When my memory takes me back to my childhood, I remember several seminal moments revealing the importance, photography would have in my life. When I was eight, I temporarily lived with my grand parents. Behind their house, in the dunes, I took my first pictures, of my cousin. With my brownie camera in hand, I told him to jump down a sandy slope. He wore a red, white and blue striped rain jacket. Once processed, the black and white photos framed with white borders mesmerized my imagination. The photos appeared to me like windows, through which I was able to peek into a different world. I was so taken by this experience, I returned to the spot where I took the pictures of my cousin, and was disappointed it lacked that special ‘thing’ I felt when looking at the images. I discovered, I preferred the photograph’s own reality.
After roughly 4 months living with my grand parents, we moved in a small house, in the nearby village. Here, a few years later, a friend, one street over, showed me his dark room, how to develop film, and make prints. I was so taken, I immediately began organizing my own dark room.
Over the course of time, I worked jobs sealing envelopes, peeling tulip and daffodil bulbs, 25 cents a bucket. I stopped buying tackle supplies in order to save every penny. But it was not enough.
In 1978, on a dark, rainy day in thick traffic, my father drove me to the city of The Hague. I remember it rained so hard, the wash wipers barely cleared the windshield. As we inched through traffic, my father explained I had to work, and earn money to buy my first real camera, when he bumped a man on his motor cycle. Shocked, I watched my father jump into the rain. Through the running water on the windshield I watched him settle the poor man down. That day was my birthday, and my father bought me a TimeLife book, Techniques for Photography. I grew to love this book, and devoured every page, watching the beautiful photos of Ansel Adams over and over. I still have the book, and occasionally look through it.
Not long after, I finally acquired my first real single reflex camera, a Canon AE-1, which I used shooting portraits of Jazz musicians. I discovered Jacques Henri Lartigue, and Richard Avedon. Their work took my love for photography to a new level.
I had learned, at that time, NY was the epicenter of photography. An acquaintance organized an apprenticeship with a photographer shooting covers for Glamour magazine. Filled with excitement, I embraced the opportunity. That huge city of steel canyons was exhilarating, and intimidating.
I soon realized I had to make a choice. Either I had to get a job as an assistant, or go to photography school. I decided to attend Brooks Institute Of Photography in Santa Barbara, California. After graduating in 1991 with a degree in film and photography, I briefly worked in Los Angeles, as an assistant film editor. As the story teller in me loved film making, my initial love for still photography continued to beg for attention.
After a brief stint back in The Netherlands, I decided I wanted to return to the US, and live in the West, with its exquisite, rugged landscapes. I settled in Phoenix, Arizona, a great place to begin a new business in 1996. This is where I met my wife Laryn. In 2005 we married, and in 2008 my daughter Beatrice was born. In 2022 we continue to cherish the beautiful ruggedness of the West. My love for photography continues to evolve. Once in a while, on the set with one of my favorite art directors, I tell her: “can you believe we get paid to do this.”