It’s easy to recognize one of Sandy Ghelfi’s photos when you see it. As a fashion photographer, her aesthetic is clean, bright, experimental with color, and tells the story of the model in front of the lens. It is apparent when viewing her work that Ghelfi has a clear sense of direction and purpose for each of her photographs.
Growing up in Lausanne, Switzerland, Ghelfi taught herself how to photograph. Her passion for photography started when she was just seven when her mother brought her a fashion magazine.
“I fell in love with the with staging, outfits, and various makeup,” Ghelfi said. “My heart wanted to become a photographer.”
From that moment on, Ghelfi always had a camera in hand, taking photos of her friends, family, and her travels.
When she was 14, she finally received her first reflex camera, a Canon EOS 650D and is still in the Canon family today with her Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.
Ghelfi is inspired by interesting man-made locations as well as nature.
She loves flowers, cacti, trees, and her favorite place to shoot is in fields or at botanical gardens—her favorite spot being the Botanical Gardens of Geneva.
If she needs to add more of a sense of strength to her photos, she turns to playing with architecture.
“Stairs, doors, columns...it gives strength to the picture,” Ghelfi said.
Her favorite location for this is at the Palais Rumine in Lausanne and the Oxford Exchange in Tampa, FL.
Like so many of us, Ghelfi’s biggest source of inspiration is Pinterest.
“I spend hours and hours looking for new things, details. It could be makeup, an accessory, a light or a piece of clothing,” Ghelfi said. “From there, I try to create a narrative. For me, every picture has to tell something; an emotion, an event, a story.”
One element that she loves playing with in her photos are reflections. She loves experimenting with reflective materials such as mirrors, glasses, water, and windows.
This sense of reflection is also apparent in her most recent project: telling the story of her family.
Most recently, she has been working on a photo series about her family. She is currently telling the story about her grandmother with Alzheimer’s.
“My sources of inspiration are old family pictures, letters, objects, and the stories my grandma and family told me,” Ghelfi said.
Another project she will be working on soon (once the snow melts in Switzerland) is a shoot with models using the contrast of the dead trees on top of mountains with pops of red.
Once Ghelfi is finished with a shoot, she works on the editing process. This process can take Ghelfi a long time because she needs to make sure that everything is perfect before she shares her work with the world.
“I spend lots of time editing photos and video because I'm perfectionist in my art,” Ghelfi said. “Each detail counts. I can spend hours editing a picture and more hours editing a video. The final result has to be better than my original idea.”
Along with photography, a year ago, Ghelfi started her own YouTube channel. While she was photographing, she discovered a passion for creating ballet and vlog videos.
She even expresses her creativity through another outlet: drawing. She only draws in black pen (sometimes adding watercolors) and her work is reminiscent of a dot worker or tattoo artist.
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
1: Viviane Sassen for her use of color
2: Sabine Weiss for the emotions she transmits through her pictures
3: David Lachapelle for his perfection of staging
4: Annie Leibovitz for her fashion portrait series “Once Upon A Time”
5: Paolo Roversi for his photos for Louis Vuitton
Botanical Gardens of Geneva
Palais Rumine in Lausanne
Oxford Exchange in Tampa, FL.