We had a chat with Denise Boomkens, photographer and founder of AndBloom. Read below!
AndBloom is an online magazine, aimed at providing a happy place for women over 40, through lifestyle inspiration and real stories. The aim behind AndBloom is to express that true beauty is an attitude and showcase the strength behind positive aging.
In this interview, Denise discusses what drove her to create AndBloom, what she thinks about the tabu surrounding aging, and what she hopes the future to look like. Take a look!
Can you briefly introduce yourself?
I am Dee, 45 years old, and a portrait photographer from Amsterdam. I live with my husband and 5-year-old son Finn in a pretty house with a garden.
I love growing older and wiser. I have a passion for photography, art, fashion, and traveling. In my current work, I love to combine all passions.
What is AndBloom? What are you aiming to achieve?
Two and a half years ago, I decided to say farewell to my career as a fashion photographer and switch to portraying women over 40. I called the project AndBloom, and started an Instagram.
With my work, I inspire women over 40 to age positively. With the portraits and interviews, I want to show how beautiful women are aging naturally even though that is not the most essential aspect. There is not enough exposure in the media of women over 40 aging positively.
I try to stay away from photoshop editing, the use of filters, and Botox, fillers, etc. as much as possible. The realness of my “bloomers” (the women I portray) is what inspires my followers.
Why do you think there’s a tabu concerning aging?
I think there is an unrealistic wish to stay and look young forever. It hurts women because aging is a natural thing and we aren’t supposed to stay, or look young forever.
What is your advice to women that are scared of aging?
Well, there is much to say about that. One important thing to stop is comparing yourself to younger women and women in the media. It’s much healthier to compare yourself to women your own age.
Or, follow AndBloom on Instagram and read all the beautiful, inspiring life stories. It’s often the stories and attitude that makes a woman attractive.
Was there a story from someone that left a unique mark on you? Why?
All women left marks, but Rosalie’s story was extraordinary. She lost her son at a young age and told me about her grief. Sharing her story and reading all the supportive comments from the AndBloom followers, helped her process her grief a bit more.
What do you want to focus on, that you aren’t already doing?
I have the feeling I only just started. There is a lot more to do. To begin with, I had visiting European cities on my to-do list in 2020. To portray women on location and from other countries. Unfortunately, COVID stopped me from traveling. So now, I am focusing on portraying foreign women living in the Netherlands.
And, of course, I want to focus more on spreading the beauty of aging.
5-years down the line, what are you hoping to have created/improved within the industry?
These days you see more and more older women in the media – it’s a start. We need to work hard on normalising aging. For this to happen, I would like to see more women showing their aging appearances with confidence. Having wrinkles, grey hair, and a bigger size has nothing to do with being beautiful.
Altogether, I am aiming for more: age positivity, body positivity over 40, more self-love and self-acceptance, and getting rid of silly clichés.
In one quote, what does true beauty mean to you?
“True beauty is an attitude. There is nothing more beautiful than a confident woman.”
Denise, Dee, Boomkens is a Dutch photographer and founder of AndBloom. Having left fashion photography behind, Dee is passionate about capturing the strength behind positive aging. She hopes to share the message that if you can’t avoid aging, you might as well embrace it! To see more of her work, have a look at her Cherrydeck profile, website, or at her Instagram, here.