Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m Sarah, freelance photographer from Antwerp. I graduated as a graphic designer and spend some years working in the graphic department of a small business. I already knew when I graduated that I wasn’t meant to be a graphic designer and working as one, made it even more clear. So I decided to become the ‘thing’ I always wanted to be: a photographer. I specialized in portrait and reportage photography. In my personal work I tend to focus on social and environmental issues prevalent in today’s society.
What would you consider your distinctive achievement?
I would say: the moment I decided I was going to do what I wanted to do. No excuses and no thinking what other people would say. It’s a cliché but I refuse to let the fear of failing control me.
From that moment things started to shift. People started noticing what I was doing and I got some opportunities I never thought I would have gotten. For example I started photographing for Charlie Magazine, an on-line magazine that focuses on real stories and realistic role-models. Being part of a group of people that want to make a change and inspire people to think differently is something I cherish.
Also, currently I am one of the artists showed at One Armed Man. This is an art expo featuring 50 artists, held in a beautiful location in Antwerp. Seeing my photo’s hanging between the other artists made me very proud.
What are you looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to all the new adventures I am going to have. I am very curious and as a photographer I am able to go to places not everyone can go. My camera is a shield on the one hand and my access into other peoples lives on the other.
I also look forward to starting (and finishing) all the new projects I have in my head.
Which advise will you give to other (cultural) professionals?
I see myself growing constantly. Learning new things and fine-tuning my own style. This happens with ups and downs. When things don’t work out as you expected it’s crucial to take a short while to think about why this happened, learn from it, let it go and then just try again.
For me as a starting photographer it is important to practice and create work that fits my portfolio. It’s not always easy finding a balance between commercial work and developing your practice. The commercial work pays the bills but it’s not always the work you want to show.
That’s why I believe it is important to make time for personal projects. Make the things you want to show the world, tell the stories that are important to you.
What are the challenges that we need to overcome to make cultural entrepreneurship more accessible?
For me a cultural entrepreneur wants to, by their work and actions, transform the way people think. Give people a different way of looking at things outside the framework of the dominant ideology and while doing all that, at the same time being financially healthy.
To make cultural entrepreneurship more accessible I think it is important to create a network where we can learn from our peers. See how they find the balance between their artistic visions and all the things that are excepted of you when you are an entrepreneur.