This week in our series about creativity and motherhood we meet Tessa, whose beautiful imagery captures raising three boys in a spacious home surrounded by nature.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

T: I’m Tessa and I’m 39 years old and live with Menno and our three boys Mees (10), Polle (8) and Guus (4) in our wooden house that we designed ourselves. After studying at the Academy of Art in Rotterdam 13 years ago, I met Menno. He ran his own bakery where he baked delicious French bread. We moved to a village near where I was raised: I love it here, it’s quiet and we are surrounded by nature but it’s all also close enough to big cities (Rotterdam/ Amsterdam and The Hague) which inspire us. We have a lot of space and outside our home – imperative for your sanity when you are juggling a busy family life – We all like to be at home where we revel in slow and easy living; where the children play games or indulge in craft.

When did you start taking photographs and why?

T: It was my father who inspired me. When I was little I was struck by the pictures he took which always had a real feel for details. I started photography at the Academy of Art but my pictures have really changed since I started to take pictures for Instagram. It’s as if I’m seeing things with a different eye. And I’m showing different things too. I also love the editing process.

How has motherhood impacted the way you see and photograph the world?

T: My life really changed after the birth of my three sons. My world got a lot smaller, because I spend most of the time with them. It’s how I like it. I’m very fond of beautiful surroundings and simple, well designed items. Since my children were born, I have developed an interest in children’s furniture, toys and clothes and love searching for unique items.
All three boys go to school now, which gives me more time to develop my photography skills and other creative projects. Mostly though, I take pictures for my Instagram account which has enable me to find ‘my style’. In the last few months, I have done photography for several kids brands. That was so inspiring and fun to do. New, exciting projects are coming my way; things I would not have dreamed of a year ago.

What and who inspire you?

T: There are a lot of things that inspire me. It can be as simple as a colour or a material; a place or a feeling. Also, my children and the things they do. My children and the things they do, every day life, nature, flowers and beautiful fabrics. Scandinavian countries and France provide a lot of inspiration when I’m choosing items, materials and colours for my house. I also love to read Kinfolk, Toc toc, Cereal, Milk and Papier Maché magazine. And often, children’s books that are well designed and illustrated, are a real source of inspiration.

What environment do you like photographing your children in and why?

T: The place I like to photograph my children is in our house.  There’s lots of daylight and I love bringing that peace and quietness into my images. In this space I can carefully select the places that give me the look and feel I’m searching for. Besides, the boys are most comfortable at home, which translates beautifully into relaxed and natural pictures. Our house and the way it has been decorated is also an ideal background for my creative ideas.

Your photographs really capture your sons’ personalities. Do you have any advice that you would like to share?

1. Familiar surroundings help
I suppose their surrounding peaceful and feels familiar to them. That makes it a lot easier for me to take pictures of them. I take pictures when they are relaxed and not so conscious of me and my camera. Be patient, the less they notice me, and play their own game, the more natural the pictures are and the more fun they have.

2. Distraction
The more absorbed they are in their activity, the easier it is for me to take a natural and beautiful picture.

3. Take lots of pictures
The other thing I do is take a lot of pictures. I really mean a lot. It’s so easy nowadays to take as many pictures as you like and select them afterwards. The more pictures you take, the higher the chances of that one brilliant image. Children change their expression and posture faster than one can follow.


Words & photography by Tessa Hop
i: @tessahop


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