What got you into photography?
Photography has always been nearby since my father was a freelance press photographer. Initially I never thought of becoming a photographer, I was more into drawing and painting. I ended up in art school but it didn’t work for me though and after quitting and jumping into the reality pool that life is, I started assisting a fashion photographer and doing an evening course photography in the royal academy. It was the 90’s and it was an exciting time for fashion photography. There was this big new wave that was happening in the fashion imagery and it triggered me and got me interested in the medium. It seemed everything was possible and anything could work out to become a great fashion picture.
You take pictures for editorials, of fashion, of music and portraits. Are one of these your most favorite ones? What do you like about fashion photography?
In general I love each of these aspects of photography, I don’t consider myself a fashion photographer, that box is way too small.
What excites me in fashion photography is the directional part, the whole process is like a micro movie set. There are many decisions to take before getting to the final stage, the actual shooting. It’s also interesting to try to push it a bit further so you don’t end up with just a nice picture with a beautiful girl and great looking clothing. The image should make you wonder, make you create your own story or in contrast show you some reality. That’s why I also love to work with nonprofessional models. Or to approach a fashion story as portrait session.
What’s the biggest difference in these kinds of photography?
The amount of people on set.
How do you get inspired?
Can be anything, snapshots, a movie, a walk, a talk, … . Traveling also inspires, not specifically for the places you visit but also for the isolation part of traveling alone. When traveling you’re more focused on your thoughts and less distracted by daily life.
How does a normal day look like for you?
When I’m not actually shooting then it’s all about pre or post production related activities. And also lots of reading, research, meetings, lunch, playing with my son, hanging with my family, you know just living.
What do you do in the weekends?
My week and weekends often blend into each other, they are one. Although lately I’ve been trying to keep the weekends specifically work free and family focused.
You were one of the first official stadsfotografen of Antwerp. What does that imply exactly?
Together with 4 other photographers (Patrick De Roo, Elisabeth Broekaert, Dan Zolman & Maarten vanden Abeele) I was asked by Roger Szmulewicz (gallery 51) to document Antwerp how we see it, experience it, and this for a period of 2 years. I thought it was an interesting exercise to document my hometown, the place you’ve come to take for granted. It was exciting to go look for the little surprises in the so familiar landscape.
Are you planning on staying in Antwerp?
I love Antwerp as long as you’re able to travel once in a while, otherwise it tends to become very small, but it will always be home I guess.
Where will you be hanging out this summer?
Not sure yet, I’m working on some projects so my travels might be related to those, but in general I like to stay in Antwerp during the summer, it gets so calm and peaceful here, I prefer to travel after the summer.
Courtesy of essentiel-antwerp