With August being Women’s month we always feel it fitting to feature a ground breaking, impact-making, industry-shaking female and this talented fashion, portrait and beauty photographer definitely fits that description. Ingrid Irsigler is not only the photographer behind Ingrid Alice Photography, but she is also the founder of BigCityLife – an online blog which many may be familiar with from the inspiring Facebook page – AND an avid equestrienne #Bonus.

When looking at Ingrid’s photos, you can’t help but feel swept up in an enchanted fairytale… a wonderland of vivid colours, dramatic settings and glamorous models. Her style of work and her expressive use and love of colour have earned her the reputation of the “Queen of Colour” and her bold, whimsical images have appeared on well-known magazine covers and in advertising campaigns around the world.

Ingrid is a Creative Director by trade, and after spending 15 years on various international projects she found herself working on a magazine project requiring a number of photoshoots and editorials. The production shoot left an impression on Ingrid who decided it was time to exchange the office for the forest - or wherever her camera took her – entrenching herself in the magic and mystery of photography.

Her journey has led her to become one of South Africa’s most reputable and awarded high-end fashion, commercial & portrait photographers, grounded in engaging concept generation, story driven design and bold advertising strategies.

TEARS of Joy

The cover image was taken as part of a Community project undertaken with TEARS Animal Rescue in Sunnydale, Cape Town, which she dedicated to her own TEARS rescue pup, Winter. The project, lovingly named #Dreamland, was part of a fundraising initiative and highlighted not only some of the gorgeous dogs needing new families, but also shed light on the areas where TEARS works and the amazing stories of the people who live there. “It was key to shoot this calendar in the communities where TEARS work. This shoot wasn’t just about imagining a better future for homeless, abused and neglected animals but about drawing attention to the communities that TEARS assists” says Ingrid.

The backdrop of the shoot was Dreamland in Vrygrond, the home of Uncle Fred, who has built and designed this enchanting space from junk yard scrap – creating a wonderland of visual delights for those who visit it (and creating the proverbial dreamland for a photographer). Fred’s dream is to create a self-sustaining market for the Vrygrond community and to teach people how to tend to their own garden and educate them on growing their own food.

We found out more about Ingrid Alice Irsigler straight from the horse’s mouth (#PunIntended):

What do you love most about photography?

I love everything about photography! There is a an entire journey that takes place before that image is brought to life and I enjoy every element of it. From the creative process (which often starts at 3am once I get an idea in my head) to sourcing the location, from working with my amazing team on set to the final image development – there is an air of anticipation and excitement throughout the process that keeps my adrenalin pumping.

What typically inspires the beautiful scenes you create?

Books, films, stories, myths, legends, art, poetry… the list could go on! Photography for me is escapism from the mundane – a means to recreate the romance of lives lived in places and times gone by. An opportunity to create, capture and share portraits of sheer beauty, whimsy and mystery. With every image I hope to tell a story, one that intrigues people enough that they stop momentarily and wonder what I was thinking.

How does the final image come together?

When shooting for a brand or client, I start off with the creative story telling concept and build the campaign around the idea. Photography is the tool I use to tell my stories – much like an artist with his canvas.

My photoshoots are filled with light heartedness and flow. We have implemented a ‘no drama’ rule on set because, as with any business or project, good energy is the secret to getting the best out of your team. This, combined with a happy work environment and ensuring your models are well looked after, will ultimately translate into visually striking images.

Photoshoots may seem glamorous, but they’re equally long and emotionally draining, making it important to choose the right team to work and collaborate with. I am mindful of the team effort that is required to turn my vision into reality and it makes me appreciative every day of the team who work alongside me.

I’m also a firm believer in having the skills to operate your own equipment correctly as it’s very difficult to get the desired shots when relying entirely on assistants for lighting design. All artists and photographers differ in their approach though so it’s important to do what works or feels right for you.

What are some of your more recent achievements?

I was named in the Nikon Top 100 Photographers for the second year in a row which is always a great honour. I also featured in both Business Insider (NYC, UK and Singapore) and MSN Holland’s Top 20 Fashion Photographers in the World. I had three of my projects featured in the official Pantone 2020/2021 Colour Trend Book unveiled at the official Pantone Colour Forecast Show in Seoul, and inspired a new colour - Afro Black.

And finally, tell us a little about your other passion - horses!

I have been riding my whole life. I started at age 5 and never looked back! In my younger years I competed in the 140 classes but currently I just ride for fun in the lower grades with my lovely mare Seeis Aracoura.

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