ROTTERDAM – To kick-off the release of our March/April issue, we’ll be posting five days of web-exclusive content. Here, Floor Knaapen gives us an exclusive look behind the scenes of her photography for our Sabine Marcelis feature in St-W #115. Key aspects of the Amsterdammer’s work are surprise and storytelling, which she put into practice while working with designer Sabine Marcelis.
Your website reads: Floor Knaapen Viewtography. Can you describe what you mean by 'viewtography' and how your work relates to it?
It's an umbrella name I invented to describe my work portfolio, which consists of a wide range of projects. I didn’t want to be placed in a box, and put too much focus on one discipline. Styling, curating, creative direction, photography: it’s all part of what I do. But ultimately, I’m always working on creating an image, and telling a trend or story through the image.
You have a background in design. How does your training as a designer help you during shoots with creatives like Sabine Marcelis?
I studied at the Design Academy Eindhoven, but my department – called Identity – focused more on trends, not purely on product design. We learned to give identity to spaces, brands and products, but also to photography series, by focusing more materials, colours and atmosphere. It taught me to view the work of designers more contemplatively. It helps me to find connections, trends, moods and currents in the designers' works. I have always tried to stay in close contact with designers. They keep me informed and help me to stay on top of new developments. I love to bring together different designs and, by doing so, create a visual story.
How did you prepare for the shoot with Sabine Marcelis?
I started by creating an overview of the products and material samples we wanted to include in the shoot. It’s almost like creating moodboards; it gives me a good feeling of the work itself. Luckily, I’m very familiar with the work of Marcelis, so I instantly had an image of what the series should communicate. I have included her work in some of my previous shoots and exhibition designs, so I also knew how fragile and heavy some of them are – something you need to consider when coming up with a concept. It’s about the total image for me, so I not only think about the items, but the overall styling, which includes clothing too. When creating a series, like this one, it’s also important to avoid repetition, while still creating a ‘family’ of images.
How did the work of Marcelis influence your photography series?
To me, her work really represents the design of today. The material and colour combinations she uses feel very new, very special, unlike anything I have seen before. That attracts me and I tried to translate and enhance that feeling through my photography. Personally, I have a preference for minimalistic, graphic images and I think that is something Sabine is also looking for in her work. During the shoot we were improvising and brainstorming how to best combine the materials, products and location. We complement each other well.
The finished product. This was the photo we chose for Sabine Marcelis's portrait in the print magazine.
Check out the Sabine Marcelis interview with photography by Floor Knaapen in