Interview: Photographer Ivan van Steenis (Belgium)
Can you tell us a little about you?
I am Ivan, 43 years old, from Antwerp and currently living in Oedelem (near Bruges). I have worked in the hospitality industry almost all my life. As a hobby I was a DJ and photographer. As a DJ I stopped 6 years ago because the nightlife started to demand too much of me. At one point I just had enough. I then fully devoted myself to photography and after following various training courses to become a professional photographer, I decided in 2019 to continue with this. What started as a hobby has now grown into a nice side-job with many satisfied customers. My dream for next year is to create a complete studio in which I can completely unleash my creativity and receive my customers in a pleasant way.
How and when did you get into photography?
Photography has been a passion of mine for years. Everywhere I went, my camera went with me. But it all only gained momentum when I started model photography and boidoir about three years ago. I feel that this suits me the most, and I would very much like to grow further in this and train myself even more to get better.
What does photography mean to you?
What does photography mean to me? Difficult to articulate. It's just my passion. It's what I like to do. It doesn't feel like work and it's a way to be creative. It keeps me from getting into a daily grind.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
My style is rather soft, with a lot of contrast and blurred backgrounds. I really like to play with natural light in combination with flash, so that the subject really stands out.
Where do you get inspiration from?
Especially by looking at the work of others. And pay close attention to what I like and don't like. My two biggest sources of inspiration are Jason Lanier and Manny Ortiz. Two photographers who are very active on Youtube and from whom I have learned a lot. And of course they are both avid Sony shooters :)
Do you think in advance what you want in the picture?
I do go to a shoot with a certain idea in mind, but I'm not one to fully prepare a shoot. There has to be spontaneity in it. A lot depends on the moment, on the location, on the model, on the clothing… and I try to bring in as much variation as possible. Just go with the flow.
Studio, on location or both?
Both, but I prefer natural light in combination with flash.
You can create beautiful things in the studio, but I think it's just a bit too limited in
possibilities to fully utilize my creativity.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
Professional. Since last year I stopped with TFP shoots. Too time consuming. And time is money. Now I only shoot paying. I am still participating as a house photographer for modelsinternational.eu, a modeling competition here in Belgium. Just because I like it. It also provides some social contacts, because if you sit in front of your computer all day, you don't get out much anymore. :)
What has been your most memorable session and why?
My first boudoir shoot with Aline Marescaux. That's the day I fell in love with her. 10 Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens? Sony is my brand. Ever since Sony acquired Minolta, I've been buying their cameras. My favorite lens is the 85mm f1.4, which is 90% glued to my camera.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
Never give up. Just keep doing what you like. Develop your own style. And always try to learn. Never give up on your dreams.
What do you think of our new magazine?
Modelland is a great magazine in my opinion. Lots of variety, nice interviews, beautiful photos. It also gives us photographers and models the chance to be in the spotlight. Nice to see that there is so much talent among both photographers and photographers. I wish you a lot of success for the future of your magazine.