Meet Mandy: A Belgian Photographer Based in NYC

16.03.2016 - Dries Tack

Mandy Demuth – Photographer 

        Mandy Demuth is a Belgian expat who came to the United States to spread her love for photography. Her passion shines through her pieces of work and her talent is extraordinaire, as she always manages to capture every raw moment through her lens. She offers a wide-range of portrait shoots, in studio or on location, depending on the client’s needs, which is perfect for any individual looking for variety. 

Get to know Mandy:

Why did you leave Belgium? / Why did you move to the USA?

-       “We were open to new adventures, and at a cross road in our life. Ready for change. At that time we would or have to move to a different city in Belgium or NYC. So we just took the big leap. Why not, right?”

        "We fell in love with NYC during a city trip and before we even knew it the opportunity to move and work here came up. We often get the question: when are you moving back to Belgium? Honestly, I don't know. Life is pretty sweet here in Brooklyn.” 

How does your life look like right now?

-       “Very different than in Belgium. Here I follow my heart, in Belgium I worked for a big insurance company. Now I'm working as a portrait photographer. Taking someone's portrait is very intimate in a way. It's beautiful when you see people open up to you through your lens. Money wise, well, no more security of a monthly paycheck, but worth it.”

Are Americans and Belgians very different?

-       “Americans in general strike me as more polite and patient. Just compare a line for getting on the bus. Or a simple greeting when you enter a store. It's the little things, really.” 

How do you connect to Belgium?

-       “My family and best friends are in Belgium, but my heart is in Brooklyn. So is the love of my life for that matter. So that works out perfectly.”

How do you relax in the USA?

-       “A stroll down the neighborhood, bike ride to the beach, day at the park, BBQ on the roof with the skyline of Manhattan as our backdrop, yoga class or a game night. Now mix all of the above and add some great friends. A few times a year we treat ourselves to a getaway. A lot of the times we just stay in the U.S. This country was made to road trip. Do it!”

What's your favorite US meal/treat?

-       “Well, the most delicious thing I've tasted was  ... I'm embarrassed to say: a cronut (hybrid of a croissant and a doughnut.) So bad for you, but it tasted oh so good." 

What do we have to do to get you back in Belgium?

-       “A show featuring my work could be a good start ;-)”

Which Belgian do you admire most? / Which American do you admire most?

-       “I admire a lot of people for a lot of different reasons, would be very hard to pick one.”

What was your biggest surprise in the USA?

-       “The healthcare system, you only know how bad it is until you need something done... You hear about how expensive it is, sure. But a lot of things just don't work as they should. The coverage is nothing compared to Belgian standards. It's so bad for some that stores like CVS or Duane read actually sells kits to fill a cavity DIY style. I didn't understand that people would go to those lengths. Until I got my first crown, costing me an arm and a leg.”

What started your interest in photography? / What do you get out from it?

-       “Photography has always been in my life. My dad took his camera everywhere, so I have always been exposed to it. I still remember how he would transform our bathroom to a darkroom. The magic of the images slowly appearing, great memories!

        "I got my first camera when I was 6. It's rather hilarious to see the prints of my first developed film, London through the eyes of a 6 year old. Let's say the composition of most of them is highly avant-garde. The last 10 years I really got into photography. Intrigued by light and shadow play, structures and architecture. Carrying my camera everywhere. 

        "The last couple of years my focus has shifted to portrait photography. What I love about it is that I meet many different people. Every shoot is different; it keeps me on my toes. One day I will be photographing the board of a company, the next day I'll be in an artist studio emerging into their world. The challenge to get that instant connection with your model, which delivers a great shot. The whole process gives me energy for days and puts a smile from ear to ear to my face. Last week I got a great compliment: Man, I hate having my picture taken, but this was so much fun, I actually felt comfortable.”

©MandyDemuthPhotography 

In the picture above, Mandy is featured in one of her own projects, which is part of a triptych. “The idea behind it is self reflection. The process of moving to a new city, adjusting to life, finding your pace and place. You will meet other sides of you. Why not embrace all of them.” – Mandy 

For more information on Mandy Demuth Photography, visit www.mandydemuth.com.

Social media details: @mandydemuthphotography #shotbymandy 

This article is part of our series called “Belgians in the USA.” Belgians in the USA aims at promoting Belgian talent across the globe. It includes a variety of individuals who have gotten the privilege to experience the world and all of its glory when they decided to follow their business-driven aspirations and leave their “beer-loving,” “waffle-making” home country to move to the “land of the free.” Take a look at our other articles to learn about Belgian-based businesses arising in the US and read the inspiring individuals’ stories as they discuss life as an expatriate and what it takes to be a “Belgian in the USA.”

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