelling and freezing time. My lens taught me to look at my surroundings differently, even in my own hometown.
Your process? Do you think about all steps first, prepare a plan and execute it, or do you just improvise?
There are so many steps to my process, and I do love to work with a plan and end-goal in mind. That said, there is a lot of creativity that goes into it, straight from the heart, and that part relies a lot on my own feelings, my own mood, and where the wind takes me!
Let's say for example that I am going to launch a new collection of travel prints and wall art. I choose the destination, based on what is calling me (but I do listen carefully to the destinations that you ask me for, over and over again. Like Havana, you really begged for Havana, so I made it happen!).
Once my travel is booked, I have an idea of the types of shots I want and the places I absolutely want to visit. But, I leave lots of room for inspiration, because it is when we are truly inspired that the real magic happens, in ourselves and in what we ultimately create for others.
I take a ton of photographs when I travel; often, I photograph the same scene in a dozen different ways, because composition is really my favorite part of photography. I always make sure to look with my eyes first, and to FEEL something before I start pressing the shutter. That way, my photos capture a feeling and a mood, not just a pretty view. I also plan several hours of downtime where I go out without my camera. This helps me relax, form memories and get the feel of a place without trying to document it.
The task of sorting and editing the photos is the most daunting task for me. Because I take so many variations of the same scene, I spend HOURS comparing compositions and edits. This one, or this one? Or how about this one? #shootmenow. I always have some immediate favorites (I usually know which ones are my favorites right when I take the photo, but often some favorites really surprise me!). I create folders of "yesses", "maybes" and "no's" and further divide them into "yes for the shop" or "just for social media".
Once I have my contenders for the shop, I do print tests to check the composition, the color, the sharpness, especially in large sizes. I test on the different products in my line - paper, metal, acrylic, notebooks, coasters, etc. I give each photograph a title and a unique caption, both in English and French. Often, I sneak little messages or feelings in the caption, so I can remember what inspired me and hopefully also inspire you.
I then write 2 blog posts about the new collection: one about the trip itself, and one about the images that will make it into the new collection. I launch the collection to my VIPs on my newsletter first, offering them a first pick of limited editions and a generous discount. Then I launch it to everyone else!
Every collection therefore has a mix of planning, careful testing and a whole bunch of spontaneous inspiration!
Do you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert?
Oh, most definitely an introvert. I love meaningful connections with people, but I am not the most naturally sociable person. I'm a little shy and insecure about some things, and I also just love my own space, and making time for my own thoughts and feelings to surface.
If you could not be a maker what would you be doing?
The funny thing is, I have always wanted to do and be SO MANY THINGS. A scientist, an artist, a wine-maker, a farmer... but my deepest dream has always been to be a writer. So, underneath it all, no matter where life leads, I think I would be writing, still and always.
If you won the lottery would you still continue to make stuff and sell it?
Probably, because it comes from within. It's a creative outlet, a way of seeing the world, a way of connecting with you and inspiring you. None of that would change if I won the lottery!
What does retirement mean to you?
It's something I've been thinking a lot about over the last two years, because my way of living seems unconventional to so many in my close circle. I feel like I'm not the type to save experiences and interests for "retirement"; if something calls to me and I feel like trying it, I try it now, without waiting. I'm not irresponsible or anything, but I am a huge dreamer. And, if I acknowledge a dream in me, I have to pursue it, without putting it on hold.
If you had to choose your spirit animal, what would it be?
I have always profoundly loved horses and I feel extremely connected to them.
And your favorite fruit?
I love strawberries (but turn into one if I eat too many!), mangoes and pears.
About my shop
I create wall art and home accessories out of my international travel photography. My mission is to help you create a decor that reflects who you are, where you've been and where you dream of going. Your home - big or small, owned or rented - is your sanctuary and I want it to inspire you daily. My artwork is a celebration of places, details, feelings and colors. The collection is vast and versatile, so there is something for every kind of decor and every kind of dreamer. "Veni Etiam" is a Latin phrase meaning "return again". No place is ever the same - and neither are we - and that's the beauty of returning. I infuse all my creations with my passion for color, for stories and for that special way a place call pull on our heartstrings - even if we have never been!
Please visit https://www.veni-etiam-photography.com/ You will not believe your eyes. There are so many beautiful images and story tolds, it will leave you feeling elevated and nurtured.
Maker, owner, diy enthusiast, designer, artisan... Sofs is actively engaged in the pursuit of making it happen.