New Talent… Latoya der van Meeren
Photographer / PR Manager at 180 Amsterdam
LBB> New talent is about just that… New talent, which means not a lot of people know you and your work, can you tell us about who you are and what you do?
LVDM> I am Latoya van der Meeren. I get to be 27 years old for about another month or so. I take analogue pictures of beautiful moments and (often naked) woman; sometimes men. I work at 180 Amsterdam where I am the Communications Manager and one of the few Dutchies. I am really clumsy and I live to love.
LBB> Your full time job is as Communications Manager at 180 Amsterdam, but you are a very gifted new photographer. How do you combine these two personalities and what do they bring to one another?
LVDM> The trick is not to think about how to do it and just do it. Do you know those stories that begin with 'during the day she is a librarian but at night...’? I’m kind of like that, I think - except for the ‘librarian’ part. I like being busy; if I am not my mind will go mad.
LBB>Your photography is very reminiscent of fashion photographers Corinne Day and Jurgen Teller… but there is a deeper resonance within the images that you take. Talk to us about your influences?
LVDM> My influence is simple: Love. I only photograph those people or moments that grab me. I only take one image of a moment. It is the feeling that counts, not the perfection. My biggest influences are my loved ones, my friends, like Anna Dijkman, the girl you often see in my pictures. She is a true artist and an amazing person. And I never use the word amazing.
LBB> The subjects of your photographs...how do you find them and what inspires the location and narrative within your shoots?
LVDM> I am not interested in just beautiful people; I wouldn’t know what to do with a gorgeous model that I have never met before in front of my camera. I choose my ‘subjects’ and locations carefully. I build a relationship with them. This form of intimacy shows in the pictures. It is what makes it ‘my’ picture.
LBB> You are featured within ‘New Dutch Photography Talent’ 2012, which launches tonight at the WeAreVoid Gallery in Amsterdam. The catalogue showcases up and coming photographic talent and is an opportunity to bring attention to your work. What was it like to be told you’ve been selected and if you had a dream, what would happen next as a result of your inclusion?
LVDM> I still can’t really believe it. I feel proud to see my work alongside all the other work of photographers that I adore. It is kind of surreal. So what would happen next? I have an idea for a shoot, if that goes well I’d love to have an exhibition somewhere other than Amsterdam. Paris would be epic, or London, or NY, but now I’m getting carried away.
LBB > Your full-time role at one of the hottest advertising agencies in the world must be inspiring. What does the work that the agency creates bring to you and your working practice as a photographer and what does 180 Amsterdam think of your images?
LVDM> It is a great agency to work for. There are so many young, international bright minds to work with and learn from. As for my photography, I don’t think a lot of them know yet. Al Moseley, our Creative Director knows, he even gave me his LOMO LC+A Camera to shoot with. I thought that was a pretty big compliment.
LBB> When did you start taking photos and what is it about photography that you love?
LVDM> I started about a year and a half ago, just to set my mind at ease. I often think in images and sometimes that can really clutter my brain. Then I just started transforming those brain images into real ones and loved it more and more as I went along. Now I can’t image not doing it. I carry my camera(s) with me wherever I go. I only shoot analogue because I love the results you get. I love that it takes time and patience to develop. And those moments when you see a photo for the first time; they always give me butterflies.
LBB> Do you enjoy your role as a PR Manager? What is it about the job that you love?
LVDM> I really enjoy it. Before working in PR/Communications I worked as an event producer. That experience is very helpful in this role. I get a kick out of getting things done; getting the most out of anything. This job allows me to get that kick on a daily basis.
LBB> What does the next 12 months hold for you?
LVDM> I honestly don’t know. I am planning a road-trip with a few friends, some rolls of film, a mini-van and a lot of skinny-dipping. Maybe this will get me another exhibition, maybe abroad, maybe it will get published. Also, I am looking forward to work on some very exciting new 180 campaigns that will launch this year... Maybe I’ll finally get a puppy... 12 months. I hope they will surprise me - It is exiting not to know.