1Can you introduce yourself and talk about how you got into photography?
My name is Cheraine Collette. I am an artist based in the Netherlands. My love for photography, drawing, and digital painting developed during my younger years. When I was young, I always found myself drawing all kinds of animals I could find around the house. A few years later, I decided to learn photoshop, and eventually, my interest extended into photography. The major contributor to my interest in photography is my love of combining the logical and natural with the fantastical world to create a new real world.
2Where did you study photography?
I started at an early age with drawing, digital editing, Photoshop, and photography. As my passion and skills grew, I entered university and majored in applied photography.
As this study was mainly about photography with a minimal dedication towards digital painting and photo manipulation, I spent a lot of my free time studying and practicing advanced digital painting, editing, and exploring all kinds of new possibilities technologies bring.
3Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
The first photograph I took was of a Dolphin in “Loro Parque” Tenerife when I was still very young. The dolphins really fascinated me with their beautiful streamlined shape, their ability to jump high in the air, and the gracious leaps they can make out of the water. I really wanted to capture the moment in time when the Dolphins were flying above the water.
4What equipment do you use?
I usually photograph in daylight. I often use my Hasselblad H5D camera and my Canon Mark III, both with various lenses, spare batteries, and memory cards. In some cases, which is very rare, I'd take a tripod and other accessories with me to the shoot. However, as the animals tend to move a lot, I would find ways to work with the elements and the surrounding landscape to help support my camera.
5What do you hope to achieve?
I hope via my work, I can show the beauty of the natural treasures surrounding us, and why preserving these delicate treasures that make our planet unique is worth all of our undivided attention.
6What compliment inspired/touched you the most?
For me, every compliment I have ever received touched my feelings. They are valuable to me because people really take their time to express their adoration for my work and explained how my works touched their feelings.
7What inspires your unique storytelling?
My inspiration primarily comes from all the natural beauty, cultural marvels, and wonders around the world that I experience whenever I travel. For instance, when I see a photoshoot session, immersed in a book, unsuspected moments, or anything. For me, you can find inspiration everywhere as long as you are open to it.
8What THREE (3) words describe your photography style?
People describe my work as Authentic, Imaginative, and Romantic, with a longing for beauty.
9Congratulations! As the winner of the New York Photography Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?
It is great that my works “Where is Adam?” and “Marvels” series have been honored by the New York Photography Awards.For me, the New York Photography Awards truly value the distinct quality of the photographic works and the stories that go behind these works.
10Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2021 New York Photography Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
The Where is Adam? and the Marvels series are dedicated to our natural world. These images demonstrate the beauty and vulnerability of the earth. It is one of the ways to awaken compassion from within, to inspire future generations to preserve their natural and cultural heritage. The physical use of animals is not necessary for the final photo or film nowadays. In my works, the animals are always photographed within a safe distance and remain undisturbed in their natural habitats.
11How has winning an award developed your career?
Participating in numerous renowned international photography awards paved the way for my works to reach a broader and global audience.
Receiving awards and recognition from the international photography contests, such as the Muse Awards, experience a great valuation and confirmation that I’m heading in the right direction with my series. I value these aspects very much.
12Name 1-3 photographers who have inspired you.
I always find the old masters very inspirational with their works. For instance, the way they portrayed the stories behind their works, capturing light and used this in different ways to bring the scene to life or bring emotions forward. The mastery of their craft I find very inspirational.
13What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out, by a mentor or your role model?
Looking back in time, with my acquired experience, I think it is essential to listen and follow your artistic heart. With that, only you are able to make your ideas come true.
14What advice would you give someone who would like to become a photographer today?
The most important thing is to discover where your heart is with photography. Remain true to yourself and follow the path to know where it will lead you.
Although I started at a very young age with all these digital editing tools, I experimented with many different branches of photography during my university year. Eventually, these experiments made me realize that my heart lies in digitally painting with photography.
15What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
With every work I do, I aim to better my skills. I leave room for experimentations and the unsuspected moments of beauty that can happen during photographing. In each concept I make, I strive for a perfect balance between the visual and the story it holds.
16How do you stay in that space of being receptive to new information and knowledge?
I think it's important for an Artist to have the feeling of wanting to reach beyond their current boundaries, into the unexplored.
17Which THREE (3) friends/peers would you nominate to participate in the next New York Photography Awards?
I would nominate every person who is very passionate about photography to participate in the next New York Photography Awards.
18Which THREE (3) peers, within the photography industry, would you nominate to be a judge in the next New York Photography Awards? (You may include yourself within, and please include the email addresses)
I hope to answer this question the next time!
19Anything else you would like to add to the interview?
My congratulations to all the winners of the New York Photography Awards and my thanks to the wonderful jury for awarding my work.