Tell us about yourself!
My name is Renée Kemps. I’m a photographer and art director, currently living between Amsterdam and Copenhagen, and working worldwide. I was born in Delft and grew up in the countryside where my parents moved to an old farm to start their own company. I loved spending my days outside, playing with my sisters and brother, having a vegetable garden next to the house and animals around. Plus being so removed from all the technology and distractions we have now — cellphones, computers, iPads etc.
I remember these moments when my father would take a photo with his old Pentax. Very carefully choosing the angle and composition – walking around smiling until he had just the right shot, before taking it. I loved seeing these images come to life, just one little fragment of a day, a memory… then seeing that moment sit next to others in our photo album.
I like to think this is when, and how, my love for photography started. It wasn’t until much later however that I really started investing in it – pushing myself to learn more and develop more. Slowly but surely it became something I was doing every day. Then I was invited to New York City in my second year of University and won a photography award there. After graduating I decided to give photography a go as a career and went full-on freelance straight away. I moved to Tokyo, London, back to Amsterdam and then to Copenhagen for work. First represented by a New York agency, and now by a Swedish one.
What is your connection to Abel?
I was lucky enough to be Abel’s photographer for one of their product shoots.
I loved Abel’s philosophy and brand identity already, and was super excited to meet the team for a coffee and hear more about their brand and mission. Then later to work together on beautiful images for their website and social media. They kindly let me walk into their office now and then, where we catch up and brainstorm about new ideas, and daydream about new upcoming shoots.
What is your favourite fragrance and how does it make you feel?
Definitely Golden Neroli. From the moment I got to smell (and try) all of the fragrances I fell in love with this one. It’s sweet and floral, but in a very subtle way. Think warm summer breeze in the evening, wild flowers, a balcony with open doors overlooking a garden.
I like how all fragrances are unisex and all so different, some more bold than others. It makes them perfect to switch up for different days and/or occasions. I really like the latest fragrance, Pink Iris — it’s like spring in a bottle. And now and then a little bit of Cobalt Amber, on cosy, darker, winter evenings. But I always keep coming back to Golden Neroli, it’s like coming home.
What is inspiring you at the moment?
Travel and work is very important and inspiring to me. I get to meet so many new people, experience different worlds and cultures, and constantly get to learn new things. It teaches me so much about being open and flexible, about ambition and dedication. It shows me that you alone decide where you are, who you surround yourself with, and what is important in your life.
These days it’s the little moments that matter most, and that are crucial to having a balanced life. More and more it’s nature that inspires me – the feeling of getting out of hectic work and city life for a moment. It’s the spontaneous trips – picnics with friends while the sun slowly sets, ice cold swims in lakes and the ocean, closed eyes and the sun on your face while you think of nothing for a moment.