Fusing creativity and sensitivity with her never-ending sense of curiosity, the work of Dutch-born photographer Rebekka Eliza conveys an essence of underlying strength. Her subjects’ femininity is always subtly but sensually celebrated; there is an enduring quality to each image that makes it feel as though it could have been snapped today, yesterday or tomorrow. Photography is a passion that runs deep within Rebekka’s soul, inspired by the very act of living and the abundant nature that surrounds us in Ibiza.
Rebekka’s career in the fashion world began in production and branding, followed by time spent as a self-taught designer – from Hong Kong, Bangkok and Istanbul to NYC – until she felt inspired to pick up a camera and start creating the types of advertising and editorial images she could envision for her clients herself. “I felt like there was something missing,” she explains. “At one point, I was working with a brand who couldn’t find a photographer whose work matched their concept, so I asked them to let me try. I rented a camera and shot some pieces in a studio using a friend as a model. It changed everything.”
Her natural affinity with the camera and innate talent meant she could once again teach herself the tools of her new trade, and since that pivotal moment, Rebekka has never looked back. Her eye for a striking silhouette has seen her work grace the pages of high-end fashion magazines such as Marie Claire, Elle, L’Officiel, ISSUE and White Ibiza Magazine. Commercial campaigns, lookbooks, luxury weddings and one-of-a-kind prints also sit among the pages of her multi-layered portfolio, one that grows and evolves with Rebekka’s determination to capture the perfect, timeless composition.
It was a work trip to Ibiza at the age of 23 that first piqued Rebekka’s interest in the white isle. “Even before I came here, I was so curious about the island,” she recalls. “Then I just kept on coming back. Ibiza is a place where I feel free – there’s no judgement here.” When she became a photographer, Rebekka felt drawn to relocate – inspired by the famously prismatic golden light that hugs both landscape and human form like molten amber. “The light in Ibiza is so different depending on the seasons,” she says. “It’s like there’s a different island out there, four times a year, it’s so versatile.”
Rebekka – who divides her time between Ibiza and Lisbon – finds endless motivation in the simplicity of nature: gentle strolls amid the morning rays with her dog, hills enshrouded by the scent of pine, and the space and time to be creative. And although Ibiza is her second home, as a gifted multi linguist (Rebekka speaks Dutch, English, Spanish and Portuguese), she travels and works all over Europe. It’s a skill that allows her to make anyone feel at ease professionally – in front and behind the camera – always getting the best out of her subjects. “The beauty of women and the beauty of nature are intertwined for me,” she says. “I find it so inspirational.”
On a personal level, she is warm and curious, helping clients to make mood boards and making creative suggestions to enhance the outcome of each shoot, and encouraging models to simultaneously reveal softness and courage. “I’m very visual, and my style is very in the moment,” Rebekka explains. “It almost has a documentary feel to it.” Chiaroscuro is often employed, using light and shadow to add drama to a simple shot of a cut-glass cheekbone, definition to a close-up of a knitted cuff, or breath-taking contrast to an otherwise delicate dress. The resulting images bring Rebekka’s visions to life, from the way jewellery is positioned and the hair and make-up direction to the styling and beyond.
That same idea of nowness is embraced when Rebekka shoots private weddings. “I love to shoot beauty and fashion – weddings were not something I initially wanted to do,” she admits. “Then, there was a client who really wanted my exact editorial and reportage style for their wedding photos, so I said I’d do it and I really enjoyed it.” From intimate church ceremonies to luxurious three-day affairs that encompass pre-wedding dinners, the pre-ceremony preparations, beautiful dinners, late night dancing and much more, Rebekka now lends her skills to only a handful of very select events per year. “I always listen to the couple’s personal stories because it helps me to get into their minds, and that way I can meld my work with their vision on the day.”
Outside of her commercial and professional work, Rebekka also creates elegant works that reflect her own style and taste. Currently selling two private collections online with Dutch gallery, Tones Gallery, each is a more personal retrospective on themes she finds intriguing. ‘Fragments’ explores the creation of lines and shapes in conjunction with light and shadows, while ’Beauty & Nature’ delves into the most recurring element of Rebekka’s work: the intimate relationship between femininity and nature. With clients including Liya in Antwerp, Mateo in New York and model agencies in Paris among many others, Rebekka’s schedule fills up fast. Wherever her work takes her however, Rebekka always embraces the feeling of coming home when she returns to Ibiza, finding refuge and recharging her creative spark on its sun-baked shores.