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In our In Residence series, we talk with some of our favourite local creatives and ask them to share some of their most inspiring work. This time we met with photographer Debbie Trouerbach. Young, lively and with a soft touch -her pictures span the full scope from editorials to product photography. We fell in love with the shots she made during the fourth edition of The Loft pop-up and asked her to share what moves and inspires her work.
Hi Debbie! Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
Thank you so much for having me!
Currently I am based in Amsterdam and working as a photographer and art director. Together with my dear friend Edith, we run an independent journal and creative studio that goes by the name of Studio Joko. Studio Joko started as a passion project and has naturally evolved into a creative business.
Motivated by magical forces of the natural world and with great enthusiasm in the fields of interior design, architecture and fashion – I happily help the like-minded to develop visually soothing and authentic stories.
Having tried and tested a wide variation of creative skills such as graphic design, product design and styling throughout the years, and having lost my way here and there, I am glad to feel reconnected with my core skill and passion: photography and art direction.
Elements like solitude, silence, balance, intuition and the rhythm of the natural world play a big role in both my personal life and creative work. Having dealt with an intense physical and mental burn-out at quite a young age I discovered the healing powers of, and necessity of connecting with the natural world. The lessons that I’ve learned along the way are gracefully reflected in my personal work.
Tell us one thing people wouldn’t expect when they first meet you.
I might have a certain appearance but you won’t find me clubbing.
What are you working on right now?
Currently, I am working on a printed visual travel essay on Marrakech, Morocco together with my word smith Edith at Studio Joko. Last January we visited Morocco for the third time to discover and capture the beauty Morocco has to offer, on film.
The country is very dear to me. When I first visited back in 2016, I was dealing with the absence of physical energy and mental clarity for quite some time. Setting foot in the desert landscape around Marrakech and breathing the clean air gave me a vital reset and triggered a child-like adrenaline rush which I could not have imagined to feel ever again. Till this day I feel so grateful for that experience and for having recovered from the unease I was feeling. Morocco is magical and intriguing in various ways: the endless bright blue skies, birds singing from dusk till dawn, the powerful Atlas mountains wisely watching over. With our upcoming travel essay we pay homage to our beautiful experiences in this country.
Also, I am looking forward to my trip to Indonesia coming June. I recently finished a big interior photography project for Volkshotel Amsterdam which led to an invitation by Julia’s Bali to photograph the residencies they offer on the island. Trustfully, they briefed me to capture their residencies in my own authentic way of photographing interior. Being giving that freedom and an amazing work trip makes me excited and very grateful. I might be working for another big interior platform which I can hopefully share more about later on.
What inspires your work?
Actually, I find uncovering that what is driving your passion or inspiration not as easy as it sounds. I’ve always known I have a keen eye for aesthetics: I am very sensitive and naturally drawn to subtle beauty. Photography is my tool to reveal beauty the way I experience it. I recently came across the work of William Meader, an esoteric philosophy teacher who shared a beautiful talk about esoteric astrology, in which he reveals the ‘soul intention’. His talk about taurus’ soul intention made me smile from ear to ear as he speaks: “Beauty is actually something that arises through the right relationship of form, it’s in relating things where beauty comes forward, and that is the underlying principle of taurus, it has to do with constructing to reveal,”
After always having experienced a mysterious drive and attraction to aesthetics, listening to his talk made me conclude my inspiration has always been written in the stars for me, I guess.
What do you love about interior photography?
When I’m photographing interiors I enjoy immersing myself in aesthetically appealing and sophisticated objects and surroundings. Arranging and lighting things in a way that every single object and the sight as a whole turns inviting, calm and harmonious is utterly satisfying.
What is the first thing you notice in an interior?
The first thing I notice in a space is if there is a sense of balance and harmony. We all long for a home that brings us calm & peace, a place to recharge and enjoy intimate moments with friends, family and lovers. The way interiors are constructed shows an intimate insight in our deep longings and wishes for the place that functions as our personal safe haven.
And, what is your biggest interior annoyance?
Hmmm let me think. Maybe annoyance sounds a bit loaded, but I am naturally drawn to spaces that breathe air, so I’m not a big fan of constructing things in such a way that will make a space feel tight. It happens quite often in the past, that I couldn’t help myself advising friends or family to just move objects here and there so it would be beneficial to the spaciousness of the room. Most of the time that is appreciated, haha.
Any interior inspirations? crushes?
Lately I feel drawn to this mediterranean cave house inspired interiors (as shown in my work), in all-white hues and with interior objects carved out or extended out of the same clay from which the walls are made. Think of the base of couch extended from the wall, but just with an addition of simple custom-made mattress covered with natural and soft hued fabrics. Accompanied by some Japanese style minimalist wooden chairs and Hasami porcelain to enjoy food and drinks, and the sound of singing birds of course.
What’s your favourite furniture item?
A living tree, rooted in the earth and entering the living room from the ground up.