September 15 : 2022
No matter what Bastiaan is photographing, his signature tonality and bold compositions are undeniably present. This is especially true in his winning image, "Alek," where bold contours and supple textures are visceral and brilliant.
by Lily Fierman
It’s a conscious decision of mine to not give a representation of reality in my work, but an art form in which someone can lose themselves.
Tell us about creating this image. Where did you take it, when, and how much time did you spend creating it? Please feel free to add anything else you’d like to share here.
The image "Alek" was shot in collaboration with model Alek, Stylist Tricja Cotterrill and makeup artist Marije Koelewijn. Hat is from Demure in Amsterdam.
I really wanted to work with Alek and went into the studio for a day. This is how I typically work: No mood boards, no complicated plans. Just a day in the studio of free-flowing creation. This image is one of many images taken that day.
Tell us about your start in photography. What sparked your initial interest? Why is still photography your medium of choice?
I got into photography by accident. At least, it was not my initial intention to become a photographer. I bought a camera when my eldest son was born in 2009 and started photographing him. I liked photography so much and got "hooked" very quickly. After photographing as a hobbyist for a few years, while graduating with a degree in Hotel and Event management, I was set on trying to make a living from photography. I never went back after that. Photography has now become second nature to me. However, I do not rule out developing other forms of art.
What or who continues to inspire you as an artist?
Inspiration is something that comes and goes. It can be any day-to-day thing, like seeing a good film or hearing a beautiful song. I mainly try to find inspiration in other forms of art such as paintings, design, and architecture. All this inspiration from a variety of disciplines is bundled in the online magazine of 1605 Publishers, my publishing company, brought to life by me and my team.
You don’t reveal too much about the story behind your images or subjects. Can you tell us more about why this is?
I think images should speak for themselves. People should be free to make their own interpretations and invent their own stories. It’s a conscious decision of mine to not give a representation of reality in my work, but an art form in which someone can lose themselves.
Black & white is such an integral part of your oeuvre. Why do you continue to choose this palette?
When I fell in love with photography, I was already collecting photo books. It was the work of Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Bill Brandt and Man Ray that I was intrigued by. The dynamism, the emotion, the imperfection. This is what photography is all about for me. I don’t feel the need to show a sharp, perfect representation of a reality, which is why I choose to shoot black and white. In doing so, stripping away pieces of reality and emphasizing what it's all about for me: lines, structures, textures, shapes, and character.
You don’t shy away from the entrepreneurial side of being a fine artist - something that is historically quite taboo in contemporary art. This includes your business 1605 Publishers, a “publishing house and platform with a curatorial eye for timeless elegance and aesthetic minimalism”.
Can you tell us more about why you started 1605 Publishers as well as where you think your entrepreneurial spirit comes from?
Please also tell us why you are not afraid to identify as an entrepreneur and an artist.
I started my publishing company 1605 Publishers in 2020 because I wanted full business and esthetic control over the publishing of my books. In all honestly, I was not completely satisfied with other publishing houses. Designing and publishing my own books gave me so much energy and pleasure, that I decided to start publishing other artists’ books as well. We are also an online platform sharing our vision in art, design, and architecture through an online magazine. At the end of this year, we are launching an annual magazine in which we bring in-depth interviews with well-known artists, architects, and designers interspersed with portfolios of artists we follow and represent in publishing.
I definitely have an entrepreneurial side. I think it’s in my blood, as my father used to have an art printing business. I have always had the drive to be both an entrepreneur as well as create beautiful products. I think this taboo should be broken. Why shouldn't you be entrepreneurial as an artist? Smart entrepreneurship takes you further, which in turn opens doors for your creativity.
If you could create a dinner party of your dreams featuring guests of your choice (including artists, designers, or writers both living and deceased), who would you invite?