The Heroine’s Journey of Ellie Van den Brande

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

Creating interesting or beautiful images, if relevant with an important message. Although my ambitions and ideas go way beyond just photography . I see possibilities everywhere, often picture oriented but just as often it surpasses this. It can be about something we use daily to projects that could benefit a whole population. I love imagining how this world could even be better.

What is my idea of perfect happiness?

Being as free as possible and work wherever, whenever. By which I mean, being able to travel for work, connect with people and have adventure along the way. Teaching and learning from others as much as humanly possible. Living as healthy as possible and hopefully diminishing my ecological footprint little by little along the way. As I said, far beyond photography 😉

What is my greatest fear?

That global warming will cause huge problems in the world and living will become just surviving, that our society changes to an even worse dog eat dog system where every one has to fend for themselves.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

My overly analythical brain which is hardly ever silent, with the natural exhaustion and of course distraction that comes with it.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?

Actually a lot of my friends, who keep plowing away on their art, music or other ambitions over the years, who keep believing even if times get tough. If you would ask me “who are your idols?” I would say, David Lachapelle, Kristy Mitchell, Eugenio Recuenco, Marina Abramovic, Elon Musk,

What is my greatest extravagance?

I don’t consider myself an extremely extravagant person. The things I can splurge on financially are usually materials for my own portfolio photo shoots or camera equipment. But even then I try to find a good possibly second hand deal and go for that.

On what occasion would I lie?

This is a weird question, since science has proven that any given person consciously or subconsciously lies about three times in a time span of ten minutes. So let’s say we are talking about consciously choosing to mislead people; I would say, to save someone’s life, or my own. Generally I try to communicate as openly as possible, since I don’t feel I have much to hide. But I do not deem myself perfect, so you might catch me in a white lie or two every ten minutes 😉 .

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

Everything which takes my attention away from creating. So the actual running of my business often leaves me extremely tired and frustrated. Ideal conditions would be create, sport, relax, eat, sleep, repeat.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

I hope that day is yet to come, however every time I have a happy client, a new cool story to tell or someone who just “gets” what story I wanted to tell in an image, I get a lot of energy from that.

If I could, what would I change about myself?

My exhaustion levels, I burn energy hard and fast and barely sleep when I’m on top of my game. Which makes me fall “off the wagon” in sense of keeping a normal sleeping/living pattern, as a result I’m not often on top of my game, but I really want to be. Every. Fricking. Minute. Very frustrating.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

Inspiring others to chase their own dreams, pushing them forwards any way I can. I love to see people grow, evolve, expand or develop their ideas. For my own accomplishments, I still feel like I want SO much more, so I see every day and every photograph as a step towards the next achievement.

Where would I most like to live?

Well, I would like to live “off grid”, I dream of having a bit of land, a crazy but ecological neutral (tree?)house(boat). Preferably somewhere not too cold, not to far from beautiful water and/or mountains. With a powerfull WIFI though, because I still have to work 😉 Together with a few animals, a husky and some plants to live from. For now I love my apartment in the City of Antwerp, quite a contradiction with my dream house, it is super convenient for my lifestyle at this time. Although I think in the long run I might want something more secluded.

What is my most treasured possession?

You would think I would say “my camera”, but I’m going to say my home, since this is my fall out base, my girl cave, the place to be me. The rest is just stuff, replaceable if necessary. Let’s hope it is not necessary though.

What is my most marked characteristic?

According to my surroundings, quirky creativity and I would say dynamic versatility. Over the years I discovered I have a knack for making or doing SO many different things outside of photography. This is also where I tend to shine. Last-minute solutions or handy work/crafting are my thing.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?

Crumbles and beans, it’s a little breakfast place near my home I just feel very cosy at. It is run by a supercute couple who present homemade food. Delicious.

What books influenced my life and how?

I used to read a lot of fantasy and horror stories when I was younger, now I cant seem to find the time to read novels, but when I do read books it is on business and self development.

Who are my favorite writers?

Roald Dahl for sure, his imagination is limitless and he wrote such wonderful, unexpected stories full of magical wonderment.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on your last day?

Metal and ambient.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

Luke Skywalker, because of his struggling journey into adulthood. Laura Croft, for being a complete badass, captain Janeway for evening out the path for women in command in science fiction.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

Marina Abramovic for putting these insane ideas out there and making people think about themselves and their role in the world. Elon Musk for being a visionary for the future of mankind.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?

Spaceballs, because it is so incredibly funny. Because, why so serious ? 😉

What role plays art in my life and work?

This is a daily thing, I watch an enormous amount of images and art on a daily basis, I try to go to as many exhibitions as I can, big and small. So I would say it is weaved through my being. Sometimes I get influenced or inspired by the littlest thing, or by a person or a work. Although my personal work tends to be rather symbolic and narrative rather than artsy.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

My best friend Maarten, he knows how to motivate me, help me out when needed, can give perspective on things when I loose my way for a while. My colleague Mieke, who has been a very close friend for years and who I started GRAND with. There are more, but I would have to tell you my life story, we would be here a few days 😉

Whom would I like to work with in 2017?

Jasna Rok, who I’m currently working with on new projects concerning fashion tech.

Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2017?

People who are inspiring, positive and have the same kind of energy to bring to the table. I believe in making big fireworks in 2017 so, bring it on !

What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on?

Expanding my new business GRAND Imaging Consultancy, we want to help people become bigger and better by creating the right visual language implemented through their visual branding. We like to grow by helping others grow. We genuinely want to feel good about the work we do and make others stand out with their vision. Of course also come up with our own projects.

Where can you see me or my work in 2017?

My most recent website, but also and, instagram at /icgrand, /elliefuria or on facebook /icgrand /elliefuria.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

True that 😉

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?

Jasna Rok, Nadira Azermai, Mieke Smits, Oona Smet, Selina de Maeyer, …

How can you contact me?

Through my website or or 0032485082002

A book with underwater photographs by the ParticlesH2O collective where I am a part of.


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