Malou Reedorf is an extremely talented and experienced photographer who was born into creativity. You could almost say that her life was written in the stars... that what she does was simply meant to be. She calls herself a fierceOrapher because she wants to inspire women to feel fierce... she wants every woman to know that they deserve feeling beautiful. Yet, she doesn't only inspire her subjects, she inspires other artists with her words and her experience. She teaches others, she judges work, and she wins prestigious titles simply because she is one of the best. If you are interested in learning more about her and in seeing more of her work, please keep on reading!
CONCEPTUAL MAGAZINE: Hello Malou! Thank you for letting us interview you and showcase your work in our latest issue! Let's get started right away! We want to dive head on into your life! Why don't you tell us about yourself. What is your name? Where are you from? Where do you live? How old are you? What do you do exactly? How did you get started? Did you go to art school?
Hi! I am Malou Reedorf! I am 26 years old; a young photographer, originally from Denmark but am now living in Italy. Despite of my relatively young age, I have won numerous titles and awards. I have two studios. One based in Italy, close to the fashion capitol Milan and the other right in the center of Denmark, in the fairy tale city Odense. These places are where I create fairy tales, fantasy, and fashion. Clients from all over Europe take part in the experience. They are able to get a very different product than what most portrait photographers offer.
I have always been a part of the professional photography scene. Both my parents and brother are photographers so it has always been a part of my world. Since birth, I have been with them to conferences and workshops. I have been a child model my whole life and after I grew up, I got behind the camera. After school, I used to work in my parents Photo Studio, whether it was taking pictures or editing them in Photoshop.
After growing up, I treated photography as being a tool to spend time with my parents. It was not until I got my education as a make-up artist that I really saw a future with photography, however. When I became a make-up artist, I saw a wonderful world unfold. I discovered that a picture could be more than just a picture – it could be art. In 2012, I started developing my personal style. I have been quite lucky because I have spent so much time in the photography world, so I knew what I liked and did not like. It is unusual for a photographer to find a personal style so early on. Finding my personal style so early meant that the professional photographic community recognised me.
I have had the honour of being the youngest “Danish Photographer of the Year”, the youngest photographer to receive “The Golden Camera” – European Photographer of the year & 3 times “Golden Award Winner” becoming a Danish Master in Photography and the youngest to be an European judge for international photography competitions all over Europe.
I realised something with all this recognition. If you know what you want and work hard to get it, you can be the best in your field. When I started in 2012, I never thought that I would be something special and definitely, not the best photographer in my country or in Europe at the age of 26. Now I know that the saying, “You can do and become everything you want in life” is true. Every single day I remind myself of this.
I also took a university bachelor degree in Biomedicine and am now attending the master program “Innovation Management”, which is how to manage start-up businesses. It is so important not just to be creative and an amazing photographer or artist, but it is important to also be a good businessperson.
CM: Yes, it is! That's incredible. You've got quite the resume under your belt! So, let's change subjects a little bit. Tell us about your Facebook Business Page profile image. It’s really interesting. It’s a great logo! Did you design it?
My logo means a great deal to me. It is based on one of my first pictures as a serious going-to-be fashion photographer. That picture and logo, that features a watermelon, is also the first picture that got me my European recognition in the professional community. With the picture that the logo is based on, I won my Golden camera and the title ”European Photographer of the Year” before 26. Basically, that is the picture I owe my success as a photographer and workshop creator to.
The logo itself is drawn by my incredible talented brother, Philip Rauff. He is one of my heroes and influenced me a lot when it comes to creativity. I asked him to draw me a logo based on that particular photo but also a logo that contains me as an artist. He, therefore, came up with the make-up brushes that look like wands because I create magic with my make-up. It also contains the feeling of being powerful, sassy, and bold. In the corners there are rays of light that of course resemble my studio flash but also the feeling of being in the spotlight.
CM: Now, before we ask any more questions... tell us about your awards. What are they? How many have you received?
In all humbleness, I stopped counting. If I have to guess, then from 2012 until now it must be between 15-20 Awards and Medals. The ones that meant the most to me are the most prestigious awards in European photography that went to me in 2014. I received three gold medals and "The Golden Camera" in the European competition for professional photographers. This comes on top of a qualification with a panel that was approved by the organisation (FEP, the Federation of European Photographers) standards "QEP" (Qualified European Photographer), who brought me in the top 400 photographers in Europe. In August 2014, I was accepted into the Professional Photographers of America's 2014 International Photographic Competition. As an extra honour, one of my Merited Images was selected for inclusion in the 2014 PPA Showcase Book. 2014 was a very good year for me. I also received the title ”Advertising Photographer of the Year” by Natural Density. Last year, I was also honoured with the title “Photographer of the Year – 2015” in my country.
Even though it is not an award, it is worth mentioning that for several years now, I have been on the national team for photographers competing at world level. For those who are not familiar with it, the competition is called World Photographic Cup. This is the official world championship in photography. In the professional world, this is considered Olympic level in photography. The countries select their best photographers to compete. It is a great honor to have been selected for this team and I am very proud to be a part of it.
CM: Congratulations in all this! You truly deserve all this success and more. So, we noticed that you have an eBook out! Can you tell us about it? And, what inspired you to write a book? Do you teach as well?
Yes, I have both an eBook version and a printed version out. I wrote the book after one of my workshops. I am very lucky to have done many workshops; they have been mostly in Europe. I often get the question, “how can you be so creative” or the statement, “it is easy for you, you are born creative”. I wrote this book to spread the word, not just to my workshop participants, but to all. Everybody can learn how to be creative. I am now working on my second edition filled with even more goodies. You can look at the book here: www.FierceOgraphy.com/shop
When I am not traveling to give workshops, I travel as a judge. After my Golden Camera, I have judged the Official Professional European Photo Competition and also the national competitions in the European countries.
CM: Let's get back to business… what inspired the style of photography you have now and how did you develop it? How do you describe it? What messages are you trying to convey? What do you want the viewer to see?
I love to combine the strong aesthetic of minimalistic Nordic design with an extravagant and colourful style. While working with photography as a medium, I have no limits on what is realistic. My working method is structured and sophisticated, taking individual elements and combining them together to form a synthesis. I take pride in having control over the entire process, from concept and planning of styling to photography editing. The concept is FierceOgraphy, also described as "Fashion Shoot for Individuals". I have moved away from the traditional photography and replaced it with wild makeup, designer dresses, and very specific photo editing. My style combines photography with my education as a creative make-up artist together with the university education as a rigorous Biomedicine scientist. The pictures that I create have roots in fashion photography with heavy avant-garde make-up and dreamy setups. It is important for me to tell my personal story in the pictures. Through light, composition and layout, the story becomes real. It is the passion for people and the human body that makes it "special through individuality". With the mood, shape and impact, out comes a great image with the client in focus.
My message is to all women. It is a message about accepting who you are, where you are from and realizing that you are beautiful –on the outside and the on the inside. I hope that when women look at my pictures they are empowered. At first glance, the women in my pictures can seem very sexy and provocative. In my opinion being sexy is not a problem, it shows that you are in control and not afraid to hide. Every woman has the right to be sexy without being a sex object. The words power, strength, confidence, and passion are essential in decoding my work.
CM: What inspires each piece or project? How do you get started? What is your workflow like? You seem to have many different photo projects going on?
Typically, my inspiration comes alive with a pen and paper much like they teach us at the university. I have a database of many different components that I collect when I see something interesting or different. It can be a person that I walk by on the street, it can be a smell or a piece of fabric, and it can of course be a picture. Often, my inspiration also starts by watching a music video or listening to Heavy Metal Music. I always plan everything in details before I shoot. I sit down with my database, a picture of the model and the photoshoot theme. This is how I kick start my inspiration. I choose some elements from my inspirational database and draw it in my notebook and then the rest of it just comes together. Usually, I also draw the make-up, the clothing and accessories, background plus the different props that I will be using for the shoot.
I have so many projects going on at the moment. It is crazy. However, it is so difficult not to get involved in projects. This is how I keep my passion going. There are a few photo projects and many book projects going on. The most important thing when having a ton of personal projects that might and might not give any money in the end is to realize that not every project will be finished within a short period of time. But that is completely okay!
CM: What other types of artists do you work with or collaborate if any?
I try to work with designers as much as possible. Working with designers gives you a fresh look and something original to work with. It also takes some of the work load of me, because else I would be the one designing and making the dresses. I work with writers on different book projects and also water color painters. I have a project with an artist that does water colors. She is making images inspired by pictures already done by me. This hopefully becomes an exhibition and a book.
CM: What is the most fun and least fun part of what you do?
The most fun part is having workshops around Europe and being able to judge competitions. I also enjoy having my mentoring programs where I give critique and feedback on pictures and portfolios. Having photo shoots is of course fun even though it is more everyday fun. The least fun part is the marketing I do behind my computer. It takes a lot of legwork and many emails to organize everything and to find new clients. I am now looking for an agent or assistant that can take this workload of me.
CM: What other artists are you influenced by and why, if any? Any other artists that you love?
Well, I would be lying if I did not say my parents. They have been such great teachers. My mother, Kitty Reedorf, has a very classic style, whereas my father, Ib Westersoe, (www.westersoe.dk) is a bit more experimental. I was able to experience the best of both worlds. Another photographer I highly admire is the Norwegian photographer Jens Haugen, (www.jhstudios.no) who has an amazing talent and also comes from a different background.
The world is changing, and it is not only just photographers, that are worth looking out for. Photoshoppers have become increasingly more relevant in the world of photography in this age of technology. Someone who inspires me on the Photoshop end is the Danish Photoshopper Jimmy Machon (www.machon.dk). He creates incredible imaginary compositions that you can look at for hours and always discover new things.
Another big inspiration is Brooke Shaden from USA (www.brookeshaden.com). I enjoy her work and greatly respect the way that she is branding her name and making it possible to live off her passion, forming it into a career.
There are so many amazing photographers out there and I get inspired every day just looking through Facebook, where I follow any great photographers.
CM: What projects have you done or accomplished that make you feel proud of yourself? Is there any special project on the works? Can you tell us about it if so?
Well, it is, of course, always a satisfactory feeling when you finish a book and your peers enjoy it. Also being awarded so many amazing titles is important for me and makes me very proud. It is also a huge thing in such a young age, to be able to judge competitions. Especially, on the European level.
There is, in the professional world of photography, a qualification system that you can take now that being a photographer is not a protected title. This means that you can take up to 3 levels; that makes it possible to compare you to other professional photographers in Europe. I currently have the first two titles which is ”European Photographer” and "Qualified European Photographer”. It is always an amazing journey to take these levels. You do not compete with other photographers, you compete with yourself. The task is to make a series of 20 pictures.
I have three great projects at the moment. One is to get the last title in the qualification, laver, which makes me one of the top photographers in Europe. The second is making an European tour alone with my good and extremely talented colleague, Jimmy Machon. He is a Photoshop Expert. We are at the moment collecting bookings for workshops in creative pre and post processing. If you want us to pass by your town, feel free to let me know on Malou@reedorf.com.
The third and biggest project I have going on at the moment is developing a concept that I call FierceOgraphy.re and post processing.
My work with FierceOgraphy is a combination of how I want the world to be and my goal to show that every woman can be a model. I can see beauty in everything and I take that beauty and show it to the rest of the world through my pictures.
FierceOgraphy is a concept that connects the fashion industry with portrait photography. As a normal individual, you do not have access to fashion photographers, designers and high fashion make-up artists. As it is today, this world is only for models not for normal people. With FierceOgraphy you can become a model for a day. You can have a picture of yourself like what you see in Vogue. FierceOgraphers are not just photographers that take a picture of you and call it “model for a day”. FierceOgraphers are educated in using the same techniques as the high-end fashion photographers. A FierceOgraphy shoot contains the whole experience. A high-end fashion photographer, styling, and designer clothes. The best thing with FierceOgraphy is that it does not cost a fortune. It is not as expensive as the big commercial fashion shoots, but the result will be the same. The only difference is that you are in centrum. FierceOgraphy are also used as a form for therapy. I have had many girls and women that just needed to see the beauty and the strength in them. FierceOgraphy brings out the inner and outer beauty and it gives them the power and strength that they might have lost. This is an experience that they can take with them home and think of when they need. If they need extra proof that they are beautiful and strong women, then they can simply be reminded by looking at the picture. All of my pictures are FierceOgraphy pictures. No professional models were used.
This concept will, in the end, be available for photographers both on professional and hobby level. It will be possible to be a member and receive training in executing the concept. As a member, you will get the FierceOmag where, you also will be able to submit your work and share your experience as a FierceOgrapher. There will be competitions and a lot of great tutorials and articles for you to read to maximize your potential as a conceptual FierceOgrapher.
CM: Do you have an ideal viewer of your work? Is it important to you that people understand your work?
It is not so important for me that people understand my work, but more that people have an opinion about it – good or bad. However, I think I would be lying if I did not admit that my self understanding is based on how people react on my work. It is (unfortunately) necessary that people feel that my work gives them something and that it is something they would like to be a part of. As a professional photographer and workshop creator, I am required to make something that people want to support.
CM: What role does the artist have in society?
I think it is the artist;s responsibility to show people how the world is or how it could be. As an artist, you work with a media that is interesting to people. Therefore, you have an amazing gift to not just entertain and provoke but also educate. You can also relate to people and help them with difficult parts of their lives. An artist have the power to tell stories and tell the viewer that they are not alone.
CM: Is there a “real-life” situation that inspired you or your work?
Well, most of my work is based on experiences, feelings, thoughts and moods that I have had throughout my life. I am certain that, as an artist, you can help but putting a little of your soul, and there by your past, present or future, into your work.
CM: What is a day in the life of Malou Reedorf, Makeup Artist and Photographer like?
Being self-employed means doing a little bit of everything. I start the morning with my morning coffee, of course, and a little mind game to kick start my inspiration. Most mornings I also squeeze in some yoga. I look at the shoot that I am doing that day and plan for the shoots I have coming up along with searching the internet for new inspiring things. Then, I do some household chores and spends some time with my cat and in my rose garden. After that, I work on one of my many projects. I spend half an hour daydreaming before making dinner for my little family consisting of my boyfriend and cat.
CM: What are you working on now?
Well, photography is a big part of my life. When I do not take pictures of costumers, I do personal photo projects. I am also travelling quite a bit to give lectures and workshop for professional photographers all over Europe. Besides that I just started writing books. I Finished a book about “Creating Creativity” (FierceOgraphy.com/shop). Now, I am writing on several new books. I am writing: “Little blonde stranger - a Vikings tale from Italy”, which is about my experiences moving from Denmark to Italy, I am working on a comprehensive book about doing makeup called “It is just basic” and one a bit off topic: “Artemis the Adventure Cat – How to take your cat hiking”. I love the mountains and I love to go hiking. I take my cat hiking everywhere I go, and I want to share this experience with other cat lovers and, hopefully, give them some inspiration to take their own cat hiking. I, also, recently started a Christmas tree farm in USA.
CM: What are your plans for the future? Where do you want to go from here? What’s next? What’s your dream project?
I am dreaming of doing a master degree in Innovation Management and doing an European Tour with workshops in FierceOgraphy for professional and hobby photographers. I want to start a crowdfunding campaign to really spread the word about FierceOgraphy, so other photographers can become a part of it and offer this to their clients.
My future plan regarding photography is to spread the word about FierceOgraphy and the fact that all women deserve to have the fashion shoot experience and look like a high end model in pictures. I also have a few books coming out next year with my illustrations, which can be found on my website shop (http://www.reedorf.com/shop/). I am also looking forward to traveling more in the upcoming years to judge competitions and create workshops. I find it very inspiring to have the honor to comment on the work of my colleagues and see how the styles change from country to country. And there are of course always more fun projects on the way!
CM: Is there anything else that you would like your fan and our viewers to know?
There goes quite a lot of time into each picture. Nothing is left to chances. Before the models come, I design the make-up according to the models face. Then, I make a sketch of the styling with clothes. I have a lot of dresses and props. If I do not feel that I have the right outfit for the shoot, I design it and make it myself or borrow from my fashion designer collaborators. Then, I find the perfect location of background for the studio. All this means that when the model comes, we do not have to spend time on preparing. When the shoot is started, it is a collaboration between the model and me. Afterwards, I spend some time with post processing in Photoshop and the final picture is made.
Well, I design a lot of dresses and accessories for my shoots. I also have the honour to travel a lot for different workshops that I organize. Not only that, I even act as a judge for national and European photo competitions. Another mission of mine is to learn Italian. I moved from Denmark to Italy last year and therefore have the pleasure to learn Italian intensively, which is necessary to make it as a photographer here. To completely relax and not think about work, I enjoy taking trips on my motorbike, practicing martial arts, hiking with my cat in the mountains or simply be a house wife at home cooking and canning jam or fooling around in my rose garden.
CM: What’s your biggest piece of advice to artists who are just starting out their journey?
Make sure to be faithful to your passion and never lose hope and always keep evolving!