22 Mar FRIENDS OF #HFFH: DESIREE ILLSINGER
Let me introduce you to @desi.strolls aka Désirée Illsinger. Despite her French name, Desi (as we have come to calm her) is a proud German who has spent majority of her life living in grand German cities, such as Hamburg and Munich. She takes amazing photographs, writes (look out for her first self-published novel coming soon to a book store near you), and is not afraid to hop on a plane and travel to far off places solo…Vancouver, Paris, and New York come to mind.
We met Desi in late 2015 at an Instameet in Munich. We were coincidentally there ticking off number 10 from our Wanderlist, “have a few beers at Oktoberfest in München, Germany,” with our friend Ant, and an Instameet was organized by the Munich IGers (if you’re not familiar with any of this lingo, we basically went for a walk around Munich with some local photographers). We quickly started chatting (to Desi) and exchanged contact details and Instagram handles (as one does). We’re sure glad we did, because fast forward several months later, when we happened to be back in Munich in early 2016, this time we stayed at Desi’s apartment, and went on a road trip, venturing off to nearby Neuschwanstein (where I took one of my favourite photographs to date) and Berchtesgaden with other local German and Austrian photographers, hiking in knee-deep snow.
We have made several friends this way, but it’s not often that we meet up with them on more than one occasion, and with our luck, Desi happened to be in Bali at the same time as us, just a few weeks ago. She joined us in “Ubuding” (read this post if you are not yet familiar with our invented term), venturing to waterfalls and rice terraces in hip orange VWs, and we definitely became Bali foodies together, devouring many delicious vegan meals in Ubud’s long list of delectable restaurants.
But then, on one of our last days in Bali, we met up for an experience that I will never forget. Desi wanted me to be the model for a photography assignment she was briefed on. Yes, me + model in one sentence.
Those that knew me pre-HFFH will remember that I favoured being on the backside of a camera lens – the side that didn’t involve posing, smiling and being captured, as I hated getting my picture taken. Stevo even recalls trying to take photos of me before this journey, and most of them ended up being my hand in front of the lens. I was insecure, self-conscious, and sometimes would cry at the thought of having my photo taken*
*I actually remember having a good ol’ cry the night before our company’s compulsory “mug shots” for the new website. Crazy to think about those days now…
…because then HFFH happened, and I’m not sure if it was me growing up with the entire experience, my turning 30 and realizing that I would never be as young as I am right now, or just my desire to keep our brand and the image we had created, alive, but getting my picture taken has become one of my favourite past times (unless of course I’m the one visualising the shot – Stevie knows not to mess with me when I mean business).
So when Desi asked me to be her model, unlike pre-HFFH Chanel would have, I didn’t even think twice. The two of us galavanted around Bisma Eight (probably the prettiest location we could’ve asked for) trying on the different clothes, and playing with poses and expressions. I love when Stevo takes my picture (obviously), but there was something special about the way Desi directed me and made me feel comfortable enough to be a completely carefree girl.
Desi will no doubt be traveling a ton more, and hopefully we get to meet up with her again, but if you are based in Germany (or the surrounds) and are looking for a portrait photographer, I couldn’t recommend her enough. You can browse some of her work below, check out her full portfolio here, or give her a follow on Instagram (only if you love seeing beautiful portraits in your feed, of course).