Interview With René Kuipers From Netherlands

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René Kuipers

René Kuipers is a photographer living in the Netherlands, who studied photography at the Fotoacademie in Amsterdam and exhibited 5 portraits at The Krasnapolsky Hotel for 7 years in total!

1Can you introduce yourself and talk about how you got into photography?

I am Rene Kuipers, 48, and I live in Heemskerk, The Netherlands. I started photography when I was about 16. I used an analog Minolta Dynax 7000i and mainly used diafilm because it was the cheapest option. I had no idea what I was doing. I loved the technical part of photography. I photographed everything! Landscapes, architecture, my holidays, except people! Many years later, I took a photography course and learned a lot about photography techniques, which helped me a lot to make better images.

I also came into contact with studio portrait photography through a friend. That was an eye-opener for me! I liked using studio flashes to control the light where I wanted it to be. Again, a few years later, I mainly shot portraits, especially of dancers from a dance school of a friend of mine. And I have my studio to do all that.

2Where did you study photography?
I studied photography for about 1,5 year at the Fotoacademie in Amsterdam.
3Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
I can't remember my first shot, but my first major portrait project was for The Krasnapolsky Hotel in Amsterdam, and despite a lot of things going wrong (which was not my fault), I had 5 portraits displayed in the hotel restaurant for about 7 years. That was awesome!
4What equipment do you use?
I now use a Canon R6 and a 5DmkIII. I recently bought an Analog Yashica Mat 124G that I use for studio shoots too.
5What do you hope to achieve?

My main goal is just to make nice portraits of people, I'm not particularly trying to become a professional, but if it comes my way, we will see!

6What compliment inspired/touched you the most?
If people get emotional from my images, that is really a big compliment.
7What inspires your unique storytelling?
I am always interested in the technical side of photography because of my job as an electrical engineer. So when I see some inspiring images on Instagram, for example, Instagram, I wonder how people achieved that and I will experiment with that for myself.
8What THREE (3) words describe your photography style?
Portrait, Darkish, Eyes.
9Congratulations! As the winner of the New York Photography Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?

I am delighted that I am one of the winners! I can't believe some of my photos are winning entries. Cool, and proof that I'm probably doing the right thing!

10Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 New York Photography Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

I photographed Tooske as the Girl with a pearl earring, inspired by Johannes Vermeer's painting. I gave it my own touch and feel. But the look in her eyes and on her face is absolutely stunning! I had her in my studio several times. She's a natural model. It's almost impossible not to take a good picture of her. The second photo is also from Tooske.

I was inspired by a famous Dutch photographer (Gemmy Woud-Binnendijk). She created miniature rooms and later put a real model in them. I wanted to create something like this myself, and so did a series of images created with Tooske and her two sisters Jet and Floortje who are also very photogenic!

11How has winning an award developed your career?
I haven't thought about this, because it's not my main job, but it sure helps open some doors.
12Name 1-3 photographers who have inspired you.
Gemmy Woud-Binnendijk, Chris Knight, and Glynn Dewis.
13What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out, by a mentor or your role model?
Listen and learn from critique given at your work!
14What advice would you give someone who would like to become a photographer today?

Listen and learn from critique given at your work! It will definitely help you to get better at it.

15What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

Just try to do what you love to do, and make beautiful images!

16How do you stay in that space of being receptive to new information and knowledge?
I look at the work of other photographers on the internet and try to learn from them and get inspired by them.
17Anything else you would like to add to the interview?
I would like to thank my main models Floortje, Jet, and Tooske, and especially their Mom (Daniëlle) and Dad (Erik) for always helping me to make some awesome images of the girls!

Winning Entry

Endless | 2023

A composite of 2 photos. I created a miniature background room and photographed this in my studio, I used two godox flashes ...
(Read more at New York Photography Awards)

René Kuipers

René Kuipers is a photographer living in the Netherlands, who studied photography at the Fotoacademie in Amsterdam and exhibited 5 portraits at The Krasnapolsky Hotel for 7 years in total!

Read more about this article from Helena Stjernberg From Sweden, the Silver Winner from the New York Photography Awards.