Ayla Maagdenberg Graphic designer & photographer from Amsterdam

Ayla Maagdenberg Graphic designer & photographer from Amsterdam

February 14, 2018

Tell us, who are you?

I’m Ayla Maagdenberg; a sensitive, athletic perfectionist, always on the hunt for great images. I work full time as a graphic designer at a small company called Overburen. Almost every year I have an unpaid leave of 1 to 2 months during which I pursue my other passion; looking trough my lens. I drag my photo gear all around the world.

Photo by @AylaMaagdenberg


When did you hear about The Bamboo Brush Society?

In December 2016 I was traveling in Myanmar with my friend Natasa Lops. She asked me to take some photos for this awesome toothbrush brand, for their Instagram account. So we chased sunrises and sunsets to get some awesome shots. Since that trip I’m brushing with bamboo!


Photo by @AylaMaagdenberg

What do you think of the Bamboo toothbrush?

I love it when people have an idea and work really hard to make it happen. This kind of passion and devotion makes me very enthusiastic. It’s a beautiful product, both in its idealistic purpose and its design. And I’m a sucker for design.

Recently you were in Kathmandu for a very special project. What can you share about that?

Yeah! I volunteered for 5 weeks taking pictures for the Ombir Foundation. This organization is run by Mick Brocker, a 24-year old guy from Holland. He devoted his life to helping 11 orphans in Kathmandu who lost their house in the 2015 earthquake. A few weeks after Mick returned from his 7-month internship at the orphanage, the earthquake hit and destroyed the kids’ homes. They were living in a tent on the local soccer pitch. Not a great place to live, especially not for 11 small children. As nobody helped them Mick decided to halt his education, work fulltime to get money their way, and eventually leave everything in Holland to take care of the kids.

Mick made sure the children had a roof over their head again. But the apartment is very small and there was not enough money to feed the kids 3 meals a day. So Mick started raising funds to cover expenses and raise money to build a real house for the kids.

To get exposure and show people how their donations are spent, I went there to document everything. What an experience! Emotionally quite tough, but also intensely rewarding. The kids are so pure and capturing their daily routine and the world they live in was a treat. For them to let me come close with my scary big camera was really heartwarming.

I’m so proud I participated in something like this. Especially because they are building the house for the kids now. Mick managed to get enough money to really make it happen! Something that seemed impossible 2 years ago. In April 2018, the kids will be moving and I’m so happy they’ll have a warm home, good meals, and an education. This way they can all be independent grown-ups one day.


Mick Brocker, Kathmandu, Photo by @AylaMaagdenberg

What is the best spot you have ever brushed your teeth at?

I’m addicted to sunrises. So there are a lot of places that blew my mind at that time of day. Just me, my travel buddy, and the complete silence around us. While everybody is sound asleep. The colors, the silence, the animals awakening… The best experience was in Bagan, Myanmar. I was moved to tears of how beautiful this place is. (especially when you’re floating in a hot air balloon).

Photo by @AylaMaagdenberg


Even on a touristic island in Thailand, which was absolutely not the happiest travel experience I had. I got up very early, when all the party people went to sleep. I Put my camera in an under-water case and entered the water when it was still dark. For an hour I just floated there until the sun came up behind the island. I could just jump in the air because of what I witnessed. An ear-to-ear smile!


Photo by @AylaMaagdenberg


What project this year are you most excited about?

Well actually this is my ‘year of no fear’. This is the year I turn 30 and it’s time to do everything I’ve been wanting to do for so long but was always too ‘afraid’ to do. One of the biggest achievements is starting my own business as a freelance photographer. And I’m happy to say it’s going pretty well.

You’re somehow suddenly in charge of saving the planet. Which 4 persons would be by your side? (can be anyone in the world)

NO! You should never let me be in charge of something so big. That kind of weight on my shoulders would kill me.

Tell us your best travel story?

Oh my… the best. Well I really great experience was at Sigirya (Lions Rock, Sri Lanka). Natasa and I watched the sunset. We were the last ones to leave and we were walking back down when, all of a sudden, we heard a real loud noise coming our way. Something was screaming and running. We looked at each other and then looked back. Behind us were hundreds of monkeys, ready to go home after a day at the rock. Running past us at the stairs, sliding on the rail, and giving us very extreme stares. I was frozen… from fear, but also from excitement. This was so intense! It took a couple of minutes before they had all passed us and we started laughing and screaming. What the hell had just happened?!

Any books, documentaries, films or series you lately watched and like to recommend?

I recently watched ‘Tales by light’, about photographers that take risks to take awesome pictures. And I’m a sucker for passionate people. Now I’m watching ‘Abstract’, a series that shows creative people and their jobs. How insanely deep their passion is coalesced with their lives. I like it how beautifully intense their look at the world is.

Share your best photo on your phone! Make us laugh

I was shooting a mommy to be on the Veluwe. She asked me if I had some nice clothes to wear. I had this nice black dress, so I tried if it was stretchy enough for a pregnant belly. The pillow made it look so weird shaped I laughed so hard I cried…
The dress made the photos though. Her belly looked perfect in it :)




Last question… Where would you go if you can pick any destination?

Mmm, that’s so difficult. My list keeps growing and growing. That list goes from Scotland to Canada and Micronesia, and from Jordan to Papua New Guinea and Hawaii.

But number one at this point is Iceland, where I’m going with my mom. We both love photography, so I think we will enjoy ourselves.

- end

Make sure to follow @AylaMaagdenberg on Instagram and visit her website for all her latest projects.




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