"I find that colour is too distracting. Black and white helps to differentiate it from reality. Therefore, the focus stays much more on this subject."
We’re putting focus on the timeless black and white format of photography. The first artist in this series is Bastiaan Woudt, the photographer whom the British Journal of Photography tipped as “One to watch” in 2016.
Origins and Inspiration
Bastiaan Woudt is a self-trained photographer, developing his craft and signature style through immersion in history of photography, and studying the masters in museums and fairs.
By immersing himself into the world of photobooks and exhibitions, Bastiaan developed from his early Pictorialist style into something wholly more abstract yet sharp, and with a strong focus for detail. His portraits and nudes transform the subject from mere humans into unreal (and ideal), giving a contemporary twist to the classical form.
“I am always looking for things that draw my attention. People, objects, landscapes. I guess I’m not one kind of photographer.
When my eldest son was born, I bought my first ‘real’ camera. From there my interest in the medium exploded and resulted in a career in photography. Much later I found out that in primary school, one of my first essays was on photography.
My inspiration comes from many forms of art, but in particular, the old masters of photography. Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Man Ray, Bill Brandt, all amazing minds and the world’s greatest photographers. They nailed what is takes to make an interesting image. Dynamics, movement, imperfection, feeling. A lot of things I miss in the photography of today. Besides photography, there are many more ways I get inspired. Paintings, the way the Dutch masters saw the light is extraordinary. Also, I get inspired by Roman sculptures, drawings and music.”
Why Black & White Photography?
“As I mentioned before, a big part of my inspiration comes from the old masters of photography. Before I started my career as a photographer, I collected photography prints and books. My eye always focused on the black and white photographs. I find that colour is too distracting. I believe that in art photography, you have to create a little dream world: a unique insight into the photographer’s mind. Black and white helps to differentiate from reality. Therefore, the focus stays much more on the subject.”
"I love how much information I can pull from the files... All of this is really worth it if you look at the results. I am never going back to DSLR or mirrorless systems."
Getting down to details
“Resolution and details are absolutely an important part of my photographic work which is often being shown in large size prints. The resolution definitely helps with these big sizes. The detail is not always seen in my work because I often work with a lot of grain and out-of-focus parts. Still, I think that having the detail in the right parts is essential.
Phase One in my opinion is the best medium format tool you can get your hands on. I just love the way it performs and handles. I love the possibility to shoot in the higher ISOs without any problems. I chose to work with medium format because it gives you a look you cannot get with any other camera system or post processing. The amount of detail and the resolution are amazing to have, but for me, the ‘look’ is the biggest thing. I really cannot describe exactly what this is, but people working with Phase One definitely know.
With Phase One equipment, my workflow changed and my way of shooting changed. Shooting a medium format camera is just really different than shooting a DSLR. It’s heavier, and slower, and therefore your process of making photographs is slower too. This changed the way I worked in my studio, but even more on location. I love how much information I can pull from the files. All of this is really worth it if you look at the results. I am never going back to DSLR or mirrorless systems for my photography.”
What’s next for Bastiaan Woudt?
“I have just finished my newest project “Karawan” which I shot in Morocco. The opening and book release is on the 30th March. Aside from that, I am currently working on a project about a French dancer. I am really looking forward to that one as well.”