Zela (a.k.a Marja Flick-Buijs) is a mother, business owner and sxc.hu certified photographer from Aalsmeer, NH, Netherlands. She shoots a Nikon D80 and Olympus C8080 and has been an sxc member since February 2005. Her photos continue to be some of the most downloaded on the site. We caught up with Zela and talked to her about her passion for photography.
First of all, what does Zela mean?
Nothing mysterious here. The name Zela is just borrowed from one of our pets that was sitting besides me when I opened my sxc account. Knowing that certainly I would forget any exotic nickname and login, I opted for what was right in front of me.
A quick 'Google' for Wikipedia gave a more meaningful explanation: Zela is the name of a small historic village in Turkey where Julius Caesar had one of his smaller battle victories in 47 BC where he wrote his famous phrase: 'Veni Vidi Vici'. (I came, I saw, I conquered)
For sxc I can personalize these words to: 'I came, I saw, I learned a lot'.
How did you get involved with photography and when?
My photography abilities got wings with the introduction of the digital camera. Being able to experiment without worries of spoiling film and the possibility of seeing the result instantly on the computer popped the cork of my inspiration.
In one of my earlier sxc profiles I wrote: 'There is a picture in everything'. Because of that I never leave the house without a camera. From wide angle to the tiniest detail, if something catches my eye I have to turn and aim.
Soon people around me started to ask me to bring my camera for a picture of their baby, a family group portrait etc., and before I knew it I was doing complete weddings.
Joining sxc opened up a whole new can of possibilities because, as I mentioned before, I am never without my camera, and I already had a 'shoebox' full of pictures that started to gather dust. My first submissions were a few very Dutch subjects like wooden shoes and cheese. Since I had no clue of what was a good stock-photo I spend nights browsing the sites database and user galleries. In between having a house full of kids and running a family business with my husband I turned my kitchen table into a desktop studio made of cardboard boxes, coloured paper, and spotlights borrowed from the bedrooms.
It seems much of your work explores color and pattern. What about these two elements fascinates you so much?
I think my keyword for that is rhythm. Life and everything surrounding us contains patterns and color. Music making is one of my other favourites and with every picture I take/edit goes a different tune or beat. If a picture makes me want to dance, I think it's a good one.
You also approve photos for sxc.hu. Has the role of approver helped you as a photographer? If so, as a photographer, what can you learn from approving other people's photos that you might not learn while shooting photos?
When I volunteered to help sorting the pending uploads, I didn't realize it was that addictive. Because sxc is open for everyone to submit, there is a lot of difference in quality. Finding that single gem in a row of not so very usable uploads or looking at another brilliant pic from one of our top photographers keeps me hooked into that queue of photos, resulting in very short nights a few times a week. Sometimes I find a photo in the queue that makes me think: 'Wow, nice one'.
Oh, yes, there is still much more to learn for me...
Judging a picture on all kinds of features like composition, subject and technical aspects also makes me look even more critical at my own pictures. That certainly does not mean that all of my pictures are top notch now, but 'I'm working on it'.
I learned the most about (stock)-photography in my first year at sxc when I had some of my own uploads rejected on a regular basis. It was a process of trial and error but also one with a very satisfying result.
As a photographer, where do you see yourself in 10 years? what are your goals?
That's a hard one to answer without a crystal ball. Now that the oldest children are starting to leave the house we have room to set up some decent studio equipment and larger backgrounds. So I'm up to my next step. How to properly use studio lights instead of bedroom spots.
In ten years I hope to shoot pictures of everything that fascinates me just as happy as I am now.
current sxc favourites
thanks for reading!