Sycamore Q&A: Janneke Luursema, Photographer | Amsterdam, Netherlands
Everything we do at Sycamore Street Press is with the goal of living a simple, beautiful & creative life, and in helping others do the same. There are so many people who have inspired us on this path, and we'd love to learn more from them! So we decided to start an interview series on the topic. Today we'll hear from Janneke Luursema, a Dutch photographer based in Amsterdam.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started doing photography.
Hi, my name is Janneke Luursema, I’m an Amsterdam based photographer, mother of three, and plant enthusiast. You can see my work on www.botanicstilllife.com.
I started photography after working a few years as an editor at a publishing house after getting my master’s degree in psychology. After which I realized studying psychology is one thing, but working as a psychologist requires totally different capabilities. Which I had not. So. At one point, I asked myself what I really wanted to do with my life (I did not have kids back then). What was my passion? I love to explore, I love to learn new things, and I decided to go back to school again. Photography. Turned out it was a good choice, I really love to take pictures, everyday since then. It helps me relax and fuels my battery. It keeps me sane.
Can you describe a “typical” day in your life?
My youngest son wakes me and my husband brings me coffee. I am a very lucky girl. When my children and husband leave for school / work, I clean up the mess in the house. I sometimes go to my garden house where I love to work, not distracted by the homely mess of family life, or to the location where I shoot that day. I take pictures, edit them, work on assignments or on my blog. Then I collect the kids from school, do groceries, listen to their stories, help with their homework. After that I head to the kitchen to prepare dinner, we always eat together as a family. Now that the kids are bigger, they like to cook too. After dinner I do the laundry, and sit with my littlest till he falls asleep, whilst looking at Instagram, you can find me there @still_______ (that’s 7x underscore)
How do you make sure you have time with your family/loved ones?
I do not do it all, I make choices. I choose to be with my children as much as possible. And that means I do not have a huge career and I do not make tons of money. I've never regretted my decision to stay at home with my children, but it’s a very personal choice, and I understand not everyone is in the position to choose. So, my work as a photographer is a small part time endeavor. Now that the children are getting older and more self sufficient, I have more time to pursue my career.
What are some ways you deal with stress/try and keep it to a minimum?
Enjoying the little things, spending time in nature, thinking about all I’m grateful for.
What are some favorite activities that you and your family like to do together?
In summer, we like to travel with a camper. A few years ago we did a road trip through Pacific Northwest USA, last year we went to Scandinavia, and this year we explored the Alps. We also like to go to our family summer house on the island Texel, where we spend most days on the beach or in the woods. The kids and I love to swim, and we all love to paddle with the canoe.
Do you have any tips for simplifying?
You can do anything, but not everything. You have to make choices, decide what’s really worth your energy. That can be very hard to do, and I struggle with it a lot myself. I wish I could do it all, but I cannot.
What’s your favorite way to bring a little beauty into your home? Plants bring life, warmth and beauty to my home.
Are you into DIY/making/gardening or anything like that? If so, tell us about it.
I love to browse Pinterest for inspiration, but I rarely come to gardening or DIY. My garden is a mess, but thinking about what I would love to make, and how my ideal garden would look like, is fun too. At this point in my life, I just like to be in my garden, trying to enjoy the beauty and not getting upset over all the things that should be done out there. It is a beautiful mess, where I can find a bit of peace and quiet. Stillness to think. Someday, when I find the time, I will turn the place into a beautiful garden. I’m a dreamer.
What does living a “simple yet beautiful” life mean to you?
Spending my time on the most important: giving focused attention to my loved ones. I cannot do it all and live a simple life at the same time. Don’t let the pretty pictures on Instagram fool you, they are just a small part of real lives!
Thank you, Janneke! What an inspiring life you lead. Your message of dedicating yourself to your loved ones is so beautiful and inspiring -- not only in this Christmas season, but year round.
All photos by Janneke Luursema.