What a glorious adventure the past 18 months have been for talented Mom Maven Bonnie Van Geel, the creative force behind @PepperPics. Hailing from her hometown in Southern Netherlands, Bonnie is a fashion lover in every sense of the word; a true visual artist and graphic designer. Honing in on her extraordinary talent, Bonnie has built a stage where she and her daughter, Pepper, can let their imaginations soar and express themselves freely through art, fashion and photography. The ever growing popularity of social media has made it possible for Bonnie and her daughter to connect with brands and creatives around the world, fueling their inspiration daily. The mother/daughter duo have captivated followers on Instagram from all corners of the world and have attained monumental attention from the most desired children’s fashion labels in the industry. This incredible journey has placed Bonnie and Pepper on a path of new experiences and travel, but most importantly sweet mother/daughter memories that will last a lifetime.
MINI MAVEN: Where do you find inspiration for your photography concepts?
BONNIE VAN GEEL: Everywhere.
MM: How do you and Pepper prepare for a shoot?
BG: I prepare without her. I make sure everything is ready so she just has to come, put the clothes on, do her hair and start shooting.
MM: Pepper is your 7 yr old daughter & muse. Seems the two of you have such a lovely bond! Can you tell us what it’s like working together?
BG: It’s the best. The fact that I can share this with my girl is the most amazing thing. We were already close but this makes us even closer. It’s just the two of us and doing something you love together with the person in life you love most is just amazing. We are creating memories with each other that not a lot of parents can say this in this way. We have traveled through Europe, have been to Vienna, London, Barcelona, Lisbon and Paris in 6 months time and did so many other great things because all of this.
MM: Do you or Pepper have a favorite artist that you like to listen to when shooting?
BG: Pepper is a Justin Bieber fan, me too! But, she can’t stand still when hearing music, so we end up turning it off sometimes.
MM: You mentioned up until a year ago you only used your iphone for photography. What kind of camera do you use now? Is there a lens that you favor over others?
BG: Yes, it’s true, I only used my iPhone!! After my first ‘real’ shoot which I did with a friends camera I decided I needed to get more professional. It was about a year later when brands started noticing us. I have a Canon 6D with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. It’s quite an universal lens which you can use for portrait but also for landscape. So I don’t have to switch lens that often.
MM: How old was Pepper when you began your Instagram account? Did you get approached by brands, or was it a local shop?
BG: I was asked to do a guest blog for Kindermodeblog.nl. Pepper was 4 and it just started as a fun thing to do. Completely nothing like where we are today. We often got something from a blog that we needed to shoot as well, but that was it.
MM: We worked together on Fairy Tale Muse for the Iconic Issue and now Gracefully Poised for Style & Grace. Can you share your creative process?
BG: It works different for every editorial but with Fairy Tale Muse I immediately thought of books. Escaping in books. So I started looking for children’s books that I really liked. When I had a selection I starting thinking of brands that could go with the theme of the book. I then reached out to them directly or with the help of your editor. I love combining, mixing and matching. From there I visualize looks and pictures in my head, And after the shoot I started looking for backgrounds that matched the looks and the books.
MM: Do you ever worry about Pepper being in the spotlight? Does she like it?
BG: Yes, sometimes. But I see how much she likes this. Otherwise I would not do it. And I can make this as much fun for Pepper as possible.
MM: Your work is getting noted and recognized! Do you imagine you may take things to the next level with your photography and art?
BG: I’m always imagining this. I really hope we can. I’m always thinking of ways to do so. This is what I want to do. Especially the editorial shootings. Thinking of a story, finding the brands and looks to get this story visualized and editing the pictures to make them ‘special’. I really hope I can expand this and get to a next level in the near future.
MM: Does Pepper want a sibling?
BG: Yes. She would love to have a baby sister or (second choice) brother.
MM: What do you think of Mini Maven Magazine?
BG: I love this magazine. I love the look and feel. And I am a magazine addict! I often think why there isn’t a similar magazine in the Netherlands. We don’t have these kind of magazines really focused on kids fashion. Maybe I should start one. 😉