The Style Researcher presents a fascinating editorial titled “The Many Faces of Merlin” by Tjeerd Doosje. The editorial graced the cover of our March issue dedicated to “Art of Fashion”. Here we present also a double interview with them! Enjoy.

1. Tell us something about yourself to get to know you a bit better.
@ Merlin Sen: My name is Merlin Sen, I am 13 years old and I live in the Netherlands. I am still learning/college. My hobbies are horseback riding, dancing, modeling.
@ Tjeerd Doosje: I’m Tjeerd Doosje,55 years old and beside a photographer, I’m also a high school mathteacher in the Netherlands. In my spare time I’d like to read (thrillers) and watch movies. I also like to listen to music, especially when I’m editing photos.

2. @Merlin Sen: How and when did you start with your modeling work?
@Tjeerd Doosje: How and when did you start with photography on a (semi)professional basis?
@Merlin Sen: I started my modeling work about 1.5 years ago. Because I wanted something different I went looking on social media and then I thought about becoming a model and I definitely wanted to try if I would like it. Then I went looking for a good photographer and was even asked by other photographers.
@Tjeerd Doosje: The start of my (semi)professional photography was at my highschool, now almost 10 years ago. There was a makeup course where I that I participated in. One girl came every time and with her and her parents we decided to do a more extensive photo shoot at their home. That went so well that Studio Tjeerd actually came into being at that time.

3. How did you two meet/found eachother?
@Merlin Sen: I discovered Mister Tjeerd Doosje on Instagram with other models. Then I contacted him for my first photoshoot.
@Tjeerd Doosje: Merlin found me on Instagram because she saw photos of mine of other models. She then contacted me via DM and we had a great conversation. Then, after a short period, we made an appointment for our first photoshoot.

4. Can you tell us about the first photoshoot you did together?
@Merlin Sen: Yes, of course. I was very nervous and found it very exciting. Of course I was very excited and I couldn’t wait to stand in front of the camera.
@Tjeerd Doosje: The first photo shoot was at Merlin’s home and such a first photo shoot is always exciting: is there a click between the model and myself as a photographer? It was clear from the very beginning that Merlin was a very enthusiastic girl who loves the camera. We already took some special photos then and we wanted more.

5. What was the most memorable photoshoot (good or bad) you did together?
@Merlin Sen: We did the last photoshoot before Valentine’s Day and I really enjoyed doing it. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it and the photos turned out beautiful. I’m so proud of it!!
@Tjeerd Doosje: That’s hard to tell, because every photo shoot we did together had something special. If I had to choose, I would choose the firstphoto shoot, because that was the beginning of our beautiful collaboration and therefore memorable that I cherish.

5. As we can tell, you’ve already done several photo shoots together, so their must be a good/strong connection between eachother. Can you tell us what makes this collaboration so special that you have worked together so many times before?
@Merlin Sen: That’s right, we work together a lot. That’s because I like Mr Tjeerd’s work and he is very good at his photography, very accurate. It’s always fun and I feel made for me. That’s always important to me.
@Tjeerd Doosje: Yes, you’re absolutely right, there is a strong connection between eachother. It has also to do with the person Merlin is: cheerful and lively with a great sense of humor, easygoing and flexible. I already know in advance that beautiful photos will come out of the photoshoot, no matter what style or theme we have for the photoshoot. As I wrote before, Merlin loves the camera and vice versa. So shooting with Merlin is always a guarantee to success.

6. Which three things/places do you definitely want to do or visit (together)?
@Merlin Sen: We are planning to go to New York together soon. Super exciting and a lot of fun. It would still be nice to visit Milan and Paris. And of course combine the trip with photoshoots.
@Tjeerd Doosje: Our first trip abroad will be The Big Apple (New York) because of an international prize we will receive. Milan would be nice, visiting th̩ fashion city of Europe (and maybe visiting your office Рwink), as well as Berlin and/or Paris. We also talked about Curacao.

7. From the photos of you that are published in this magazine, which one is your favorite and why?
@Merlin Sen: It is very difficult to choose a favorite photo of Mr. Tjeerd. That’s because they are beautiful and natural. I like them all and that’s why I chose them for the publication.
@Tjeerd Doosje: That’s a tough one, because very photo we made has a story behind it. In that sense every photo is a favorite because it brings back those memories. If I’d really had to chose, I would go for Merlin (0907-2) because of Merlins intense gaze into the camera, which brings out Merlins beautiful, big, bright blue eyes so well.

8. What do you consider your biggest success so far? What are you most proud of?
@Merlin Sen:That is very, very difficult to mention. We’ve done a lot and worked together. We have done many photo competitions together with great results. Also many exhibitions and publications. But the biggest and exciting one is that we’re going to New York together soon and I’m allowed to come too. But I am proud of everything from the past 1.5 years. I am proud of everything: big or small success. Everything is beautiful.
@Tjeerd Doosje: That’s a hard one to me, because every success we’ve achieved is something of which I’m very proud of, whether it be highly ranked in a photocompetition or being exhibited abroad or being published in magazine like yours. It’s something we’ve done together. Maybe the biggest success is that we’ve found eachother and are able to work together despite the difficult times of the Covid-pandemic.

9. The theme of this publication is “Art & Fashion”. If you had to chose, which one would it be: art or fashion, and why?
@Merlin Sen: That is very difficult because art is completely different and you look at it differently than fashion. I do a lot of exhibitions together with Mr. Tjeerd and there are many Art photo requests. Fashion is something different and people look differently at those photos: it is more about what you are wearing. They are also different because of the more extreme and difficult (therefore more tiring) poses. Being a model is not as easy as it seems. It takes a lot of time and energy and a lot of creativity and that is usually underestimated. It is hard work together with a photographer. But it is also very nice when you later see the beautiful results and beautiful photos.
@Tjeerd Doosje: Fashion is art in itself because of the artistic way designers approach clothes in general. Taking pictures from a model with the intention of fashion, is an artform not every one understands due to the sometimes more extreme poses a model should take and the clothes a model is wearing. “Oldfashioned” art (fine-art) is more easygoing for the majority of people. To me it’s about the vibe a photo radiates: does it move me as a viewer. Writing this down makes me realise I cannot chose: I like both just because of the differences.

10. What’s your favorite style (to dress)?
@Merlin Sen: It’s really different. I like sports much more but I think that it still depends on my age. But a beautiful dress is always nice. Still, I like to wear regular jeans and a t-shirt nice and easy.
@Tjeerd Doosje: I interpret this more what I like to capture in a photo. I guess a lot of photographers have this in common that I like a model to wear any piece of headgear because it’s a nice prop a model can interact with. This can be part of a fashionlike photoshoot or a more casual photoshoot as well.

11. Which model/photographer is your role model/inspires you and why?
@Merlin Sen: I would like and hope that I can do a professional modeling job. It’s just a lot of fun work and I like being in front of the camera. I like a bit of attention so it really suits me. I get the inspiration from many other professional models like Gigi, so beautiful and professional but at the same time just nice girl.
@Tjeerd Doosje: To me Lindsay Adler is a photographer that truly inspires me, because of the way she shapes light and the way she lifts fashion photography to the next level. I had the pleasure of meeting her in person and attending a workshop with her. What struck me the most was that she has such a pleasant personality and has managed to keep it that way, despite the fact that she is famous in the world of fashion photography.

12. What’s your goal for, say, the next five years?
@Merlin Sen: The coming period will therefore be very hard work. Register with the modeling agencies. And of course many photo shoots to get even better and professional. I’m still exploring everything so I keep busy with everything that interests me in modeling work. Still a long way to go but to do everything with pleasure.
@Tjeerd Doosje: That’s a difficult one, since I’m already in the midst fifties (of age) and within five years I’m already in the sixties. My main goal would be still having pleasure in photographing, continuing working with Merlin and other models on a regular basis.

13. When do you think you’ve made it as a model/photographer, that you’ve reached your ultimate goal?
@Merlin Sen: I personally think when you have a big assignment to stop. But that’s not all, because that’s when everything really starts and then you have to show your professionalism and yourself from the best side and that is hard work. So I don’t think you ever reach your goal; what you need is to continuously develop as a model. But I think that counts for every profession.
@Tjeerd Doosje: I guess you can always raise the bar to a higher level and therefore the ultimate goal cannot be achieved, but is something you have to pursue. Thinking you’ve reached the ultimate goal hold you back in growing.

14. When not a model/photographer, I would be:
@Merlin Sen: If I weren’t a model, then I know for sure, I choose to become a veterinarian. I like them so much. I have a thing for animals since I was little. I am not afraid of any animal and I really like them. That seems like the perfect profession for me.
@Tjeerd Doosje: That’s an easy one for me: being a (math)teacher.

15. What would be your advice to a new and aspiring model?
@Merlin Sen: That you have to enjoy the work you choose to be a model, and of course work hard. If you do your profession with love and radiate it, you will go the farthest. Never start on things that you don’t support 100% yourself. Because that never works out.
@Tjeerd Doosje: Chose people around you that support you, where you feel comfortable with, including photographers. You’re a person, not a number. Follow your dreams despite what others think or say about you. Believe in yourself, see setbacks as a means of growth and beside all: have fun in doing modeling!

That was my pleasure to answer all questions for you. I really liked it. Thank you for your interview and beautiful publication.

Merlin Sen from Netherlands

I agree with Merlin: this interview was nice to do. Thank you for the beautiful publication: it’s a honor being in your fantastic magazine.

With kind regards,
Tjeerd Doosje (Studio Tjeerd), the Netherlands

Photo shot at the models home. Model: Merlin Sen

Photographer: Tjeerd Doosje
IG: studiotjeerd

Wardrobe Stylist: Rosalie Boonstra
IG: rosalieboonstra

Model: Merlin Sen
IG: xxmerlin_senx

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