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Life Mimicking Art | Portrait Photographer Shoots In The Way Of Master Baroque Painters

By Kishore Sawh on February 2nd 2018

The charted path of photographers can be, at times, a little predictable, and that’s not a bad thing either. Most of us follow an arc which is similar, and also enjoyable to watch and see someone progress. First comes fascination, then struggle for execution, then there’s learning to repeat at will, and then comes a plateau of boredom – a boredom that breeds creativity. It’s then, I believe, many of us begin to create our best body of work, and work truer to who we are.

Somewhat in that vein we have Gemmy Woud-Binnendijk and her Fine Art Portraits that look less like they shot on a D850 and more as if they were pulled from the Baroque section of the National Gallery in London.

A true creative ‘lifer’, Gemma originally expressed via painting and crafts, but an unexpected health intervention forced a departure from that, and in place of a brush came a camera. But going back to the arc mentioned above, after shooting weddings, zoos, and newborns and all the usual work, satisfaction waned in comparison to her paintings, and somewhat serendipitously a Facebook Ad for a fine art photography workshop with strobes lured her in. Out of that interest further workshops (and she credits Pratik Naik and Renee Robyn) provided the pieces necessary for her photography to fall into place. Out of that was born the work you see here.

Without her saying so, it’s obvious to anyone with an art history background that her work is heavily inspired by the Baroque movement, which spanned nearly two centuries, and typically characterized and defined by names like Caravaggio, Vermeer, Poussin and Rembrandt. One can argue her images don’t so much encapsulate the time as return to it.

The movement was known for distinct and defined lighting, very rich decoration, and rather dynamic composition, with the only facet her images seem to depart from is a sense of actual ‘dynamism’ of movement. To be a bit nerdily indulgent, that suggests her work is almost a bit more Italian Renaissance / Baroque.

What is perhaps so intriguing is just how well Gemmy manages to execute this look, because the idea isn’t novel; many before her have tried, but arguably most haven’t succeeded in the way she has. The images show true knowledge of the type, and real planning, and that planning and pay off has led Nikon to her door, as she is now a brand ambassador for them. So what is her gear? See below:

Gear List

Nikon D850
Nikkor 1.4 / 105mm
Nikkor 2.8 24-70mm
Nikkor 28mm 1.4
Profoto: D2 & B1
Capture One

You can see some more of her work below, and definitely check out her site and her Instagram.

Credits: All photographs are copyrighted and have been used with permission by Gemmy Woud-Binnendijk for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the photographer.


A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

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