What is your earliest recollection of an image that stunned you or caught your attention to photography?
I’ve found, and still find, a lot of inspiration in paintings with imageries that are realistic and religious, like, for example, Caravaggio’s work. I enjoy the dramatic sceneries; the light and sensation of death in his paintings. The photographs my family took as a child also caught my attention, and as I grew older, I found an interest in nudes.
Your body of work is mostly portraits – what drew you to focus on this particular element of photography?
The idea of looking at somebody is attractive to me, and people do want to look at other people. To watch somebody and observe—their faces, movements and how they relate to the space around them.
Having done so many portraits as you have, do you feel that you’ve developed a deeper understanding of the emotional process people go through when having their picture taken and how to handle it?
In the moment of taking a portrait, depending on the person, some situations indeed are more comfortable than others. I wouldn’t say that I understand the emotional process they are going through, other than their concern about how they look. People think a million things so they might be thinking of, and not feeling, something utterly irrelevant during a shoot. Small changes in peoples eyes and facial expressions reveal a lot. And the same goes with their body language and how they carry themselves. If the person is ok with being portrayed, that sensation will be present, and I pick it up, which makes a session more enjoyable, and vice versa.
Are there particular things you look for in peoples face, or their overall appearance, when you assess how to photograph them?
I look at the shapes in their face and their body and the general charisma of the person. Some people always shine in pictures. I guess it depends a lot on how relaxed they are with themselves the moment the image is captured.
Is there a specific image or photographer you keep returning to for inspiration or recall of why you got into photography in the first place?
Yes, there are quite many. I have a collection of images on my computer from artists that I enjoy, which I keep returning to for inspiration. And my father and my grandparents on my mothers’ side has been a great source of inspiration from my early childhood as they have always been keen photographers. Also, Instagram is excellent for finding new artists.
Using hard flash has evolved into an aesthetic on its own, and you use it regularly. Can you elaborate on the expression it creates?
It’s a combination of a very candid and revealing look, amazing colours, and the ability to genuinely freeze a moment.
Today everybody is a photographer (and not) – how has that affected your view on photography?
It’s interesting to observe how many random things and situations that get documented. Almost as, if it’s not a picture, it didn’t happen! But I think it’s great that there’s such a massive archive of information about our lives even if some motives become very repetitive. And of course, one can sometimes wonder if there really are recipients out there, for all that information. But overall, it’s terrific that we can shoot and share as much as we want. It’s reminiscent of the disposable camera from the ’80s, that suddenly made certain shots possible because you didn’t have to worry about ruining your camera.
Digital photography and editing have created a wealth of opportunities. But celluloid and darkrooms had its charms to those of us who grew up with it. Did you get to experience the “old world” and/or do you ever use some of the older techniques, materials and cameras?
When I started with photography, I developed my images in the darkroom, and I do still use analogue cameras; an Olympus Mju II and a Hasselblad. But the days in the darkroom are over.
In this collection, (to me) there’s an aura of human traits and physical resemblance. Is this true, or is it merely a subjective observation?
Well, I would say that’s your subjective observation, but a beautiful one.
Rooms have, like human beings, an expression of their own, so perhaps that’s what you sense when looking at them.