Marieke Verdenius: Building a professional network one piece of cake at a time

Conversation with Marieke Verdenius, Amsterdam-based photographer and founder of The Gatherists, a community for freelancing creatives.



Creative Entrepreneurship

10 Jun 2024

Marieke’s style is unmistakable, from photography to art direction and styling, every image that she captures reflects her calm, timeless, and elegant aesthetic. We connected with Marieke as she is driven by a similar motivation: Bringing independent creatives together. With The Gatherists, Marieke founded a vivid community of freelancers who meet in beautiful places and share their experiences. The fact that Marieke is a successful interior photographer of course helps with finding exceptional locations. In our interview, Marieke shares her story of becoming an established interior and lifestyle photographer and how community has shaped her career as a freelancer.

Portrait of Marieke by Fanny Olsthoorn

From Food Styling to Photography

Marieke, how did you end up where you are today?

I always imagined myself thriving in the magazine world. However, life had other plans, and after completing my studies in fashion and marketing, I found myself unsure of my next steps. I began working in a bakery, where my passion for food deepened. This experience unexpectedly opened doors to a culinary photography studio, which perfectly aligned with my interests in food and photography. I grew into the role of an editorial assistant for a culinary magazine and started to work with all kinds of freelancers until I ended up working for the magazine of Jamie Oliver. First, as an editorial assistant. But finally, I also created culinary productions, made travel guides, and interviewed very cool international chefs. I started working as a food stylist and also did a bit of photography. But it took a few months before I called myself a photographer and started working as one.

Amsterdam's Creative Pulse

What is life like for you in Amsterdam, and how has it influenced your work?

Well, initially I didn’t like Amsterdam because it's way too busy for me. I'm not really an introvert but I'm a sensitive person. Though initially overwhelming, the city proved to be a vibrant and energizing place for me.

Some people may say the people of Amsterdam are arrogant, but its creative pulse and dynamic atmosphere have always pushed me forward.

Living here allows easy access to cafes and cultural spots, which is perfect for someone who appreciates both the bustle of the city and the tranquility of personal space. My home’s calm, neutral interior provides a soothing contrast to the city’s lively energy, influencing the serenity and simplicity in my photography.

A Community of Freelancers

Tell us about the community you’ve built with The Gatherists and what it means to you.

Bringing people together has always come naturally to me, even from a young age when I would organize gatherings and cook for friends. This inherent trait carried over into my freelance career, where I faced the challenge of creating a community in what is often a solitary profession. Together with a friend, we began by hosting small, intimate gatherings at my former studio, inviting friends for coffee and cake to foster connections and discussions that we all missed in our busy lives.

The response was very positive, and it reinforced my belief in the power of community.

People genuinely appreciated the chance to be heard, share their experiences, support each other, and discuss both their successes and their failures.

This interaction shows that while our work can be individual, the human connection is invaluable. It makes us all more human, fostering mutual support that extends beyond mere work discussions to personal growth and shared experiences.

I believe in the strength of community, especially in today's fast-paced world where technology often dominates. Bringing people together, whether on a local or international scale, enhances our lives and work. Personal, face-to-face interactions help us, it’s about genuine connections without the filters of social media. This is something I am passionate about, and I find great joy in facilitating these connections, making community building a fulfilling part of my career.

The Creative Professional Network

What advice would you offer to aspiring photographers?

Photography, like any art form, is deeply personal and varies per individual. Some may prefer formal education, while others, like myself, thrive on intuitive learning. My advice is to explore and experiment—engage with your surroundings, take inspiration from established artists, and don’t shy away from collaboration. Embrace the process without focusing solely on technical skills; allow your creativity to unfold naturally, which can later be refined by technical understanding.


Marieke's journey from aspiring magazine professional to an established interior and lifestyle photographer and community builder is a testament to following one's intuition and embracing the organic flow of career and life. Her experiences underscore the crucial role that community plays in the creative industries, especially for freelancers.


Marieke Verdenius' Website Instagram

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