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Photo essay Portait
Photographer Paul van Bueren makes beautiful portraits with an honest and personal approach to photography. This way of working goes hand in hand with his choice for analog photography and creating his own prints.
Tell us a little about your background – what path led you to becoming a photographer, and to doing what you’re doing today?
While I was studying to become an outdoor instructor, I fell of a Mountain climbing it. I broke my ankle and the physiotherapist told me I was not able to finish my eduction. During the revalidation period, some friends and I where visiting a car show, this is at the beginning of the first digital slr camera became affordable to the public. One of my friends bought such a camera and handed it to me telling I should find out how it worked. I was immediately hooked. And I want to know everything about making a good photograph there is to know. So I decided to go to the Dutch ‘Foto Academy’ what was based in Rotterdam at the time. This is where I first came across Large Format Photography, we had a very good teacher who was very enthusiastic about shooting 4x5” negatives. We did not have a working darkroom at school, something I still regret. I did not finish the Academy since my own company as a Business Photographer took off. So I decided to go for it. This was back in 2008. I worked as a commercial Photographer for over ten years when I lost my joy in this line of work and wanted to focus more and more on my analogue Photography. This is when I built my own darkroom and taught myself to develop film and make handcrafted Photographs from scratch. These handcrafted Photographs sell worldwide to collectors, from Hollywood to London and from Taiwan to Paris. At this moment I work on several Projects simultaneously. Researching who I am and what it is want.
Can you tell me a bit more about the project?
I was told too many times not to feel my own feelings, not to think my own thoughts. Pure Portrait is a personal Project for me to refind my joy in Photography, to feel my own feelings again and think my own thoughts again, without being judged for it by someone other than myself. Allowing myself to make mistakes within the Photographs, raw instead of perfection. Scratches and dust, motion blur and out of focus. Intuitive images.
Making those kind of portraits I want to make. As part of this project 'Pure Portrait 500' I invited myself to go back to my basics, as where I first started to love Photography and shooting intuitively, instead of making that what is expected of me.
As a Hypersensitive Artist with anxiety issues, I find it very difficult to follow my instincts and not listen to all the noise in my head.
Make that photograph because I find something beautiful or I have that feeling I must take a Photograph because otherwise a feeling might go away for ever.
Who is your photography hero and why?
Besides a lot of ‘big names’ like Avedon, Bailey and lesser known, dutch Photographers Gerard Fieret and Sanne Sannes that are in my personal Photography and Art Library.
Everyone who is Photographing for personal reasons, to look for answers to find solutions to personal problems or just to get to know yourself better or see yourself in a different light can be my hero. Photography as a form of Therapy. Slowing down form the constant moving and judgmental society. Taking a step back and ask yourself questions.
What would be your dream creative project?
Every project I have worked on or is currently in progress has been a ‘dream project’ somewhere along or during the process. My projects all start from a personal feeling or something I care about or speaks to me on a personal level. I am a documentary maker by nature, I like to follow someone over a long period of time, to see their personal life and battles. Since I am able to personify a building or a landscape I would love to combine portraits of people and places into a book or exhibition in the near future.
What are you looking forward to?
Photograph more. Becoming a printmaster in my darkroom. Keep making a living out of my art.
© Pictures by Paul van Bueren