Zahra Reijs is a Rotterdam based dutch photographer. Published in magazines like Oyster and Vice, she creates a dreamy and playful world through photography. KALTBLUT did a small interview with Zahra talking about movement, Rotterdam, and paradise. Here’s my pick of her work!
Hi Zahra! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in ’92 and have lived in Rotterdam most parts of my life. When I turned 14 I got a really shitty camera for my birthday (No hard feelings mom, Hans) and I think it was then, I fell in love with photography.
In your beautiful project about the old woman ‘Lisa’ you talk about capturing movement, what do you think movement tells about a person?
Movement tells more about someone then you can imagine. Small example; the way someone moves shows how confident someone is… Some people just have this thing in even the smallest move they make where it looks like they are floating on air. This was the case with Lisa… she was so confident and gracefully floated around Palm Springs. She just got me the first time I saw her and it turned out her movement did tell a lot about her since she used to be a dancer/stripper.
Can you remember the first project you were proud of?
That would have been ‘Greetings from Paradise’. I started working on this when I went to Curacao for holidays. I was staying in one of the most luxurious resorts. One day I was enjoying the hotel’s private beach and noticed that pretty much all families were fighting about bullshit. I decided to make a project about Paradise. Shot pictures of what Paradise looks like for most people/media and started researching what it actually meant for me and for others through a bunch of photo’s and essays.
What inspires you, aesthetically speaking?
Precisely what I was just talking about. Also Rotterdam is a huge inspiration for me. Many people think/thought Rotterdam was ugly and boring because in Dutch standards, Amsterdam is perfect. But it’s the ‘imperfection’ that makes this city what it is and perfect in many ways. I think if I grew up in Amsterdam I would have had a totally different perspective on photography… or maybe even on everything.
So do you think the city you live in influences your photography?