Interview with Wouter der Weerd
Question 1: What’s your name?
Walter: “I am Wouter van der Weerd, if you speak English, then Walter is fine. I am a 36 year old photographer from the Netherlands. I love to take photos, make videos, play guitar and above all spend time or travel with my girlfriend and son! :)”
Question 2: Where are you from?
Walter: “I was born in Groningen. It’s a reasonable sized city in the north of our country, the Netherlands. It’s known to be a very “young” city. Actually the city itself is pretty old but we have a very well known university and loads of young people who want to study and enjoy life here. All and all a pretty awesome place to live. I was born in Groningen and have never lived anywhere else. I travelled to loads of places but always feel fine coming home to Groningen.”
Question 3: What’s your perspective on what it takes to be a photographer?
Walter: “Anybody can be a photographer these days right? I mean we all have a camera in our pocket. And some of them are pretty decent cameras! But that would suggest that I would call anybody who points and shoots photos with a smartphone a photographer. A pretty narrow definition of what a photographer is if you ask me. If you ask me, and you do, it takes a little more to be a photographer. First of all there’s the technical aspect of being a photographer. It comes in handy to know a bit about the concept of light hitting a sensor or film through a lens. The basics sort a speak. It’s pretty handy to know what ISO means and does to a photo, what different aperture settings or focal lengths can do to your photo and how you can change the look and feel of a photo in camera or afterwards while editing on a computer. Then there’s the part of theory. The theory or some say rules of photography, for instance about how to compose a photo. There’s tons of information online or in books about how to compose great photos. All and all a pretty important part of being a photographer. But the most important part of what it takes to be a photographer is to be able to capture a moment in such a way that a viewer can recall the moment and relate to the story in a certain way. Recall it not only visually but also emotionally. Once the viewer sees and feels the story unfold, that’s when you know it’s a good photo. This was a pretty tough question to answer, especially these days with everyone taking snapshots with often only a smartphone it becomes more difficult to distinguish the photographer from someone who points and shoots.”
Question 4: What makes you want to create or to be a creative artist?
Walter: “That’s a question I often ask myself. It amazes me that photography has been something for so long now that drives me to go out and shoot. Photography has been my number one thing to do for so long now. I guess it’s the fact that it takes you to places you’ve never been, it drives you to look at things in many different ways and once you get good at it the stories that unfold before you, or moments of which you think a worth mentioning can be captured and shared. I guess that’s what drives me to create. Look for and share stories and moments through photography.”
Question 5: How did you begin photography?
Walter: “I’ve always had a fascination for photography, but never in a sense of actually understanding the art of it. Making memories, point and shoot, is something I’ve been doing for years now. But the moment I realised that taking a photo can be more than just point and shoot was when I first got my real camera with two exchangeable lenses. My father gave me his old Canon EOS 300D with two lenses. Out of the blue he decided to upgrade his camera to a more compact version. He was tired of bringing lenses and other stuff when he could also just bring a small more compact camera. He gave his old one to me when I visited my parents during a holiday on the island of Terschelling. Because the beach was nearby I decided to make the best of the moment and started exploring the beach with my first ever DSLR camera. When I discovered what the camera, well in this case the lenses, could do, for instance when it comes to a shallow depth of field and sharpness, I was amazed and hooked. The possibilities this would give me to make better photos were endless! From that moment on photography became more than just point and shoot. I was hooked!”
Question 6: Do you see photography changing in today's culture? How?
Walter: “Yes and no. Let me explain. Yes it has changed, everyone can now easily take a photo. We all have pretty decent cameras in our pockets. This makes taking a photo a lot easier compared to let’s say 20 years ago. Back then you had to buy a camera, in most cases lenses and ofcourse film. That film had to be developed into photos. A pretty expensive and time consuming business which made photography not really accessible to the general public. That improved with cameras becoming smaller, less expensive and film development services of less than an hour. But still you had to be at least interested in photography to be taking photos often. That has changed entirely with the cameras in our phones at the moment. Literally everyone can now take photos. With that being the case it becomes more difficult to distinguish the photographer from someone who just takes a snapshot. I answered this question with both yes and no. Yes, photography changed, in the sense as described above. But no in the sense that taking a truly good photo still requires nearly the same skill and knowledge about photography. You still have to know something about the concept of light hitting a sensor or film. Light that passes through a certain lens, set with parameters such as focal length and aperture. The theory about a great composition and the ability to tell a story are still things that are required to take a great photo. So in that sense photography hasn’t changed that much at all.”
Question 7: How would you define passion?
Walter: “In the end I guess it’s just something that gets and keeps you moving. It’s something that often costs you energy and time but I doesn’t feel that way, it feels as if it gives you energy and it’s often fulfilling. It’s hard to define and to describe but often easy to feel. Photography is something that gets and keeps me moving, it’s something that gives me satisfaction and fulfillment, so by my own definition of passion I could say photography is a passion of mine.”