20 Feb 2024

#5 Artist Interview - Jeroen van Dam

Jeroen van Dam

In the fifth edition once again, we are paying a visit to Jeroen van Dam. Jeroen's photo became an instant hit and went viral! His skyline shot of Rotterdam beautifully captures the Erasmus Bridge and the beauty of the mist. But who is the photographer behind this fantastic image, and does he have more to offer? 

In our blog series "Meet the Artist," we continually introduce a new visual creator to you.

Through just 5 questions, you'll gain insights into the style, motivations, and experiences of the featured artist.

 

In this fifth edition, we're excited to visit Jeroen van Dam. Jeroen's photo became an instant hit, going viral! His skyline shot of Rotterdam beautifully captures the Erasmus Bridge and the allure of the mist. But who is the photographer behind this fantastic image, and does he have more to offer? His photo garnered over 1 million views in January alone, with over 100,000 reactions, positioning photographer Jeroen van Dam as a frontrunner for the Dutch photo of the year 2022, in the eyes of many Rotterdam residents. But is it also his favorite photo? We investigated and interviewed Jeroen.  

 

A misty morning in Rotterdam

 

1. Who are you, what do you do, and what gear do you prefer?

Hey! I'm Jeroen, Jeroen van Dam, 39 years old, hailing from Rotterdam. In my daily work, I'm immersed in architecture, particularly urban planning. The appeal lies in the logical cohesion required, which can sometimes feel tame. Hence, in my free time, I lean towards a more rugged form of architecture, found in photography, expressed through my unique style.

Years ago, as social media emerged, I discovered the world of photography. Simply through social media, I stumbled upon amazing images from photographers worldwide! This sparked my interest to try it myself, and as the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. 

Despite traveling to many amazing places on our planet, Rotterdam holds a special place in my heart. Even after years in the city, Rotterdam never fails to provide me with a fresh perspective. This makes it the coolest city in the Netherlands ;-).


Gear:

Regarding my gear, it's important to note that I often find myself in challenging locations, leaving little room for excess equipment. This is why I primarily use a Sony A7R3 (mirrorless camera). 

The SONY A7R3 is lighter and more compact than many other cameras, making it easier to handle, in my opinion, with consistent quality. On my Sony, I mostly use wide-angle lenses, particularly the 16-35 & 12-14. I believe ultra-wide lenses are essential for architectural photography.

Another reason I shoot with Sony is its neutral color palette, allowing me more flexibility in determining my own color schemes for each image. 

Sporting a shabby-looking backpack and comfortable clothing, I literally go everywhere and often find myself in challenging and unique locations. Hence, I carry minimal gear to easily adapt to any situation. Sometimes, I bring my own lighting. What's a bit typical about me is that I don't want to look too much like a photographer. This is mainly because of the places I visit, and the fact that I prefer to blend into my surroundings. 

When time permits, I use a tripod, especially when shooting during twilight or at night. 

 

2. Which photography style do you prefer?

For me, photography is about boundless thinking and acting. Therefore, I'd limit myself by focusing solely on one style of photography. However, if you examine my work, you'll predominantly see urban/architectural images.  

I venture out during twilight, at night, or in inclement weather. Overall, I thrive in less comfortable conditions. Photography has opened my eyes. It has literally turned my world upside down. For me, photography is a reflection of another perspective. Through photography, you can create a different perspective of an image. I find it incredibly interesting to tell my story through photography. Visualizing my perspective through the images I capture. Coming from an architectural background, I discovered that cities can be incredibly mysterious. Cities are where it mostly happens. Fascinated by emptiness and isolation. The city is a stage, but for everyone, it's something different. Cities reveal something about the people of today. 

 

The eye in a black passe-partout frame

 

3. Who is your major influence/inspiration in photography?

In recent years, Justin leDuc has been an inspiration for me. Even though our photography styles are completely different, I fell in love with his editing approach. The way he combines light construction with masks and neon lighting makes him one of my inspirations. 

 

4. Wat is jouw favoriete werk van jezelf?

Haha, even though it comes close, it's not the misty photo of Rotterdam. It's a photo taken atop a building in Hong Kong. Inspired by the fact that I met a man named Eric via social media, I traveled to China to meet him and photograph together.

In my opinion, the photo has almost a cinematic setting, and the beauty lies in the two towers. One is illuminated in red, and the other in blue. What makes it special is that I initially attempted to replicate someone else's image on the red building. However, due to various factors, this wasn't possible. Consequently, we were "forced" to move to the tower with the blue light. Something I don't regret at all.

The type of photo, the journey to Hong Kong, the setting, and the creation of this photo make it my favorite. 

 

On a roof in Hong Kong

 

5. What tip/trick would you like to share with every other photographer?

  • Be a little less obedient. See the world from a different perspective; it changes your outlook.
  • Be open to your surroundings; if you think it won't work, it often yields something most people wouldn't try.
  • Photos with a cinematic characteristic tend to perform better. So, ensure your image comes to life. You just have to do it. While the basic rules are essential, it's more about when something comes to mind, and you think it's too complicated or impossible, that's precisely the trigger to go for it. And even though things don't always work out, these are often the moments where you learn the most. 

 

Below the city - Acrylic glass print at home

 

 

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