Vagus Magazine Spring 2021 Feature Story
MARIA BODIL is an Amsterdam-based creative duo focusing on creative direction, film, and photography. The name is derived from their founders, Lieve Maria Eek and Marthe Bodil Vos. Their strong conceptual abilities have enabled them to produce exceptionally outstanding work that can be appreciated across many artistic disciplines.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The duo consists of Lieve Maria Eek (@lieve.eek) and Marthe Bodil Vos (@marthebodil), who officially founded their creative agency ‘Maria Bodil’ 3 months ago after working together to produce creative projects for a number of years!
How long have you two been working together? When did you start your creative journey?
We’ve known each other since we were super young and kind of evolved our interests simultaneously. We started assisting each other on different creative projects. After a while, we realized we could do better teamed up, and we decided to launch Maria Bodil. This officially started about three months ago, but it all felt like a really natural decision.
What attracted you to this field of work?
Lieve: I really like to create things. Start from scratch and end up with something beautiful.
Marthe: I’m a really visual person. I realized that being able to tell a beautiful story in a visually pleasing way just gave me so much energy.
You have successfully grown your creative ideas into a business. What was that process like?
Lieve: Most ideas or plans for the future start with ‘hope and belief’. We had dreams about the future of Maria Bodil, but all those ideas and creative projects are still in our heads and the work has yet to be done. The next steps are a matter of taking yourself seriously, not being held back by uncertainty, and giving yourself the space to grow.
Have you ever had a different career in-mind than what you are pursuing now?
Lieve: Yes, before this I studied psychology. I have thought about many different things to do but things grew in this direction and I really love it.
Marthe: I studied economics and business at the university level, but I realized I needed to do something more hands-on and creative. After that, I went to fashion school, with the idea to start my own brand/business. The courses were really focused on visual communication, so photography and film were a logical step afterward. Within this context, I still feel the need to approach [film and photography] from a business point of view. I can also see us running a creative agency to apply our overall creative vision in multiple ways.
How do you use photography to express yourself?
Lieve: When I started photography I mainly made portraits of people with a certain kind of vulnerability. In this way, I got to know my camera and I could also express my own vulnerability. As I get older and learn more from life, I notice that my work tends to be more and more surreal. Vulnerability will always remain an important theme, but I may now be in a phase where I want to create my own world, which I am now also trying to do in my work.
Marthe: For me, photography is about creating your own reality. It is my way of looking at the world. I tend to show “the every day” abstractly and place things out of context. In this way, you could change people's perceptions.
You explore technology in a creative way, as seen in your projects “Road Tales”, “We Screen” and “Martian”.
For “Road Tales”, what steps did you take to pitch the concept to Volkwagen? Walk us through the storyboarding, and explain why you believe it’s important for children to stimulate their imaginations.
Lieve: Volkswagen wanted to contribute to society with a campaign. Nowadays advertising can be anything, so you are capable of thinking in literally every medium. To come up with an idea, I first looked for a clear problem around the theme of cars. I've always been interested in the effects of the smartphone on this generation and I think it has a huge effect on the development of children/teenagers. I remembered when I was young, I always looked out of the window and imagined whole story’s. The tunnels for me were comparable with a journey to the moon. Nowadays, children are glued to their phone and they don’t look outside anymore. That’s why we’ve created roadtales, location-based audio stories where kids are forced to use their imagination again.