Louise Samuelsen

The Danish Tomboy Fashion Photographer With An Eclectic Vintage Style

Photographs by Louise Samuelsen

Meet Louise Samuelsen, 39, fashion photographer and mother to Sylvester 8, Stella 6 and two very, very old New Yorker cats, Linkletter and Vanilla. (Of course humans can be cat-mums). Born in Denmark, Louise lived in London for over twelve years, but recently she and her husband Ben made the decision to leave the big smoke for the peace and quiet of the Berkshire countryside. Having spent her life in big cities – London, Copenhagen, Barcelona, New York – the Samuelson crew describe the move to the countryside as “terrifying.” (An understatement, apparently).

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Louise and Ben recently bought an old country house, which they plan to convert into a shoot location as well as their home. When asked where they planned to live during the house renovations she replied, “in a one bedroom cabin in the garden for 6-9 months. Yikes”.

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Yikes indeed, but if the cool, laid-back vibe of her photography, her home and her wardrobe is anything to go by, we reckon it’ll take more than living in a one-bed cabin in the garden with three others to ruffle this one’s feathers. Well, as long as no-one gets nits – see below – GAH!…

 

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As a little girl I dreamed about either being a backing singer or riding horses…

But I had a terrible singing voice and no horse, so dreams were replaced around 12-13 years old when I became interested in photography. I took lessons after school and took pictures of my friends, developing black and white film and doing my own prints. Both my grandfathers were keen amateur photographers. One was obsessed with taking pictures of horses and had all these crazy old school filters he put in front of his lenses and my other grandfather loved photographing landscapes.
I was lucky to get introduced to a still life photographer, Tor Joergensen. He was part of the photographic / film community Schiller & Co in Copenhagen and he agreed to let me hang around and make myself useful for a few months. Luckily for me one of his assistants left and I got the spot.

I worked for him for 3 years until I met an English-Nigerian guy and followed him to New York in 2001, where I assisted a bunch of photographers. I married "the guy" in 2006.

I really enjoy the process of photography...

Putting the mood board together, casting the model, getting the right team on the shoot, figuring out the lighting, shooting and selecting the images. Sometimes the initial ideas are so far from the result, other times it's total deja vu.

I love freezing the moment, the adrenaline when you catch something special.

A good picture is...

One that stays in your portfolio or on your wall year after year.

What I love about being a mother sort of changes all the time...

Sylvester was an absolute shock to my system, life as you know it....and so on. But he became this little friend I always had with me, with his crazy hair and the biggest brown eyes, I nicknamed him Moo. It's so nice not having to worry about yourself as much; looking back I was quite selfish before I had kids and to make sure this little guy was happy changed all that. When Stella came along it made me accept my new mum-role a bit more. I was slightly in denial for a while and did everything I could to keep my life as it was pre-kids without much luck. Having both made us feel like a proper "unit". Now they (Stella & Sylvester) have become more like friends and it makes me so happy when they do get along, as opposed to pulling each others hair out. They complement each other, she makes him more considerate and he makes her even more of a tomboy.

When it comes to mothers I admire...

There's a common thread: they all have loads of other things going on as well as being mums. I also admire parents who aren't afraid to say "my kids are f-ing annoying me today and I am not handling it well" without beating themselves up about it, realising tomorrow is another day.

My kids are used to my on/off schedule...

They were with me in the studio from three weeks old. Obviously not always ideal with a changing work schedule but it can be a total blessing too. I can be around and not work for two to three weeks at a time and be totally present. I did have to leave ten month old Stella the day she broke out in full blown chickenpox. I had to fly to a job in LA so had to get a rotation of a night nanny and a day nanny to look after the kids, which was heart breaking. It's a lot easier now that they are at school and it is becoming a bigger part of their life, I don't feel as guilty when I leave.

We get a lot of looks being a mixed race family...

Especially when we go back to my tiny hometown in Denmark. My mum likes walking behind us watching other peoples reactions. We are hard to miss and people are curious without asking questions. Stella calls it being "mixed up"!! I often got mistaken for the nanny in the playground and the kids actual nanny often told me that someone thought they were her kids. That's a little bit creepy. We haven't experienced any racism, though, just innocent questions from other kids like "how come Sylvester's hair doesn't get wet when he goes swimming?"

My greatest fear? The dreaded email from school saying there is a case of nits in their class...

Try nit combing afro hair. But on a serious note, I think my worst fear is feeling inadequate as a mother or in my job. There's nothing worse than knowing you could have done something better.

We're big fans of eating with our fingers...

We quite like a picky meal, like build your own taco or BBQ - the kids love it.

Tell us a joke...

Three children were playing on a magic slide. A fairy told them "whatever you shout on the way down the slide you will land in at the bottom". First kid goes down shouting "GOLD" and lands in a pot of gold. Second kid shout "SWEEETS" and lands in a pot filled with sweets. Third kid hadn't paid attention and goes down the slide shouting "WEEEEEEEEEE"

My Favourite Things

My Kids Favourite Things

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