Lara Verheijden and Mark Stadman met a couple of years ago when Lara was looking for someone to sublet her room while she was traveling in Brazil. “We met through Facebook or mutual friends or something,” explains Lara on their unexpected friendship. When Mark got the room and hit it off with the other four housemates, the two became instant friends. He later moved in permanently when another room become available and the two creatives gradually started to collaborate in an unofficial but complimentary fashion.
Sharing “exactly the same tastes” to an uncanny degree, the duo both feel the same sensations of uncertainty when something is slightly off when no one else does. As Lara is a self-taught photographer and filmmaker while Mark, an autonomist artist, the Amsterdam-based creatives bonded over a shared love (and hate) for fashion as well as an interest in people, attraction and style. Collaborating on a number of fashion editorial campaigns early on in their partnership, as the duo have gradually become more established in the industry and in their own artistry, Lara and Mark now strive to be “as autonomous as can be.”
Recently published in Novembre magazine, Mark and Lara exemplify their creative ethos of never being satisfied with just shooting a beautiful person. Striving to bring out the idiosyncratic charm of each person, the photographers rely on their role as a cameraman as much as the composition in front of them. Photographed in the Czech Republic, the Novembre shoot manifests the duo’s aesthetic of “being in the moment” and “creating in a spontaneous way”, rather than forcefully directing their models to pose in a stiff or formal manner. “We tend to work with the same people over and over again and we try not to plan the shoot out beforehand,” Lara tells It’s Nice That.
“We work with extremely small teams, preferably without a stylist, without hair and make up artists, no extra opinions and no pressure,” she says on their freeing process. “We just pick a person and a place, maybe some of our own clothes or from our favourite designers and then we get going.” Now and again, Lara and Mark will add another model into the group of their favourite models but this is a delicate and meticulous process as the casting is a defining element of the photography duo’s work and the model needs to be able to “click” with the rest of the group. “Also, because our shorts are mostly unusual and intense, the model has to like this as well” adds Lara on their unorthodox approach to photography.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.