Begin with Anrike Piel
How did your journey begin?
The journey began from my curiosity of Self. Growing up I was always the rather quiet one, didn’t have many friends, followed everyone elses steps, mildly bullied at school, until I found this camera my mom had bought with a screen you can turn around. Around 11 years old, I started taking self portraits, coloring my face, exploring different makeups, sewing dresses. I am very grateful that I found a way to express myself so early on, as most of the times, no words can explain my inner world. Since then I have nurtured this side of my soul, that keeps me sane, motivated, courageous.
How would you describe your work and yourself ?
My work is I. In life we keep going through cycles - we’re happy, we’re sad, we’re anxious, we’re motivated, we’re depressed.. Different stages stimulate emotions. In my work I can see the stages I’ve been in and myself in the eyes of the subjects I’ve photographed. I’m a highly sensitive type of human I have realized, most of my inspiration comes from Love. Either it’s lack of it or the opposite. Life has taught me to learn from every experience, the good and bad, so often analyzing these paragraphs of my journey is what inspires me. The conclusions of the challenges faced.
What's the best advice you have received that you would happily share with others?
Oh there’s so many.. My mom has always said ‘’You’re the architect of your own happiness’’ which has kept me grounded and held the understanding that for me to accomplish anything, it’s I who has to work hard and make the decisions, following my intuition and the Omens. My portfolio wise, the best comment I got from an italian photographer Jacopo Manfren, whom I assisted in LA, when flipping the pages of the book ‘’I hate, I hate, I hate..’’(with a heavy italian accent) there was perhaps two ‘’ Ooooooooh I love’’s. He taught me more than I could have asked for.
Who is the most inspiring person in your life and what lesson he/she taught you?
It’s my mom. My hero. She has been a great example for me and not even understanding that I’ve been learning with her, from her blessings and lessons. Every decision she has made has always been out of the love she has for her kids. Watching her I saw that I can be whoever I want to be and life can be changed if I decide so. She keeps telling me how impressed she is of how couragous i am with my travels and projects, that she could never do anything like that.. I feel like I’m an extension of her.
What are the responsibilities of a professional photographer nowadays that we are surroundedby images?
Picture wise, I’m quite selective with the imagery I really care about, but I respect any photographers work who care for their own work with heart and soul. Photographers should be more involved with the reality and issues we face in the world. I understand everyone is their own person, they have their own ways on dealing with different situations but we are desperate for kindness and love in this world. We all know stories of photographers either being racists, rapists, narcissists, treating the team members and especially models like garbage, still getting praise even though their images aren't even that great.
I have grown to understand how 15 year old girls shouldn’t be part of an industry that demands them to be size impossible by tomorrow, otherwise they’re fat and worthless. Being broken down by photographers who want to see the girls emotions, reflect the photographers life, while they don’t yet even understand if their boobs are still growing or if a boy who ‘’liked’’ their photo could be the one. I have photographed many underaged models but i think in this past year, when I started havin go-see’s and meeting the girls, they were so innocent and sweet, i couldn’t imagine someone to dare take away a bit of this innocence.
We know your are starting a new project about education and women empowerment in Lebanon, we would love to know more about it.
The goal of the project is to enable the young women to not just be war victims but also have an identity, be an individual person. I have put together a program, that’s going to be a process of getting to know Self, using inspiration from Frida Kahlo, Alchemist by Paolo Coelho, Mastered with Nick Knight, The Thrive Program by Rob Kelly, my great friend Daniel etc. Refugee women are associated with the feelings of fear and pain. Yet they are women like all of us, the same hopes and dreams. Their strengths are mistaken to be their weaknesses. I hope to open them to the current world where people are voicing themselves, art has value, individuality is encouraged, women are standing up, people are uniting. I have asked designers to donate a piece of their items to enable women to dream bigger, get a better vision of the possibilities to create, dress up and as well see they’re not alone. So far, I can proudly say, I have about 17 designers from around Europe who have sent donations my way. I will provide the women with notebooks where they can write, sketch, draw. Supply them with paints, paper, brushes, feathers, glitter etc to explore different forms of art, be inventive with what we have. Printing photos, collecting magazines, researching different influential artists about whom i print out folders for creating moodboards and such. Building sets. And making images.
I truly love every aspect of image making from researching an idea to the final results. Visioning your ideas that come from your heart is a process of self discovery for me, dealing with a problem i have with myself. Sharing ideas with the team, getting inspired by one another, working together like a family. The excitement on set of actually seeing your dream in front of your eyes. It has been the stable core of my life, what keeps me going and rather curious of the meaning of the hardships. I want to be able to offer them this. It gives a feeling of purpose and it asks you to be your truest self, look deep inside of you, to see what you love the most. I know I don’t yet know exactly how it’s gonna be once I’m in Lebanon but I do believe in this project. To know more about it, you can visit www.gofundme.com anrikevolunteerlebanon ANY donation is highly appreciated, big or small. This money wouldn't go for me but enables me to offer all this to the women. Once I’m there, I imagine the expenses will fly through the roof. I appreciate and kindness wholeheartedly!
Who are the photographers that we should keep an eye on?
Tim Walker is my god. Philippa Price’s art direction on the Stella McCartney campaign video was just dope. Nick Brandt, a wildlife photographer, has taken some of the strongest images I’ve seen. I’m curious about the photo journalists. A very valuable documentary to watch is of a war photographer Tim Hetherington ‘’Which Way Is The Front Line From Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington’’. I find it very beautiful how photographer’s such as Tim or nature, wildlife photographers etc communicate with their subjects. They have this energy with them that accepts all and humility that makes people resonate with them instantly.
How can you stay true to yourself?
Fight against resistance, have thoughts that are for you not against you. Be kind to the people around you. Truly love yourself, be the dearest to yourself. Take yourself on a date once in a while. Push yourself but don’t bully yourself. Know it’s okay to take a breather once in a while. Listen to your body and trust that everything is fine. Express gratitude. Trust yourself and know, it’s not what happens to you that defines you, it’s how you stand up again that matters. Failure isn’t the end of the world. Giving up is.