Meet the New Founders

Evelyn Freja, Photographer

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New Founders is our new membership for emerging creators. Our first member highlight features New York based photographer and frequent NeueHouse collaborator, Evelyn Freja. View her work here.

What is your name, where are you from, where do you live now?
My name is Evelyn Freja (though my birth certificate reads “Evelyn Freya Reiter Hoffman”). I was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania but 2023 is my 10th year living in NYC!

What do you do?
I take photos for different brands and publications as well as different newspapers and magazines. A lot of these are based in NYC but lately I’ve been photographing more for European publications which is a really interesting, nice change.

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What is your earliest memory of your own creativity?
Growing up in the rural countryside, I would often play in the creek outside in my backyard with my older sisters. We would dig into the banks of the stream, grabbing handfuls of muddy clay that we would eventually sculpt into small figurines and leave to bake beneath the sun on our stoop. It was the first time I can remember creating something from essentially nothing.

What do you do when you’re in a creative rut?
Firstly I remember that it’s okay and is a totally natural part of the creative process. If I have time, I’ll head outdoors to my local park and just slow down in nature. If I’m in a time crunch, I’ll plug my headphones in and jam out for a bit while disconnecting from life’s expectations.

What’s been inspiring you lately?
I recently attended the Eddie Adams Workshop for photojournalists in upstate NY. A lot of the students attending were in their first and second year of college. They were young but have such enthusiasm for the work they’re creating. Instead of waiting for their place in the industry, they’re carving their own spots. I find that kind of passion so inspiring! The future looks bright.

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What person or piece of creative work has had an impact on your own?
I’m very lucky to have a partner who also is a freelance creative in the photographic industry. It is a great resource to be able to bounce ideas back and forth and talk through questions that may pop up. Over the years, they’ve helped me with everything from small constructive feedback to research and execution of larger projects.

What do you love about what you do?
Being able to meet people in situations and environments that I normally wouldn’t be in or necessarily have access to is one of the things I most love about being a photographer. Each shoot is like stepping into a new world where I get to learn a little bit about what goes on in the subject’s field.

How do you approach passion projects differently than you might approach your commissioned/professional work?
When I’m hired by a brand or publication to photograph someone, it’s always so important to remember I’m representing them. I never want to impose or overstay my welcome. For those shoots, I’ll research the subject matter lightly and usually go in from a neutral perspective. My own personal work and passion projects usually stem from months of heavy research and planning, where instead of someone hiring me and bringing me on to a team of editors or producers, I’m hiring myself and am wearing all these hats. No matter if a shoot is personal or commissioned, I’m always trying to pour every bit of love and creativity into it!

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What do you look for in a creative community?
Safe spaces where everyone can feel heard, seen, and understood are so important to me. I look for communities like NeueHouse that foster the ideas and connections and designs from creative individuals who may have different backgrounds and cultures but who are all driven forward by their passions.

NeueHouse in 5 words or less:
Collective family built on togetherness.