The American photographer Ansel Adams once said: “You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” Koen, what is your way forward in the research into—or exploration of—the photographic ‘themes’?
In most cases, I seek beauty through my work; hence, I try to add beauty in the portraits or in the compositions of all kinds, drawing from my inner world, and therefore from my reserve of memory and emotion, as well as from, as is natural, my everyday experiences, places, relations, events. However, making the images I produce genuinely beautiful is my strongest motivation. Beauty as the condition of simplicity and balance that is crystallized in an instant, capable of remaining in its small state “of grace.” And so that is how I interpret it. This is in effect my approach to the category of photographic beauty: my fully contemporary style that tries to exploit in terms of taste, however, all that has preceded me.
My eagerness to interact with cultures that have strong and ancient roots, such as the Italian and Japanese ones, albeit very different from my training and my existential mood, bestows certainty and intensity on my work because it provides an indispensable dose of cultural authenticity. Above all, because I draw from these cultures ways and sensitivities that are more incisive and useful to my photographic reading of reality. And it seems that this cultural therapy is bearing good fruits if some of my fellow photographers have started defining my work “documentaire artistique.” At any rate, I always leave my exploration of the themes entirely open. I am in fact convinced that photography needs to breathe and grow, even to intellectually provide its user with oxygen. Among other things, I am familiar with the orientation of the galleries in the sector, with their definite tendency toward the marketing of products in a series. I can obviously understand the reasons for this, but these conditions are not part of my creative horizon, which forces me to make a productive effort toward greater care in the quality of the reproduction of the themes. At the same time, albeit preferring a “figurative” production, I also feel the need for abstract compositions that intersperse the sequence of my portfolio.