Erwin Olaf Discusses Vogue Netherlands Shoot
Erwin Olaf photographed Ymre Stiekema for "The Master & The Girl," a beauty editorial in Vogue Netherlands' October issue.
"The central theme was Dutch paintings," said Olaf. "Ymre has a classic Dutch face and we dressed her in traditional-like clothing that would have been worn by fishermen's and farmers' wives in the south of Holland. We focused on skin and reflections, from matte to shiny visages." He and stylist Marije Goekoop put in modern elements, including an oversize knit hat and gleaming headphones. "We wanted to combine the past and present, because otherwise we're simply imitating the past and that's not an option [for me]," Olaf explained.
One photo in particular caught the eyes of fashion bloggers: an image of Stiekema breastfeeding her now-nine-month-old daughter, Lymée. "It's so funny ... why should we talk a lot about this incredible, natural thing?" Olaf remarked, adding Goekoop asked for a portrait of the pair. "It's always tricky because, before you know it, it starts to look too kitschy – eliciting responses like, 'Aww, how sweet!' – and that is not what you want to achieve when you make this type of shoot."
Both Olaf and Goekoop noticed Stiekema nursing on set and he approached the model about capturing the moment on film. "She said yes, of course – she's very easygoing," the photographer noted. "I think it's a beautiful portrait. What I like is Ymre's facial expression and how she's holding her baby's hand. It's such a vulnerable gesture that's unique to mothers and their children."
Stylist: Marije Goekoop
Hair: Jean-Luc Amarin
Makeup: Kathinka Gernant
Model: Ymre Stiekema