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Kristof Vande Velde - theSPG Twenty Twenty interview

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Darran K Roper says:

I'm a 32-year-old Belgian with a passion for photography, which started in 2013, after buying a DSLR. I explored some genres, but quickly moved to street and have stayed there ever since. I developed my passion together with Kristin Van den Eede, my partner in life and art. Yes, our names are very similar, but that's a major coincidence. We shoot together most of the time and we like to take trips to small but preferably large cities to shoot and have fun while doing it. We both started taking lessons at an academy where we live, in the fall of last year, but have actually learned most from online and offline contacts who have helped us a lot to become better at what we do.

I've always had the urge to express myself artistically and I've changed my gear from writing and music to photography. I could not imagine a world without my camera. I don't have time during weekdays to shoot, but during weekends the street is calling for me. It never bores. It never disappoints. There's always that chance to take one good photo. I'm still trying to get there.

The first picture I've selected was taken in New York, July 2014. Kristin and I like to visit art museums, not only to give us inspiration but also to shoot there. We had just visited the MoMA and ran into a fake waterfall, which completed the terrace of a branch of 'Le Pain Quotidien'. We had lunch there and sat ourselves in front of this tree, which was visually very appealing. I took shots of the tree itself, when all of a sudden a man gets behind it to shoot the waterfall. I moved a bit, shot his arm movements in several ways and stuck with this one. A few times a year, the gods of photography give you a push and I knew when I took it this was one of those times. I took some more shots there of this guy with a huge cigar having his lunch, after which we headed to 5th Avenue, to try to single out little stories in the masses. With a huge fail rate, obviously.

The tree

My second photo was taken in Ghent, where I live. It was taken in May 2015 at a party in a popular venue. I like to shoot flash at parties because the lights, colours and closeness give you a lot of possibilities. Especially at a dress up party, where many of my friends were, like this one. I usually have my camera in one hand and a beer in the other. I tried to look for shots with interesting colour patterns, using slow shutter speed, but ended up with loads of pictures that were only about effects and nothing more. This one felt different, although I must say I wasn't sure at the time. The problem is the party itself, or the beer if you like, takes over and the later the evening went, the more my shots became total crap.

If there's something strange in your neighbourhood

My last photo was taken in Paris, in November 2015. By high-speed train, Paris is only a few hours from our city, so we'd decided to book seats and see what fortune would bring us. Unfortunately the weather was not camera-friendly, so we took shelter at the Centre de Pompidou, the best known modern art museum of France. At art museums I'm always looking for connections between the art and visitors. I'd already shot a man with a blue shirt in front of a blue canvas, a bald guy with a light beam coming out of his head, but somehow they seemed a bit too much cliché. Just when we were about to leave the museum I noticed this guy standing next to this painting and he just stood there for a few seconds, a chance you rarely get in this genre. I took five shots. Went closer, stepped back and ended up with this one.
The painting

I never saw his face and I'm happy with that. It was the one but last photo I took in the museum, because we'd become tired and had to take the train back to Belgium. I took some meaningless shots in the subway and fell asleep on the train. My editing skills are not what they should be yet and I realise now, or one my teachers has told me, that the picture is too yellow. Oh well, I guess there are worse things to live with.

The cathedral

One night at the Vlasmarkt series

The bandana

You can see more from Kristof Vande Velde on flickr at
1:08PM, 7 June 2016 PST (permalink)

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Edas Wong says:

Nice interview :-)
56 months ago (permalink)

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