Valerie Clarysse - Interior and product photographer
When did the click come for you to start your own business?
Currently, I run BURO H+C together with my partner Alexander. But I owe the idea of starting my own business to my friends and Alexander. I was employed in a completely different sector, but Alex and I lived for our holidays: travelling Europe together to windsurf and soak up culture, a wonderful time. On holiday you do the things that you really like to do, so I captured everything in photos that touched me. Our countless holiday photos were noticed by our friends at a party, my very first assignment happened that evening and the ball started to roll. We decided to invest our entire fortunes in a laptop, camera, lenses, tripod, programs… and in less than three years my hobby evolved from being a secondary occupation to my main occupation.
My preference soon turned out to be interior, product and architectural photography. My technical background, the close collaboration with Alexander – who is an interior architect – and my fascination for art, architecture, interiors and design play an important role. The hunt for the perfect shot, the peace of the moment of shooting – I was bitten and 15 years later I am more driven than ever before.
What is the most important lesson you have learned? What was the biggest challenge you faced?
In my profession, I think it is essential to really listen to the customer, so that I can perfectly translate what they need for them and make the shot that they dream of ... The customer’s wishes are central, you cannot leave lose sight of that with this type of photography. With a complex assignment I do not focus on the difficulties, but on the possibilities. I love to dream of a fantastic end result and go for it and try to make the shot better than what the customer had in mind. My advice:
Outdo yourself for yourself, but especially for your customer! Believe in your own abilities, know where your limits are, be honest and take every opportunity to grow! In time, enthusiastic and passionate customers and freelancers become a kind of second family for you. Everything is teamwork, leave your ego at home, be true to yourself, others will be true to you, too. Positive thinking, teamwork and persistence!
Which woman do you look up to and why?
Difficult question… I actually look up to “women” in general, what warriors they are! Because of the centuries-long struggle of women against inequality, we, as women today, can do business freely, choose and be what we want. But the battle has not yet been fought everywhere and has a long way to go across religions, cultures, land borders,…. Unfortunately, in Europe we still belong to a “privileged” group.
The struggle should not be a struggle for women alone. It should be an awareness that we need each other, male, female, all the diversity of gender, that we are all equal. I would prefer a gender-fluid society, as soon as possible… because the classic concept of “man” and “woman” has not covered the complete picture for years.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
Follow your gut feeling and consciously choose what and whom you invest your energy in! Doing good for everyone is impossible, no matter how much you would like to ...
Surround yourself with people who believe in you. Share your knowledge, bring out the best in each other. Enjoy your passionate fellow man, who is positive and tolerant in life, that is contagious ...