I was born in Wilrijk in 1958 and now live in Kontich (close to Antwerp, Belgium). After my commercial studies I started working at a large bank (KBC) and 34 years later I am about to end my career at this bank. From March I will be able to focus 100% on my two passions: photography and travel, particularly in Africa. Each year for most of the last 15 years my wife and I visited a different African country. Something we’d love to keep doing in the future.I didn’t get into photography until later in life. My father was an avid amateur photographer who had his own darkroom
and who often invited me to join him but as was young i was never interested. I took my first photos (slides)
when on honeymoon in Kreta in 1982 because i wanted something to remember. When i showed them to friends
and family they reacted enthusiastically. After a few years of only taking photos during our annual holiday i decided
to broaden my interest in photography and joined a local photo club. That was the true beginning of my growing
interest in photography.
I'm interested in any kind of art, no matter what subject but mainly to paintings of well know artists with a preference for impressionism.
Visiting different photo exhibitions only came in a later phase. After all these years lots of photographers inspired
me and are still a source of inspiration to me.
I am always looking for typical black and white subjects with an emphasis on shapes and structures, light and dark,
sun and shadow. Subjects in which color is not very important. And i find these subjects in human faces, especially in
the expression in their eyes. That’s why my portfolio mainly consists of b/w portraits and street photography. Sometimes
i venture into architecture or landscape but not very often. Once in a while i try to compose several photos into
a creative edit.
I don’t plan much beforehand. Of course i am always looking for the best location and try to stay away from the
tourists hot spots. That way i don’t come home with “classical” photos. When i find such a special spot it will depend
on a lot of other factors whether the shoot will be successful, the available light, the mood I’m in or the fact whether
something special is happening at that moment. Nevertheless i always keep my eyes open for the surrounding or any
other subject that i find worthwhile.
Making portraits of people in their natural habitat is the subject matter that most interests me. For me people are an
inexhaustible source of inspiration. In that point of view i am more a” portrait photographer” although most of my
portraits are made on the street. I am not the prototype of a “street photographer” because most of the time i try to
get in contact with the people and ask for their permission before i take the shoot. It rarely happens i shoot them without their knowledge.
I think the main thing is to always show respect for your subject and make them feel you are really interested in them. That’s why i never take a portrait without first starting a small conversation with the people i meet. I present myself openly and honestly to them as if i am one of
them. A little wink, a short chat and a smiling face will convince them to pose for me. The greatest pleasure afterwards is they sometimes start telling me their life stories. In fact i am always searching to capture the soul, the background and the life experiences of everyone i portray.
In fact i am inspired by all kind of artists but mainly by painters as for example Monet, Manet, Vincent Van Gogh and many
others and photographers like Cartier Bresson, Robert Doisneau, Sebastiao Salgado, to name some of them but especially the
Belgian photographer Stefan Vanfleteren. He knows how to combine emotion and story in one image, also my ideal combination.
I own only one camera : a Canon Eos 5D Mark II with a 24-105mm lens. Most of my pictures are taken with this lens. I do own a
Canon 100-400mm but i seldom use it. I carry the bare minimum because i always want to act freely. No extra lenses, no filters,
no tripod. Just my Canon and like people say my gift to socialize with everybody who crosses my path.
My post processing is done in PS. I only use a few basis adjustments. As far as all sorts of fancy techniques are concerned i am
not the right person. I mainly use PS the way i used in the darkroom, like dodging and burning. I do use the curves to lay accents
and the gradient filter and i have to admit that the cloning function is handy to get rid of unwanted elements.