Affordable Art Fair Maastricht 2014

Affordable Art Fair Maastricht

The Affordable Art Fair will be in Maastricht for the first time!  This edition of the Affordable Art Fair  will take place from Thursday 3th of April to Sunday 6th of April 2014.

I will be there also with new work from my “Exodus series” represented by Gallery Pien Rademakers at booth 42.

And it’s for the first time that I will do (a sort) of interview together with Daan Zuijderwijk on Saturday at 16.00h. I don’t know exactly what to expect, because it’s a new initiative called the LAB project space, but it’s going to be fun!

Quote: “The LAB project space is a  mix of interviewsmeetingsguided tours and short films. Every art lover, passionate expert, entrepreneur, or academic will have the chance, to learn, share and discover more about the art world and see the Affordable Art Fair from new and different perspective”.

So there you have it 😉  I’m looking forward to seeing you!

Have fun and enjoy the fair.

For more information:

  • http://www.galeriepienrademakers.nl
  • http://affordableartfair.com/

Realisme Amsterdam

Realisme Amsterdam

Upcoming artfair

Passenger Terminal, Amsterdam
16.01.2014 – 19.01.2014

Gallery Pien Rademakers will show new works by Evert Thielen, Edgar Verhoeven, Flokje van Lith, Josephine de Saint Seine, Natasja van der Meer and Femke Teussink.

Visiting hours

Thursday 16th  until sunday 19th of januari 2014
daily from 11.00 until  19.00

Please contact info@galeriepienrademakers.nl if you’re interested in free  tickets.

The Sacrifice

Masters of LXRY

Upcoming Art Fair

 

Masters of LXRY

RAI, Amsterdam

12.12.2013 – 16.12.2013

 

Galerie Pien Rademakers will participate in Masters of LXRY for the 4th time. This time in an unique collaboration with Piet Boon.

On Business Monday, December 16, we will organise a Leading Ladies drink at our stand starting from 15.00, for all our enterprising female connections.

Interested in joining us at Masters of LXRY? Please send an email to info@galeriepienrademakers.nl

 

Affordable Art Fair Amsterdam

Affordable Art Fair - Follow your art

I’m glad to announce that for the first time, I will participate in an art fair.

The 8th edition of the Affordable Art Fair Amsterdam will take place from Thursday 31st of October to Sunday 3rd of November 2013.

So if you happen to be in the neighborhood, please come by at booth D17.  There you will find Gallery “Pien Rademakers” who is representing my work as a “new talent”.

You can also see the work of two other new talents: Annick Meijer and Flokje van Lith.

Have fun and enjoy the fair!

 

For more information:

  • http://www.galeriepienrademakers.nl
  • http://affordableartfair.com/

AAF_Pien Rademakers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibition “Paerlen van de Swijnen”

PAERLEN VAN DE SWIJNEN Foto: Jacqueline Louter Hoos

You are welcome to the following exhibition of fine art photography: “Paerlen van de Swijnen”.

There are works to be shown of students, alumni, mentors and teachers of the Photo Academy in Rotterdam. Below you’ll see an impression of the exhibition. De Photo’s are from Jacqueline Louter Hoos and Mark Brants:

The following wonderful video is made by: Jesse Bom, Eli Dijkers and Jael Bom.

Paerlen van de Swijnen from KNORFOTO on Vimeo.

 

For more info:

http://www.knorfoto.nl

 

In Dutch:

Knorfoto zal op 6 september 2013 een unieke en grootschalige expositie openen in De Fruitvis, een stoer gebouw op een fantastische plek in de Rotterdamse Fruitport. Gelegen aan de Marconistraat 43, 3029 AH Rotterdam. De Fruitvis grenst direct aan de Merwehaven en is industrieel, rauw en puur Rotterdams.

International Fine Art Photography competition 2013 nomination

Pig

Grand prix de la découverte 2013

Look what I’ve found  in my e-mail:

[testimonials] [testimonial avatar=”” name=””]

“Dear Edgar,

It is with great pleasure that the International Fine Art Photography Competition announces that you are a Grand Prix de la Découverte finalist in the Experimental category with your image entitled “Pig.”

The jurors selected this image from nearly 5000 photographs for its artistic quality and originality. Congratulations! This award is a tribute to your talent as a fine art photographer and to the ability of your image to capture a diverse jury’s attention.”

[/testimonial] [/testimonials]

 

I’m really delighted to be nominated !

For people who don’t know what this is about: The International Fine Art Photography Award (“Grand prix de la découverte”) is a competition with a clear mission—to celebrate fine art photography and discover new talent.

As a finalist my image will be:

  • Exhibited at the Paris Salon de la Photo (November 2013), visited by more than 80,000 photography lovers.
  • Accepted into the prestigious collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France
  • Exhibited in the Grand Prix de la Découverte online gallery and social media community

I think it’s nice to see that a more or less surreal photograph is being chosen in the experimental category! Who would have thought?

 

There are also other great finalist with terrific art. You can see them below.

If you would like to know more about this price: https://www.internationalfineartphoto.org

 

Vive la france,

 

Edgar Verhoeven

Finalists Fine Art Photography Award 2013
Finalists Fine Art Photography Award 2013

Article Focus Magazine August 2013

Focus Magazine Cover August 2013

Interview in ‘Focus photography magazine’

I’ve been interviewed for the August edition of “Focus Magazine”. The article includes a small portfolio and two seperate pages containing “the making of”. I explain how I create my images using, photography,  3D computer imagery and photoshop.
Now available in every newsstand or bookstore in Holland.

The front cover of this edition is by Ruud van Empel and there’s also a nice article about his work.

Check it out:

http://focusmedia.nl/magazine/edities/huidige

 

Regards,

Edgar Verhoeven

Nomination Photo Academy Award 2013

I am glad to announce that I have been nominated 2 times for the PhotoAcademy Award 2013.

A total of 141 photographers submitted work, from 21 photography courses in the Netherlands and Belgium. There are 48 nominations this year in various categories, spread over 26 young photographers from 20 Dutch and Flemish photography courses.

Follow this link to see photographs that have been nominated:

http://www.photoacademyaward.com/2013/edgar-verhoeven-3/

 

Nomination Photo Academy Award 2013
Nomination Photo Academy Award 2013

 

 

Edgar Verhoeven

 

 

Videos of the SummerExpo 2013

It appears that there was quite a lot of media attention for the summer exhibition 2013. I have collected some videos which gives an impression of the event. The first four videos were broadcast on TV for the program: “Avro’s Kunstuur”.
The exposition can be seen until the 15th of September.

Enjoy.

Avro’s Kunstuur SummerExpo 2013 Episode 1

Get Microsoft Silverlight
Bekijk de video in andere formaten.

Avro’s Kunstuur SummerExpo 2013 Episode 2

Get Microsoft Silverlight
Bekijk de video in andere formaten.

Avro’s Kunstuur SummerExpo 2013 Episode 3

Bekijk de video in andere formaten.

Avro’s Kunstuur SummerExpo 2013 Episode 4

Get Microsoft Silverlight
Bekijk de video in andere formaten.

First preliminaries in Eindhoven

[youtube id=”L2UoeoJqg2Q” width=”800″ height=”450″]

 

Second preliminaries in Rotterdam

[youtube id=”HH4fpOCF3K0″ width=”800″ height=”450″]

 

Third preliminaries in Amsterdam

[youtube id=”uRa3_3kMpnI” width=”800″ height=”450″]

 

Opening ZomerExpo 2013

Yesterday was the opening of the ZomerExpo/SummerExpo 2013 in the Gemeentemuseum of The Hague.

This is the third SummerExpo to be held by the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and Stichting ArtWorlds. SummerExpo is the Netherlands’ biggest open-entry art exhibition. The theme of this year’s show is Earth, a subject that has inspired a multitude of artists over past centuries. A jury of artists, journalists, art critics, gallery holders and museum curators has selected 239 works for inclusion. The wide range of paintings, photographs, sculptures and installations on show give an impression of Earth in all its many manifestations. The show will run from 8 June to 15 September.

I’m proud to be included this year as one of the artists. Below you’ll find an impression of the Expo.

For more information, see:

http://www.zomerexpo.nl

http://www.gemeentemuseum.nl

FotoFestival Naarden Festival-Off 2013

Friday 19 April – The shops, housed in ‘The Arsenal’ in Naarden-Vesting, show the
work of 11 Photo Academy students and alumni during Festival-OFF, both
inside, on the first floor, and on the outside.
The participating photographers are: Franshoek, Vincent Houtman, Godelieve Krekelenberg,
Ingrid Putker, Edwin Rontberg, Jeroen Quick, Sabrina Scarpa, Laura Schapendonk, Robert
Tamara, Edgar Verhoeven and Frans Viegen.

Festival-OFF
The OFF Festival in Naarden existed since the second Photo Festival in 1991, when The Photo Group Delta-F  had their exhibition in a shop window on the Markstraat under the
name “Festival-OFF. The initiative has grown into a collective of both professional and amateur photographers who organise their own exhibition during The Photo Festival Naarden. The name-OFF Festival is ‘borrowed’ from the known photo festival in Arles, France. More information about the Festival OFF and various exhibition venues can be found on www.festival-off.nl.

 

Festival-off2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Festival-plattegrond

A true story…

I can still remember like it was yesterday. I was walking down the street and suddenly a black cat crossed over. Although I’m not superstitious, I do not want to tempt fate. I tried to stop the cat before he reached the other side. Afraid for the unlikely but nevertheless very real chance that I would be struck by lightning or any other uncommon but lethal accident. A flower pot could suddenly fall from the sky on my head. Or I might stumble into a manhole without a cover. Actually, I can image lots of these ‘accidents’ with unfortunate endings. So why would I take a chance with destiny?

I started running like crazy. To try to reach the other side before the cat did. A matter of pure speed and agility on my part and (hopefully) sheer surprise on his part. The cat was so shocked by my sudden movement that he stopped in his tracks wondering what the hell I was doing. But before he realized what was happening, I had reached the the other side already.

My mission was successful. I outwitted the black cat and I outwitted fate. And there we were, standing like statues, looking at each other .

And this is the part where most people walk away because they do not believe me. But on the grave of the cat, I swear this is a true story!

This is what happened. The cat looked straight at me and beckoned me with its paw. At first I thought it was a pure random movement, but there, he did it again! Come here he signaled me….

At the risk of of sounding like a compulsive neurotic idiot, I believe that if you walk up to a black cat, it does not have the same effect as when one crosses your path. You are namely the one that takes action instead of the cat. The laws of accidental fatal events do not apply in this scenario. Anyway, I’m not superstitious, so I walked to the cat.

I should have known better. I was less than three footsteps away and I was already hit by a passing car. I was stone-dead.

I was told later that I was still conscious for a few minutes, but it didn’t last long. They took me with the animal ambulance to the vet, but I had already given up this earthly life before the vet could reanimate me. I was just another stray labrador that was hit by a speeding car.

Life and death, seem unfathomable. I expected that my light would extinguish and disappear into the big black nothing. But instead, my life-spark traveled through the great unknown.

After a journey that spans vast oceans of time and space, I ended up as a reincarnation of Edgar Verhoeven. Artist, bon vivant and professional dreamer.

I can remember everything from former self, but apart from that, I’m doing fine. Sometimes I have the urge to cry to the moon, but that’s it. Life’s been pretty good to me. Meanwhile, the cat and I have grown inseparable. Friends for life. Although he actually killed me, I’m still grateful for his presence.

My name is Edgar Verhoeven and this my world. If you are doubting any of my adventures  (and I do not blame you if this is the case), you can always have a look at my photographs…..

 

 

In Dutch:

Ik kan het me nog als de dag van gisteren herinneren. Ik liep over straat en daar stak ineens een zwarte kat over. Alhoewel ik niet bijgelovig ben, wil ik het lot niet tarten.  Ik probeerde de kat ervan te weerhouden zijn pad te vervolgen. Bang voor de onwaarschijnlijke doch zeer aanwezige kans dat ik door een toevallige dodelijke gebeurtenis getroffen zou worden. Zoals een bloempot die opeens vanuit de lucht op je hoofd valt. Of een putdeksel die los zit en zodat je meters diep naar beneden valt. Ik kan me nog een heleboel andere toevallige gebeurtenissen voorstellen die akelig aflopen. Dus voorkomen is beter dan genezen zeg ik altijd?

 

Ik zette het op een sprinten. Ik probeerde voorlangs de kat te komen, voordat hij de straat over was. Een kwestie van pure snelheid en behendigheid mijnerzijds en pure verassing zijnerzijds. De kat was zo geschrokken van mijn plotselinge spurt dat hij stokstijf bleef staan, zich afvragend waar ik in hemelsnaam mee bezig was. Maar voordat hij doorhad wat er aan de hand was, stond ik al aan de overkant.

Ik had het gered, mijn missie was geslaagd. k was ‘m te slim af.  Triomfantelijk mag ik wel zeggen.  En daar stonden we dan, aan weerszijden van de straat.

En dit is het gedeelte waar de meeste mensen afhaken, omdat ze het niet geloven, maar op het graf van de kat, ik zweer dat dit werkelijk waar gebeurt is.

Hij keek me recht aan en wenkte me met zijn voorpoot. Eerst dacht ik dat het een pure willekeurige beweging was, maar hij deed het nog een keer. Kom dichterbij leek de kat te wenken.

Op het gevaar af dat ik als een dwangmatige neuroot overkom, geloof ik erin dat als jij naar een zwarte kat toeloopt, dit niet hetzelfde effect heeft als een zwarte kat die je pad kruist. Jij bent namelijk diegene die actie onderneemt in plaatst van de kat. De wetten der toevallige dodelijke gebeurtenissen gelden volgens deze logica dan niet meer. Maar goed, ik ben niet bijgelovig, dus ik liep naar de kat toe.

Ik had beter moeten weten. Ik was nog geen meter onderweg en ik werd al geschept door een voorbijkomende auto. Hij heeft me morsdood gereden.

Het schijnt dat ik nog wel een paar minuten bij bewustzijn was, maar het heeft niet geholpen. Met de dieren ambulance werd ik naar de dierenarts gebracht, echter voordat hij me kon reanimeren, had ik de geest al gegeven. Ik was gewoon de zoveelste loslopende labrador die was aangereden.

Het leven en de dood, blijken ondoorgrondelijk. In plaats dat mijn levenslicht uitdoofde en verdween in het grote niets, ben ik als een vonk door ruimte en tijd gereisd, waar ik na een ogenschijnlijke eeuwigheid

ben terechtgekomen als reïncarnatie van Edgar Verhoeven. Kunstenaar, levensgenieter en dromer pur sang.

Ik heb nog wel eens de aanstekelijke drang om naar de maan te huilen, maar verder dan dat gaat het eigenlijk best wel goed met me. De kat en ik zijn inmiddels onafscheidelijk.  Vrienden door dik en dun. Ik denk wel dat er bij de kat een soort van schuldgevoel aan ten grondslag ligt bij onze vriendschap. Maar goed, ik ben toch dankbaar voor zijn aanwezigheid.

Mijn naam is Edgar Verhoeven en dit is de wereld waarin ik leef. Mocht je enige twijfel hebben aan de dingen die ik mee maak (en ik neem het je niet kwalijk als dit het geval is), heb ik altijd de foto’s nog als bewijs……

 

Fotoritim

Fotoritim is a Turkish foto website that published an article (a short biography) about me. You can check it out here:

http://www.fotoritimdergi.com/edgar-verhoeven-populer-gercekcilik

Cheers,

Edgar

Biography

A website that is going to publish an article about me, asked me for a biography and I realised that I didn’t have one!

So I wrote one and here it is….

Early childhood

I was born in 1970, in the Netherlands in a town called Dordrecht.

When I was about 11 years old, I can remember that I ‘borrowed’ my fathers 8mm film camera. I tried to make a sort of special effects ‘movie’. The idea was that a friend of mine would act as if he was a magician casting a spell. He was waving his hands around an object in a mysterious way. I would stop filming and my friend would stay completely still. Like a frozen statue. Then I would remove the object and started filming again upon which my friend started waving his arms again. When you looked at the complete scene it would appear that the object vanished into thin air.

It was magical….. Well at least to me, because when my father found out that I had messed with his expensive film, he wasn’t too happy.

The lost days

Fast forward ten years into the future…..I was studying physics. To be honest, I wasn’t too happy back then. It took me a year to find out that physics wasn’t just for me. I was looking for the ‘secret’ of the universe, for the wonder of it, but somehow studying physics didn’t give me the answers I was looking for.

After quitting physics, I really didn’t have a clue what I should be doing next?

So, I took a psychological test that evaluates who you are and what you would like to do as a profession. It turned out that I should be a photographer or a painter. I couldn’t believe it! That was something I never rationally considered. Sure I fooled around with a camera as a kid, but that was just playing. I thought it was ridiculous. Not only me, but my father expected me to study something ‘significant’. Art wasn’t significant in his opinion. An artist has no money, has no future. His idea was that I should succeed in life. Be a businessman or somebody important. It was okay to do photography as a hobby. But I should get a serious job. A responsible job. Fun was something for on the side.

So I ignored the results from the psychology test. I ignored my intuition. And most crucial of all I ignored having fun and went on to study…… psychology.

At this point you might ask, why psychology? I’m not sure if I have an answer. Perhaps on a subconscious level I was seeking for a meaning in life. An existentialist undercurrent perhaps.

Once in a while my creative side took over. So I took another sharp turn and studied electric guitar at the Conservatory for a year. But finally I finished my psychology studies and went on to work as an……..ITC consultant.

Sounds logical right? Those were the lost days…..

Finding Meaning

Fast forward another fifteen years. I was having that career that is supposed to be the holy grail of modern times. I wasn’t still too happy though. I just couldn’t figure out why? I was successful in life after all? But that’s a matter of how you define ‘success’.

Luckily things started to come together when I met the love of my life. Not only did I fall in love with this wonderful woman, she also happened to be a hobby photographer with a real SLR camera!

Still attracted to the medium, I ‘borrowed’ her camera. First I borrowed it occasionally, later on this became indefinitely. I was feeling like a kid again. I was having such a good time that I frequently lost track of time. After a photography course, I decided to follow my intuition for once and follow up on that advice that was given to me so many years ago. So I went to the Photo Academy in Rotterdam.

It was here that I ‘rediscovered’ my true ‘meaning’ in life. The lost days were over. I realized that it has to do with following your heart. Do the things that you love to do. It also has to do with being a child again. You see, when I was young I wasn’t dreaming of a career, a mortgage or a judicious paycheck. I don’t think any kid dreams of these sort of things. But fore some reason or another that’s what you’ll end up doing. Chasing money.

But……although I was studying photography, it was still not completely what I wanted to do. You see, as a photographer you are more or less expected to take photographs of the ‘real’ world. But I soon found out that I wasn’t interested in reality. I was interested in the exact opposite. I wanted to catch that feeling of childhood wonder again.

Photography alone could not satisfy my needs. I mean, how do you take photographs of something that doesn’t exist?

Here’s where the computer comes in. It is this combination of photography and 3D computer imagery that makes it complete for me. It’s not only a matter of retouching a photograph or making a collage in Photoshop. It goes much further than that. It’s creating something that doesn’t exist in the first place and as real as possible.

Finding form

I have graduated from the Photo Academy in 2012. It’s here that I developed my own way of photography. My own way of looking at the world. But graduation is not the end of it. Quite the contrary, I have just begun my exploration. Thankfully it’s a vast universe to be explored.

What I have come to realize is that making a good image is staying true to yourself. It’s your own experience, imagination, fears, dreams and contemplations that make up an image.

Come to think of it, I’m not sure if what I’m doing can be considered photography. Not in the traditional meaning of the word anyway. Not only because I combine photography, image manipulation and 3D computer graphics. That’s just a technical thing. More importantly it’s because I place reality in a different perspective by creating a ‘hyperreality’ of sorts. A place where a sense of wonder is still allowed. I question reality, I question our usefulness and artificiality in our lives. It’s an existentialist journey perhaps. It’s about finding meaning.

So I have come full circle now. It took me some time to figure it out…. but finally I’m at that same ‘place’ when I was eleven years old. The only difference is that I have a few years of life experience that I can put into an image. My search for wonder continues, but now I have a medium to accompany me on my inner travels.

Zomerexpo 2013

The ‘Gemeentemuseum Den Haag’ and the foundation Artworlds  organize, for the third time, the Summer Expo (Zomerexpo) in the Netherlands. This is the biggest visual arts exhibition an artist can enter by means of an open enrollment.

There are three locations you can enter:

-Loods 6 in Amsterdam

-Las Palmas in Rotterdam

-and TAC in Eindhoven

For each location there are two rounds. When you are selected in the first round, you can go to the second round in the evening.

I showed up in Rotterdam at noon with three of my computer manipulated photographs. In the first round two works of mine were selected. After a long wait and exhilarating day another jury chose one of my works in the evening. Needles to say I was very glad that they chose me as one of the artists. Out of 3000 submissions, 250 works of art were finally chosen.

The work will be showed at an online gallery, and in the Gemeente Museum of the Hague from the 8th of June until the 15th of September.

The event will be broadcast on national television. It’s a program called ‘Avro’s kunst uur’, so who knows I will be on tv (hope not 😉

See for more information:

ZomerExpo

 

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Inspiration: The Shapeshifter

Most probably you have seen this one before because it’s quite popular on the internet and also the Vimeo staff pick, but I thought it was nice to share this one with you nonetheless.

This short movie is called “The Shapeshifter” and it is made by a studio called Charlex (or CHRLX for short).

I think it’s an amazing video that touches on some aspects of what I do. It’s a surreal rendering of impossible but believable imagery. Done entirely in the digital domain, it looks photorealistic but in an hyperreal sense of the word. I think that in essence it contrasts ‘human progress’ (in the form of machines and technology) with nature. I don’t know if this is coincidental or by purpose but that is the way I see it and is also a strong recurring theme in my work.  It also has a dark dreamlike quality to it that it reminiscent of my work probably (but you might disagree).

Enjoy this video and let it drift into another plane of consciousness.

If you want to see behind the scene footage or more of this company have a look at:

http://www.charlex.com/project.php?p=shapeshifter

 

New Website

It was about time, but here it is. My new website. So what do you think?

The old website wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t responsive. This means that it doesn’t show well on tablets and smartphones. More and more people are viewing websites on relatively small screens. I thought it was important to update this site, so you can actually see what going on.

I also took this opportunity to have a serious look at my portfolio. I eliminated almost half of my photographs (like the commercial stills and portraits) because they don’t seem to fit well with my latest work and the stuff I’m working on.

There is new material coming, so check out this site on a regular base. Also, I’m not exactly sure when, but this site will also support a web-shop in the near future.

Have a look around and please let me know if there’s something that you think is missing or could be better.

Regards,

Edgar

 

 

New Dutch Photography Talent 2013

I’m proud to announce that I’m selected as one of the “New Dutch Photography Talent 2013”.

This is a book featuring the best 100 emerging Dutch talents in 2013. Books soon available in retail.

Yesterday was the opening of the event. It was a very busy and fun night (around 800 people in the GUP Gallery), so much creativity in one room! 😉

If you want to see more, check out this link:

http://newdutchtalent.tumblr.com/post/41866637903/as-seen-in-new-dutch-photography-talent-2013

 

New Dutch Photography Talent book 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spread 1 New Dutch Photography Talent 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spread 2 New Dutch Photography Talent 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GUP Gallery 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GUP Gallery 2

 

 

 

 

Expo: SOURCE

SOURCE is a photoexposition in Spant! Gallery in Bussum. Graduation projects of 6 photographers from various branches of the art will be presented, all 6 focusing on one common topic: the SOURCE of their inspiration. Let us all meet at the starting point.

SOURCE shows the work of the following photographers (including me): Sylvia Blokl; Maaike De Boer De Wild;Welmer KeesmaatEdwin Rontberg;Tomasz Wieja Fotoilustracja

The exposition is open from 2 February until 30 april at: ’t Spant!: Kuyperlaan 3 Bussum.

See for further information: http://www.spant.org

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Young contemporary art

I think it was a year ago, that I stumbled upon a book called “The Upset: young contemporary art”. I didn’t know it then, but it was going to have an impact on what I was doing with photography.

I was just walking in this bookstore, heading for the photography section, because I wanted to buy a book on photography techniques. While I was making my way through the bookstore, my eye caught this glimpse of  a tree trunk with an eye in it. It took a few seconds, before this image got processed in my brain, but when it did, it made me stop. I walked back to where I saw this tree trunk and  this is what I saw:

The_Apology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Ryden – The Apology

 

It was the cover of the book I just mentioned.

I don’t know why it made me stop, but it did. I’m trying to think of a rational explanation, but it was more of a feeling than anything else. Something started to ‘ resonate’, but what?

First of all, I think it is beautifully painted. But what struck me was that it has this child like quality to it. Almost cartoonish. Perhaps because you see a young girl, but it also evokes a sense of wonder and mystery you’d normally wouldn’t see in a piece of art. It’s almost fairytale like, but with a darkness commonly not associated with fairytales (at least the Disney version of it).

Also I normally I don’t associate figurative paintings with contemporary art. But here it is,  a ‘strange’ image in my hands  and something is shifting in my brain.

According to the book, Mark Ryden belongs to this art movement called “lowbrow” or “pop-surrealism”. It’s a movement that has it’s roots in the underground scene. In street art, Graffiti etc. It’s called “lowbrow” because it is the opposite of “highbrow”, meaning fancy, sophisticated, elitist or intellectual. It’s an form of art that developed outside the ‘academic’ world of the arts. To me it sounded more basic, more primal. Perhaps in a sense more real.

This book was like some sort of catalyst for me. A year and a half ago I was thinking really hard on what sort of photographer I wanted to be. Is it commercial photography? Art Photography? Documentary? Fashion? I was really looking hard for an identity. And here I was confronted with highly skilled artists that make all of these images filled with a sense of wonder. Artists who are still in touch with that ‘magical world’  we inhabit as young children. They still have that ability to see wonder around us.

It wasn’t a grand revelation or anything. But slowly I realised that I really had to follow my own dreams and visualise them. In part their work made me focus on what I wanted to do with my photography.

So instead of buying this photography techniques book, I bought this book, with all of these wonderful artists. Perhaps one of the best buys I ever did.

I have added more pieces of art by other artists in this book. You can see them below. I  hope you enjoy them. If you want to see more work you can find these here:

http://www.markryden.com

http://www.martinwittfooth.com

http://www.raycaesar.com

http://www.femtasia.nl/Home.html

 

Martin Witthfoot - Occupy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martin Witthfooth – Occupy

 

Ray Caesar-DayBreak

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ray Caesar – Daybreak

 

Femke Hiemstra - Line Of Faith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Femke Hiemstra – Line Of Faith

 

 

 

 

The making of a commercial still part 7

Well this is it! The experiment is over……at last  I’ve finished my bottle.

My goal was to make a photorealistic image of a perfume bottle (that I have at home) just using an open source and freely available 3D program called Blender.  Not only should it be photorealistic, it was supposed to look glossy, like the ads you see in magazines.

It was quite a journey…

– First I made the wireframe of the bottle. This means that you have to draw the shape of the bottle.  Next I placed the virtual lights and gave the model its material (glass and plastic).

So far so good, but I wanted to add that ‘something extra’. I decided to add a water splash. This is very common in commercial photography, but alas, the water simulation in Blender was nice, but not realistic enough for my taste. Being reluctant to drop the water theme, I had to think of something different. So I placed the bottle in the middle of the ocean. Although it looked nice (at least that was what I thought), I was getting further away of the glossy magazine look. Also a bottle cannot stand upright in the sea, unless it has divine properties so to speak.

It didn’t make any sense, really. To make it worse,  I have to take a real photograph of the bottle so that I can compare the two images. There was no way I could replicate the photograph in real life (well I could, but I have to a photograph at full sea, at dawn with studio lights and  a platform just below sea level where I can put the bottle on).  Therefore I decided to go back to basic and created a virtual studio environment. I used a reflective surface and let the lighting do the trick. That’s it! You can see the result below. What do you think? Is it photorealistic?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also tried two freely available external render: “yafaray and Luxrender”. On their websites you can see some amazing images. I really I think they are promising render engines that integrate with Blender really well. But it’s not for me (just yet). They are both much slower than the Blender render engine (Cycles) and more difficult to set up. Luxrender was the most problematic.  Sometimes it rendered an image but sometimes it didn’t. A bit hit and mis. Probably it is something I am not doing right, but I still have to figure out what that might be.  I also found Yafaray too ‘techical’ to set up. I just want to hit the ‘render’ button and see the image appear, instead of setting up Photon maps and AA passes and what not. This is terminology a photographer doesn’t understand. Not really user friendly in my opninion. But hey it’s free and the results (when you got your chops down at least) are really terriffic, so I’m not complaining.

So what’s next? Well nothing really, this is it. I’ll make a real photograph in the future to see how it compares to the fake one, but that’s for another blog.

If you want to give it a go yourself, you can download Blender, Luxrender and Yafaray here:

http://www.blender.org/

http://www.yafaray.org/

http://www.luxrender.net

 

See you next time…

Exhibition Rotterdamse Schouwburg

My work is shown as part of the “Photo Acadamy Award” exhibition.  This is not a regular exhibition though. It’s projected on a large Media Wall. This wall is 12 meters wide and nearly three meters high. It consist out of 240 OLED displays.

The Media Wall is situated in the the grand cafe of the Rotterdamse Schouwburg. It’s open to all public and the photographs can be seen daily day from 16th of November until 7th of December/ 13.00h-14.00h and 19.00h-20.00h.

I’ve added some pictures below,  to get an impression:

For more information

http://www.mediawand.nl/

http://www.rotterdamseschouwburg.nl/informatie/Rotterdamse_Schouwburg/Mediawand/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a dream

The early days

I’m a dreamer. I’ve always been one. I can remember, when I was a kid, I would play in the woods with a friend of mine. We imagined that it was an ancient dark forest with all sorts of otherworldly creatures lurking in the dark awaiting to be slain by our skillful hands holding self-made wooden swords.  After a day playing outside we rode off into the sunset on our magic bikes, back in time for dinner. Oh yes, there was something called “school”, but we did that on the side so to speak. That was something your parents put a lot of emphasis on for some reason or another. But aside from that, it was a great time. The world was full of adventure. You just had to look and pretend it was there.

Somewhere along the line we seem to loose this ability.  When you grow up, the world is slowly revealing itself for what it is. Before you know it, we are stuck with the mundane reality. “Keeping you’re head in the clouds is not good for you”, my father used to say. Somehow you are implicitly expected to leave that magical world behind.  Fantasies are not serious and it’s a serious world out there. I had to prepare for the future. So eventually play made way for work, career, mortgage, responsibility, a pension, etc.

Present day

So where are we now?  We are living for the most part in a demystified world. But that’s not because there’s no mystery left. It’s because we don’t allow ourselves to see it. We have replaced it by a 24 hour economy. You see, we live pretty comfortable lives. But in order to do so we have to be productive. At least 40 hours a week and probably more. Our economy is based on growth. This means that in order to grow, our society needs to work harder. We have to be more efficient and systematic. Therefore the pace of life speeds up tremendously. It’s a pretty demanding force. So here we are, running around like crazy. Consuming like there’s no tomorrow. But eventually somethings gotta give.

De-rationalize yourself

Somewhere deep inside there’s a voice. It’s very weak at first, almost inaudible. I didn’t realize it was there and it took me a while to be aware of that voice. But when you really listen it’s starts to grow. Louder and louder. Until you cannot ignore it any longer. This voice is saying that there is something missing. That there’s no room for wonder and amazement anymore. It is confined to the realm of childhood. Myths and legends belong to the past. You can blame society and progress, but it starts within ourselves. With a different way of looking. Perhaps a different way of experiencing. In a way you have to  “de-rationalize” yourself. Stop running around and stop consuming to fill that hole. It starts with getting in touch with that ability that we have lost.

So that’s what I’m doing. I have a dream. I have many dreams in fact. I haven’t forgotten. I can see them as clear as day. I don’t know where it is taking me. But I have to ‘catch’ these images and show them. Hopefully people will stop for a little while with their hectic lives and perhaps I can make them remember too.

I’m a dreamer, I’ve always been one………and always will be.

The making of a commercial still part 6

Welcome to part 6 already of “How to make a commercial still”.

I’d like to think that I’m almost there, but I’m not sure.

Last week, my splash experiment was a bit of a dissapointment. It was impossible to make a realistic water splash with the build-in fluid simulator in Blender. Of course, I could sculpt the water splash so that it looked like the real deal. But to be honest I’m not that good in sculpting and I haven’t got the patience for it. So it was time to go another route completely.

Instead of trying to create a ‘studio look’, I’m now taking it outdoors,  into nature, so to speak.  Not being able to let go of the ‘water theme’, I’ve placed the bottle on in the middle of the ocean, while you are staring into the sunset. And yes it doesn’t make any sense, but it’s not supposed to…;-)

The ocean is made with the so called ocean simulator. As for the sky, well I’ve cheated (again)…It’s actually a holiday photograph that I took, while I was standing in the Namib dessert in Africa. I don’t think there’s an easy way to create photorealistic skies in Blender (like I did with the ocean), so I took a photograph out of my own library and set this up to act as a gigantic lightsource in Blender. Doing so, the background gives these nice reflections on the water and  into the glass of the bottle. A nice purple orange kind of glow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think I like the image as it is. But I’m not sure what to make of the “Devine” floating property of the bottle? I tried to place the bottle on top of a rock, but that looked silly. Shall I leave the image as it is, or shall I try to make it look like the image obeys the laws of nature?

Apart from that, there are still some things to do, that can change the look of the image considerably. Change the color of the sky for example:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small changes, big differences. So

This is it for now, I’ll experiment a bit more and next blog l hope I will finish it.

 

 

 

The making of a commercial still part 5

Hello and welcome to part five of “the making of a commercial still”.

Last time I was really excited because I discovered a feature in Blender called “the fluid simulator”. I had seen a couple of demos and it looked really promising. I  envisioned the perfume bottle surrounded by all sorts of water splashes, giving it that really slick look.

So last week I fiddled with the settings and generated dozens of splashes. Big ones, small ones, a lot of drops, few drops etc. I’ve dropped all sorts of objects in virtual water, just to see what kind of effect it had. Actually what you do is, you make a small little animation (about one second) of an object hitting the water. The program calculates each frame, one by one. At the end you can select which frame you are going to use for the image still. This is a really time consuming process. To generate a high resolution splash, you have to let the computer render overnight.

And the results were…..to be really honest…..a little disappointing!

Although it generates all sorts of splashes, it doesn’t look realistic enough, to my taste.

I’ve included two photo’s so you can see for yourselves:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have set the fluid to act like water (oil is a possibility too), but it doesn’t look like water to me. It has a plastic, or glue-ish kinda feel to it. I don’t know what it is? Not only that, but it generates all sorts of weird artefacts. You can see in the upper picture that the small droplets have these black ‘things’ around them. Like there is some bug in the program.

Anyway, I don’t consider this to usable for realistic and commercial use.

So it’s back to the drawing board. First I have to think about how pimp this image in another way.

Next time you will see the results.

The making of a commercial still part 4

Welcome, this is part 4 in my so called experiment: “how to take a photograph without using a camera”.

I’m trying to find out if I am able to create a photorealistic commercial lifestyle still, only using an open source computer program called “Blender” that is freely available on the internet.

Last time I created the bottle and backdrop, placed the lights and did a test render. The results were so-so. I noticed that I had to recreate the model of the bottle, because it wasn’t accurate enough. I took a picture of the front and side of the bottle and loaded it into Blender as a backdrop. This way you can draw over the picture, almost like tracing paper, but in 3D, instead on a flat surface. So now I have the correct dimensions of the bottle, including the curvature and stuf. I know what you are thinking, “but you used a camera…”. Yeah but not take a picture. It was  more as an aid to help me ‘draw’ the bottle, almost like a modern Camera Obscura. Right? Okay okay, so I cheated a little. Don’t tell anyone;-)

You can see the results of the new model in the following wireframe:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s the low-res image:

 

As you can see, I’ve placed the bottle on a wavy reflective surface. It gives more of that ‘sheen’ you see a lot of in commercial photography. Furthermore, the backdrop consist of a blue-ish diffuse reflective material. I think this will give a nice contrast with the pink/ orange letters on the bottle (that I haven’t placed  there yet). But we’ll have to see if this works out, once I’ve put the fonts in place.

I‘ve also set up the lights so that it outlines the black ‘fluid’ inside of the bottle and it gives the whole a sort of a glow. I have to tweak the lights a bit so that the ‘glow’ is nice and uniform accros the image. The cap on the bottle is a bit of a challenge for me, though, because it’s just a black cube. There’s nothing in it. It’s got no depth. There are no  curves and it is pure black, so you get uninteresting…uh..well blackness. Even if you reflect a softbox in it, you’d still get a grey dull rectangular thing. I have to figure out how to make it somewhat more interesting. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

On the whole the image is getting where I want it to be. You can see where it is going, but still, there is something missing…… Perhaps the image needs a little bit more of a spectacle, but what? Oh by the way…did I tell you that Blender has got a fluid simulator? Yes a fluid simulator! Usually these things have to be purchased seperetaly for thousands of dollars, but not in Blender. You can create Tsunamis with these simulators, just like in Hollywood disaster movies

You see where I’m going with this? Next time, I’ll try give the fluid simulator a bit of a workout and see if I can use this in my image.

 

See you next time

The making of a commercial still part 3

This is the third part in my series “The making of a commercial still”.

Last week I created the model of the perfume bottle and this week I’m going to provide the model with materials and set up some basic lighting to see if it makes any sense.

In order to test the materials and lighting I have to render the scene. Now Blender uses two sort of rendering engines. The classic “Blender Internal” engine and the new and more sexy “Cycles”. The latter is supposed to give photo realistic results, because it emulates the way lights travels through different mediums, like glass, air, water etc. It also emulates how light reflects of off surfaces and does cool stuff like color bleeding. That’s something we photographers take for granted in real life ;-). So I choose the more sexy ‘Cycles’.

For testing purpose, I have set up a white curved backdrop and placed three virtual softboxes more or less randomly, just to provide the scene with some basic lighting.

For the materials, I used the standard Blender stuff. Nothing fancy.  So for the glass bottle I used “Glass BSDF”, for the plastic cap I used “Glossy BSDF”. And for the black ‘liquid’ I also used “Glossy BSDF”.  You can do all sorts of fancy stuff with these materials, but for now I use the “plain right out of the box” options, without tweaking any parameters.

And here is the first test result:

It’s sort of okay-ish. It looks like a photo, but to me it still isn’t realistic enough. It still has that ‘CGI sheen’. You don’t know what it is, but you can tell that something’s wrong.

I’ve also noticed that I didn’t properly modelled the bottle. The corners are too round and the glass is still to ‘perfect’, so I have to dirty it up a little. I have to start tweaking the parameters now and pay a lot more attention to lighting the bottle. And last but not least, I will try out some different rendering engines (outside of Blender) to see if they come up with different or better results.

Stay tuned for the next instalment of this experiment….

The making of a commercial still part 2

Welcome to part 2 of my experiment. Or how to create a ‘ photograph’ , without actually making a photograph of a perfume bottle. The aim is to make a luxurious looking image, that could be printed in a lifestyle magazine or perhaps shown on a billboard or something.

Last week we saw that the process of making a 3D image consist roughly out of four steps:

1. ‘Drawing’ the perfume bottle also know as creating a wireframe;

2. Placing the virtual lights  in 3D space;

3. Create the materials that the objects are made of;

4. Bringing it all together and make a final ‘photograph’ or so called  ‘rendering’.

 

Today I’m going to show the results of step 1. And here it is:

wireframe and clay model of the perfume bottle

Can you imagine that this is (hopefully) going to look like a real photograph? Although the shape of the bottle is ‘ squarish’ , I had a difficult time to make it look like the original bottle. You see, a computer program is really good at creating perfect squares, or primitive objects like circles, globes, pyramids etc. But in real life nothing is really perfectly shaped like that. If you look closer, you can see that the top of the bottle has rounded edges but the bottom is sharp. There has to be a transition from a round shape to sharp edges. I had a difficult time achieving this.  And then there’s the glass the bottle is made of. The real bottle has dents and uneven spots. So if I want to make it realistic, I have to apply these dents as well.

Stay tuned…..next time I’m am going to light this bottle with fake studio lights and create a backdrop.

 

The making of a commercial still part 1

This is part one of an experiment I am going to do over the next month(s) or so. I am going to take a commercial slick looking photograph of a perfume bottle, without actually taking a real slick looking photograph! I’m entirely going to use CGI to create the bottle and backdrop.

This will be my first photograph that is 100% CGI.

The aim is to make a convincing photograph, such that it is (hardly) noticeable that it’s fake, using available open source software. My weapon of choice is Blender. This 3D software has changed a lot the last couple of years, with a lot of added features and a large user base. Also it’s for free, and being Dutch I couldn’t resist this opportunity;-)

So how far can I take this project with free software? To answer this question I will not only make a CGI version of the perfume bottle, I will also take a real picture and compare the two. See what the differences are, not only in results but also in ‘feel’ and process etc.

Now this is what I’m going to make a photograph of. L’ eau de toilette called “Narciso Rodriguez for her”:

Somehow ‘Narciso’ and the blackness of it all  inspires me, like a Greek tragedy of some sorts. And yes I will try to make a somewhat more exciting picture than the one you are currently seeing.

To make a 3D image you have to go through several process steps:

1. ‘Drawing’ the objects, also known as modeling, or creating a wireframe of the bottle;

2. Lighting the objects in 3D space;

3. Create the materials that the objects are made of;

4. Bringing it all together and make a final ‘photograph’ of the objects in 3D space. This is called ‘rendering’

Next time, I will show you the wireframe of the perfume bottle and the other objects. Haven’t made the image yet it’s very exciting to see what I will come up with and if this will be any good? So stay tuned and you will find out.

By the way if you have any suggestions or nice ideas for the so called commercial shoot, you can post your comments below. And I will try to incorporate them!

2012 International Photography Awards

Yes!!! I am very proud to announce that I have received four honorable mentions for three series of photographs from the International Photography Awards. There were over 18.000 entries from professional photographers around the globe.

You can read it in the following press release:

2012 International Photography Awards Announces Winners of the Competition

Edgar Verhoeven was awarded in the International Photography Awards Competition. International Photography Awards (IPA) has announced the winners of 2012’s competition.
Edgar Verhoeven was Awarded:

Honorable Mention in Fine Art – Portrait category for the winning entry”Commodification.”.

– Honorable Mention in Fine Art – Collage category for the winning entry“The great Outdoors.”

-Honorable Mention in Advertising – Product category for the winning entry “Appliance.”

Honorable Mention in Fine Art – Collage category for the winning entry”Appliance.”

ABOUT Winner:
I have graduated in June 2012 at the Photo Academy in the Netherlands. I make pictures of my imagination. Sometimes I use a camera and sometimes I don’t. I ‘bend’ reality and create a place where our environment is not rational or self evident. I believe we live in a world where efficiency and productivity are considered to be among the highest virtues in our consumption society. We conform to the expectations that society demands en trust that progress and technology (or scientific thought) will give us all the answers in life. That’s true to a certain extent, but there is also a downside. We also live in a world where religion, spirituality or nature play a secondary role. Reality is served in easy to digest pieces of information that we can consume. But at what cost? Perhaps our soul? Or our natural resources? How many people feel there’s something missing in their rich and comfortable lives or at work? Is there a paradox, that with an increase in technological communication like social media, there is also an increase in loneliness? We communicate more, but perhaps the quality of communication is less? Can we only look in a rational way at our world? Or is there still some mystery left? I ask myself these questions and look in wonder….. Edgar Verhoeven

ABOUT IPA:
The 2012 International Photography Awards received nearly 18,000 submissions from 104 countries across the globe. The Foundation’s mission is to honor master photographers, to discover new and emerging talent and to promote the appreciation of photography. Since 2003, IPA has had the privilege and opportunity to acknowledge and recognize contemporary photographer’s accomplishments in this specialized and highly visible competition. Visit www.photoawards.com

Contact:
Edgar Verhoeven:
info@edgarverhoeven.com
https://www.edgarverhoeven.com

IPA Contact
Jade Tran
Competition Director
International Photography Awards
jtran@iawardsinc.com

 

 

Dreaming with the camera

The following is a post written by Rommert Boonstra, a Dutch photographer and poet. He is known to be the one of the founders of imaginative photography in the Netherlands.

The post below is written in Dutch.

 

DROMEN MET DE CAMERA.

Over de wereld doen twee geruchten de ronde. Het ene luidt dat het einde der tijden nabij is en het andere dat we een gouden toekomst tegemoet gaan.
Een gouden toekomst vol ondergang en verval zou misschien een goed compromis zijn.
Blijft de vraag- Is er vooruitgang? Of gaan we met bekwame spoed achteruit? Lopen we hard of lopen we dood?

Er zijn in de geschiedenis van de wereld 39 Ferrarari’s 250 GTO geproduceerd. Ze gaan een stuk sneller dan de strijdwagen waarin Ben Hur zich verplaatste. Dat zou vooruitgang kunnen zijn. Behalve als je door zo’n Ferrari op topsnelheid geschept wordt. Voor de paarden had je misschien nog weg kunnen springen.

Ik heb ook bij de plofkip naar positieve ontwikkelingen geïnformeerd, bij een depressieve wegsmeltend ijskap, bij de glorieus oprukkende Sahel woestijn en bij een geleerde die net duizelig uit de deeltjesversneller tevoorschijn kwam. De antwoorden waren zeer divers.

Het grote voordeel van ondergang en verval is in ieder geval dat ze heilzaam zijn voor de kunst. Zie het prachtige werk van Edgar Verhoeven. Het sombere en het hilarische gaan hand in hand. Als we ten onder gaan, dan gaan we in ieder geval vol vrolijke verbazing ten onder.

If you are interested in Rommert Boonstra’s work, see the following link:

http://http://www.rommertboonstra.nl

From the vault: Classic Club Night

These were photographs for a project called “Classic Club Night”. This is an event where classical music meets urban music. It is a fun idea that the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra expand their classical horizon to melt it with some underground music.

So here they are:

 

 

 

 

True Feelings

I’ve added three more pictures to my portfolio. You’ve probably seen one of these already in another picture. If you look closely on the “Commodification”  series, you can see two billboards (in the tunnel) with two photographs of Barbie dolls. You can consider them as pictures in pictures.

I thought it was nice to give those photographs a platform of their own. So you can see them more up and close.

To me Barbie en Ken symbolise the beauty ideal in western society. They represent the image of how a perfect woman or man should look and how they should feel, in a state of eternal happiness. And we are taught this lesson at a very young age.

There are actually people who want to look like Barbie. In Holland we even have a reality tv show, about a dutch woman, who calls herself Barbie and looks like…..well a Barbie. She is famous because she wants to be a real life copy of a doll!

Well this is an exception you say? Most people are ‘normal’ right? Well even if this is the case and this ideal is not realistic, somehow in our subconscious we believe that we should strive to achieve this ideal. We are surrounded by magazines, billboards, tv commercials, screaming at us what this ideal should be. There is no escaping. The women on the cover of glossy’s have all been photoshopped and manipulated to show something that isn’t there in real life. Sometimes they almost take away that what makes a person human. They resemble almost something of a doll. We all know that. Rationally we know this. But it leaves us with some sort of strange paradox.

We have some deep internalized notions about beauty, about perfection but when you look into a mirror, you see that you cannot live up to that expectation. But some people do feel some sort of let down, when they look into that mirror.  To me that is crazy!

So this is where my idea came from, about making Barbie a less unrealistic creature. To use photoshop to make the super model of all super models a little less perfect instead of achieving perfection. To do the opposite of what people use photoshop for. I made her a bit more flawed, gave her some ‘real emotions’. That way the ideal, becomes perhaps less ideal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond Photography

A change is gonna come!

Photography is easy. No really…..I actually think that taking photographs is one of the most easy things to do. You point your camera (or phone) at a person/ object and push the button. That’s it! And you have an instant piece of reality frozen in time, at your disposal. Upload it to your social media of choice and you even have an audience of potentially millions of people. Peace of cake! My grandmother could do it, without any training. Well if she still would be alive that is. Actually billions of people do this on a daily base.

Hhhmmmmm…there must be a catch right?

Well what if you want to take pictures of ‘things’ that don’t exist. That only float around as a rudimentary vision in your brain? Where do you point your camera at? When are you going to press the button? When is the elusive decisive moment?

There is still some mystery left in this world and if you look carefully there is also some amazement to be experienced. But you have to look beyond the photograph as a document. Now that’s hard! To unveil a piece of (un)reality that you cannot take for granted. But still, there are some photographers who actually do just this.

This is where the book “Beyond Photography” comes in.

This book is a summary of 42 photographers in the Netherlands and Belgium who embrace imaginative photography for the last thirty years. It counts 280 pages and the book also contains four essays that discuss the theme “beyond photography”.  The limits of photography are being examined and stretched. The result are images that reach beyond the pure photographical. It’s a must read!

To me this book is rather special, because there are a whole lot of books that discuss documentary photography, but almost none that deal with imaginative photography. I think it’s time for something new.

Wait…can you hear that? Listen carefully…. a change is gonna come.

 

From the vault: Saint Elizabeth

Here’s another one from the vault.

I’ve always wanted to do an ‘end-of-the-world’  disaster scene. The kind you’d probably see in movies. Destruction on a global scale! It’s just plain fun to do.

Actually, I used to live in the street you see in the photo when I was a kid. I have these childhood memories that we used to play when the streets were flooded once. Perhaps only in my imagination and reinforced by a strong sense of fantasy, but I seem to remember that we were walking up to our ankles in water round the church.

If you’re interested in some historic trivia: the title of the photo does not refer to the lady in the water, but it refers to the flooding that happened a long time ago in the mid centuries in this city. The people called the flooding “Saint Elizabeth’s Flood”.

Now that’s a paradox in my opinion. That a wave of destruction is called after a saint!

From the vault: Impossible figures

I thought it might be nice to show some experiments and other stuff ‘from the vault’ that actually I didn’t intend to show. But on the other hand….what the heck?

This one is an oldie! I’ve always been impressed by Escher. So one day I decided to try to base one my photo’s on his impossible figures. And here’s the result:

 

You can see on the wall the original Escher painting I was trying to emulate.

Perhaps I will incorporate some Escher impossible figures into my photography one day, but I’m a bit hesitant, because his style is so well known it will perhaps overshadow the things I’m trying to say. What do you think?

 

 

You’re a fake….part 2

Here are the results from last weeks’ Blog.

The question was if you could tell which images were photographed and which images were ‘ fake’ or computer generated images (CGI).

Well I’ve been cheating a little bit. Actually all images were generated by the computer and none of them were photographed! I’ve included some images that had an overtly processed look and included some that looked realistic (to me at least).

If you could tell that all the images were fake, you have to tell me how you did it….Some of those images are so convincing to me, that it opens op some philosophical discussions about the nature of reality.

There’s a saying: “the camera never lies”. The use of Photoshop has changed this perspective on how we look at photographs and the manipulation of photographs. But what if the photograph isn’t manipulated at all, but wasn’t taken in the first place? What does that say? I’ll save this discussion for another time.

But for now, I promised to tell you who made the computer generated images. And here’s the list:

 

Image 1:

Artist: “Abner”

Software: Blender/ Yafaray

Image 2:

Artist: Andrew Price

Software: Blender

 

Image 3:

artist: Hervé Steff

Software: Maxwell Render

Image 4:

Artist: “Sadaj72”

Software: Blender/ Luxrender

Image 5:

Artist: Dan Abrams

Software: Maxwell Render

 

Image 6:

 

Artist: Linus Schneider

Software: Maxwell Render

 

You’re a fake….

Lately I’ve been experimenting with 3D rendering and how to combine this with photography.

I use an open source program for my 3D experiments called  ‘Blender’. I have to say this is a really wonderful program. Although I cannot compare it to other professional 3D packages out there, because I haven’t used them, it’s a really powerful tool that can produce photo realistic images.

Photo realism you say? Well yes……if you are really good 3D rendering that is. This raises some philosophical questions, that I will discuss another other time, but for now I’d like to present you with a quiz. Can you determine which of these next five images are real photographs or are 3D renders? Which images are the fake photographs?  I will give you the answer next time, but for now:

 

Image 1:

 

Image 2:

 

Image 3:

 

Image 4:

 

Image 5:

 

Image 6:

 

If you know which images are real, post the answer in a comment below. Next week I’ll give you the answers and the people who made these images.

Michael Freeman’s: The Photographer’s Eye

Michael Freeman is a british photographer who specializes in Asian culture, architecture and archeology. He has worked for major international book publishers and magazines. He has also worked for the Smithsonian Magazine for more than three decades and published more than 40 assignment stories.

Not only is he a well known photographer but he is also a writer and journalist. His books contain photographs of himself, but he also writes on the subject of photography. One of these books is “The Photographer’s Eye” that I will discuss in this blog.

Very often you’ll find books that describe the technical aspects of the camera. Sort of ‘how to use’ books. Things like:

  • What kind of lens should you use
  • The effects of aperture and shutter speed
  • Color balance
  • The use of of camera flash light
  • etc.

 

This is all very useful stuff, but you rarely ever see books that focus on the less technical aspects of photography like for example, composition. It takes more than sharp focus and correct lighting to turn ordinary photographs into something special. So what does it take to take a good photograph? Although this is a question that cannot be answered so easily, if it can be answered at all, Michael Freeman does a good job in describing the basic principles of good composition. He gives insights into:

  • How to frame the image
  • Design principles like balance and tension in the framing
  • Viewing lines
  • Rhythm in the image
  • Color in composition
  • Perspective and depth
  • Intention of a photograph

The book tells you how to take better photographs. A framework of composition ideas if you will, that you can use to your own liking. These aren’t hard rules or anything, but it will make your understanding of what makes a picture work, larger. There’s also a chapter dedicated to the process in taking pictures, with cases studies.

 

I think this book fills a gap on the market and is a very good step into taking good photographs.

The only thing I was missing was how compositional rules contribute to the ideas that you want to communicate. A technically correct picture is a beginning, a good composition makes the photograph more powerful. But a photograph that conveys a specific idea or concept takes photography to another level. Perhaps I will save this subject for another blog, but in the meantime, I would like to know what you think that makes a good photograph?

Camera secrets: how to photograph a reflective surface?

Suppose you want to photograph an object that is a mirror of some sorts?  Especially metallic objects that are curved, like a chrome vase, are hard to photograph. See the next example:

fig.1 picture of a chrome vase

This is a picture of vase that I took,  that actually reflects the complete surroundings of the studio, but you don’t see it. So what’s the trick?

 

The trick:

There are two ways you can do this:

  1. 1. Use photoshop
  2. 2. Use a technical camera

No photoshopping this time!

For this picture I’ve used a technical camera. This is a special camera that allows you to change the plane of focus or perspective. You can move the front and back side of the camera independent from each other. It’s called rise, fall and shift. You can also change the angle of the front and back sides of the camera. This is called, tilt and swing. What is does is that

fig2: a technical camera

First you need a totally dark studio. So that the vase is only reflecting darkness, or (almost) pure black. When you place the lights and the reflection screens, it will only reflect these and of course the camera and photographer. Next thing you do is wear black clothes, so you’ll blend in with the dark surroundings. I didn’t go so far to out to put on a black forage cap. But if you’re really into it, you can do that 😉

So now the vase is reflecting a white screen on the left side. On the right side of the vase there is no light. The further you go to the right, the light gradually reduces strength and it  turns to black. From behind I placed a rim light to accentuate the shape of the vase.

If I would use a ‘normal’ dslr camera, than I would see myself and my camera exactly in the middle of the vase. No matter from what angle I will take the picture, I will always see myself reflected in the middle of it, because the vase has a sphere like shape at the base. Here’s where the ethnical camera comes in. It has a neat little trick.

 

You can shift the front side of the camera, so that the perspective changes:

 

In doing so, I can shift the reflection of myself and the camera to the right, in the dark parts of the vase. Because I’m wearing black clothes you won’t see me reflected!

 

 

Please give me your comments..

 

 

 

Graduation at the Photo Academy

Finally! I have graduated, after four years of study, at the Photo Academy in The Netherlands!

When I started out,  I didn’t exactly know what to expect? Not only what to expect from the Photo Academy, but also what to expect from myself. Looking back at these four years, I can say that what I’ve learned the most is, who I am. Especially when you are creating images that in fact don’t exist in reality, but start out as an idea in your head, questioning eventually where these ideas come from. What is the source of imagination? What is it that drives you? Why do you need to create images? What is important enough to convey to the audience? And why should they care about what you have to say (or don’t say for that matter). To answer those questions you really have to look inside.

I think that was the hardest part during the education. Slowly trying to reveal parts of yourself through photography in the hope that people will like and understand it. In a certain way, you are exposed to the opinions and critique of others. You are showing your heart and yes sometimes it hurts when people don’t like it. But it is the only way to grow. You have to make your heart strong and expose more of yourself. So although I have finished my education, I don’t think I have finished learning and exploring.

On this site I will continue sharing my images with you. I hope that you will like it. So feel free to to share your thoughts and comments with me on this site.

 

 

Light

It would seem appropriate to start this blog with a post where I’m showing my first ‘serious’ picture. It was also my first assignment in my first year at the Photo Academy.

Until then I took pictures for fun like sunsets, landscapes, my family and of course my pet cat! Actually I’m still taking photos of my cat, but that’s another story for another post. But now I had to photograph something that had a so called ‘theme’. And the theme of the assignment was ‘light’. I had to take pictures of light?

Well if you think about it, it’s rather ridiculous! How can you take pictures of something you can not actually see? Sure, if you turn on the light in a dark room for example, you can actually see the objects that are in the room, but light itself? You can see a chair because light bounces off it and reflects into your eye. But how can you catch something on film (or more likely a sensor) that has no visible property by itself?

I had to resort to something more symbolic. I came up with a more spiritual solution: “The light of God”. I would take a photo of a crucifix that was enlightened by the power of the divine.

If you look at the picture you can see a floating crucifix above a ‘bible’. In fact it’s not a bible at all, because I did’t own one at the time. Instead I took an encyclopedia, and placed it beneath the crucifix which I had stuck with velcro tape on the wall.

Most people think this picture is photoshopped, but it was not (sure I tweaked it a little, with some levels adjustments), instead I used a flashlight to light the scene and everything was done in one take. It took me about 20 attempts to ‘paint’ the scene correctly. And here’s the result.