Ep. 014: Henk van Kooten | Be Inspired Photography Podcast
Portrait photographer Henk van Kooten on the Be Inspired Photography Podcast.
In this week’s show, we chat to portrait photographer Henk van Kooten about his background in nursing, photographs with depth and how to run a successful studio.
Henk van Kooten’s Bio:
I was born and raised in the small town of Veenendaal.
I have three brothers, one of whom is my identical twin, and one younger sister. My childhood formed me into the person I am today.
After secondary school, where I learned a lot, I was unsure of my further direction in life. This led to my having had a few different occupations: physiotherapy, psychiatric nursing, social work, setting up a workshop for the unemployed, mending and selling old furniture and toys, etc.
I decided to go to the University Hospital in Nijmegen to become a nurse and pursued that career for a long time. It was during this period that I met my wife, Christina and when our relationship began. We were married and were fortunate enough to have four beautiful, healthy daughters.
I worked as a nurse for a total of 14 years. During this time, I worked for a local photographer on a freelance basis for 8 years.
I was working in two completely different worlds, but there was also some common ground between the two. In the hospital I learned to see a patient as a psycho-socio-somatic synthesis. I learned to recognise emotions and how to deal with them. I learned how to look into their eyes and understand how they felt, and observed their body language. This training has been very useful in my photography.
I then decided to open my own studio in the town centre of Nijmegen in 1997, after 8 years of balancing my two careers. I finally felt free to do things my own way.
After a one-day seminar in marketing and lighting technology by the then BIPP photographer Leen Koper, I made a giant leap forward. I discovered and created new paths of exploration.
I was told I had distinct style of my own, which was seen as something completely new across the globe. This was something I could not get my head around at the time. I feel that defining one’s personal style is something others impose upon you. I just did what I loved to do and what I thought I should be doing. Luckily, my customers appreciated the way I did things; maybe in this way they even developed some part of my present style, since they were the source of my inspiration. My point of departure is that people should be able to create their own personal space; they can be who they are and feel respected for who they are.
Photography as reflection.
Photography is a non-verbal form of communication.
The final result should, I think, be called Art. And Art is in turn, a reflection of one’s soul. Art is envisaging to convey a language that people can feel.
We moved from the centre of Nijmegen to a new studio in the industrial area of Wijchen, about 10 kilometres from the town centre in late 2003. The unsure boy that I was had to start believing in something bigger than himself. I did this by giving workshops, master classes and lectures across Europe and the United States. Being part of the XXV in the U.S. was something I had hoped would launch my work in America and especially New York. I had already worked in Albuquerque, New Mexico, so I was ready for the real deal. However, my children’s education was more important. They are now of the age that they are becoming more and more self-sufficient. My wife Christina works full-time and looks after sales, marketing, networking, make-up and styling.
After opening my own studio and joining the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP), I started working on gaining qualification through the Institute. To my amazement, I got my Fellowship within 1.5 years. A spectacular result.
I won numerous awards, including the International Wedding Photographer of the Year Awards twice, the Lichfield Award (for the most creative use of people), the BIPP ‘Overseas Wedding’, ‘Fashion and Glamour’, ‘Commercial’ and ‘Overall Photographer of the Year 2004′.
I joined the MPA (Master Photographers Association) and obtained my Fellowship there.
At the time I felt that was enough, but discovered that a new qualification was being set up in Europe. Carrying out a trade through education, judging and mentoring has become an essential part of our business.
I gained three qualifications within the European Federation in Fashion, Portrait and Wedding photography. A year later I was the first Dutch photographer, and the sixth in Europe, to gain the title of Master Qualified European Photographer with a series of 20 photographs on the theme of ‘Disappearing’.
Be Inspired Photography Podcast with Henk van Kooten.
00:00 Welcome to Episode 14 of the Be Inspired Photography Podcast.
00:59 Click here to sign up and get your FREE Monochrome Photoshop Actions.
Henk van Kooten Interview on the Be Inspired Photography Podcast.
01:40 Henk van Kooten interview.
01:58 How Henk van Kooten first became interested in photography.
03:27 Exploring conceptual photography from an early age.
07:11 How Henk made the move to becoming a professional photographer.
14:04 Henk van Kooten’s style of photography.
18:56 Photographing to help people and why not everyone has to smile in photos.
26:55 Henk van Kooten’s standard creative workflow and his 10-minute portrait system.
36:20 Giving your customer value for money.
38:24 The cameras that Henk van Kooten shoots with now.
42:54 What inspires Henk van Kooten.
46:53 Henk’s top technical tip.
46:50 Where to find Henk van Kooten online and how to find out more about his educational platforms.
51:13 Who is Henk van Kooten’s favourite photographer of all time?
20:56 Rob’s typical camera setup and ‘zooming with your feet.’
23:00 What inspires Rob Woodcox?
24:06 Playing with fire: DON”T TRY THIS AT HOME.
28:55 Rob Woodcox’s best advice for new photographers.
30:50 Rob’s top technical tip!
31:51 Details on Rob Woodcox’s upcoming workshops.
35:54 Who is Rob Woodcox’s favourite photographer of all time?
Be Inspired Photography Podcast Episode 14.
54:19 Thank you to Henk van Kooten for joining us on the Be Inspired Photography Podcast.
54:25 Click here to get your FREE Monochrome Photoshop Actions.
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