Interview: Photographer Maarten Visser (Netherlands and Belgium)
Can you tell us a little about you?
I was born and raised in Rotterdam. I am a photographer and digital artist. My real name is Maarten, but Martin is a more common name in French and English, that's why I changed my name a little as an artist. I got my first camera on my 13th birthday. The first pictures I took were from the harbour and the ships on the river Maas. It is still one of my favourite photo spots.
How and when did you get into photography? When I moved to Belgium in 2000 I started my career as a professional photographer. I shot some weddings, but more and more I was asked for product photography. Because I prefer to work with people I got involved in working with upcoming models for their portfolio's. At the moment boudoir photography is a fast groing part of my business.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography for me is a way to express how I see the world around me. I once read that a photographer sees himself in his pictures. In a way thay's very true. When I work with a model, the only way I can show her in my pictures is the way I see her. Or him, but very few man like to pose. I always try to find a location that belongs to how I see the person I work with.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
My photography style is rather modest in fact. I want my pictures to tell a story. I try to keep away from overdone effects, but I put a lot of effort in good lighting and location. Also outside I often work with reflectors and flash. I'm also a digital artist. The style of my digital paintings is more surrealistyc.
Where do you get inspiration from? I get my inspiration from what people tell me about themselves, combined with their looks.
Do you think in advance what you want in the picture?
I always know what I want in the pictures. I prepare every shoot. I look for a good location, the right time, and a plan B in case something needs to be changed.
Studio, on location or both?
I sometimes work in my studio near Antwerp, and during the summer in my studio with terrace near the Geneva Lake. But I prefer to work on location.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I am a paid professional.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
My most memorable session was a common fashion shoot of a very nice model I worked with before. In fact it became memorable afterwords. The model had arranged that we were invited by colleague photographer Jeroen Verstraete in his beautiful castle house. Jeroen turned out to be a very friendly and funny guy. And a passionate photographer. It was amazing he offered his place to be used by us for a shoot. We had a great shoot, and a great time with Jeroen. I left in the idea we might become friends in the future. Unfortunately this never happened. Shortly after the shoot the model messaged me Jeroen was found murdered in his own house. We met only once, but it felt like losing an old friend.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
I work with Canon. But I'm not into the Canon versus Nikon war. I still have my Nikon analogic camera. I bought Canon because I sometimes work with vintage glass. That's easy to adapt to a Canon full frame. My favourite lens is a vintage Russian TAIR 300mm. It's not easy to work with, but it captures the light in an amazing way.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
When you want to start your own photo business I think it's very important to already have developed your personal style. Make a good business plan, and be prepared for not earning a lot in the beginning. Maybe never, so start it as a second job. But most of all, respect the models you work with.
What do you think of our new magazine? The new art magazine is just what the fashion modelling and photography world was waiting for. It's very inspiring to see so much talent exposed in a professional way.