joelledevries_006Joëlle (’92) lives in Spakenburg, the Netherlands. In februari 2013 she graduated with her series ‘Boys & Girls’ from ‘De Fotovakschool’ in Amsterdam with a bachelor’s degree in photographic design.

“As a child, you were always so pure of heart.” That is what my father still tells me every once in a while. I remember being lighthearted, dreamy and joyful. There were always songs and melodies going through my mind.

When I was 14 I got my first digital camera. I started photographing and filming everything I could lay my hands on. When I turned 16 I went to china for voluntary work in a orphinage for disables children. Back in my home town my health deteriorated slightly. When I got to weak to go to school we went to see a doctor. In the hospital they thought I had inflammed tonsils. After the surgery my energy levels dropped even further. A week later I went back to the hospital and was diagnosed with acute kidney and liver failure. A day later the doctors gave up on me and my family came to say goodby. The next day the doctors found out my organs miraculasly started working again. I could go home but the following years I needed a lot of rest. I started with a study photographic design for one day in the week. I enjoyed to photograph and being creative. But still I couldn’t really participate in the society and felt really alone and not understood. You can see that in my series as well. If I was doing something I loved I gave all the energie and motivation I got. People often saw the days that I was laying in bed starring to the ceiling.

After three years I graduated with the series boys & girls. A series where I can identify myself with. I loved working with the children and making the series. After that I started to do a lot of commercial work. I learned so many and there were projects I really liked. But I missed to be creative and telling stories to the world that matter. In that time also a doctor helped me and I became healthy again. I started with a dieet and got vitamin shots and getting better and better. After three years I decided to quit with commercial photography and I started to photographing only documentary and free work.

In september 2015 I started with a new study called nutrition and dietetics and I felt right away that I made a good choice. Now I can make everything I want in photography and have a back-up for making money. I felt relieved and really inspired again. So I started to photograph, filming, drawing, music etc. everything I can use to tell the story I want to show. Here I am after a long journey. I am happy and where I want to be. Enjoying life, exploring the world and telling stories through photography.