I've been working exclusively with Fujifilm cameras for the last five or six years and I'm proud that I was one of their first ambassadors. Last year I started using Fuji's medium format camera, the GFX50S because it produces big files, but even more importantly because the pictures are much richer and full of subtle detail then any other system I've ever used. I've been using this camera for most of my commercial and portrait work.
Over the years Fuji has commissioned me for many images for their website, brochures, trade shows, ... Two months ago they gave me an open assignment to produce portraits with a new lens for the medium format system. I love it when a client gives me a lot of freedom and I decided to shoot a portrait series of people who combine life in our western society with a deep connection with nature.
Bert & Kiki run a company called Rewilding Drum. They help people, companies and organisations to achieve health and balance by reconnecting them to the natural world.
We shot these pictures in an abandoned quarry in the Belgian Ardennes. Doing this with all our photo, lighting and video equipment was a bit of a challenge but thanks to some good planning and some strong backs, we pulled it off.
Elle Wolfs is a young amateur model who loves being outdoors and takes it as a personal mission to show young people how important self-acceptance is and how great it is to not go with the flow of what are society dictates.
Sven and I have been friends for over half our lives although at the start it was a weird mix of opposing personalities. He is a fisherman, hunter, outdoor cook, gardener, ... I sometimes see him struggle with being a wild man in a tame society. But his fight is an inspiration.
We shot Sven at his beloved Belgian coast.
Eduard must be one of the few professional hunters in the Netherlands. His profession may not be popular among people who have lost their connection to the non-Disney version of nature but without his hard work to control the overabundance of geese, the livelihood of farmers would be in danger as well as the safety of the planes flying in and out of Schiphol airport. Ever since he discovered the internet and social media he has been on a mission to share the experiences of a life in the field with the world.
Shooting outdoors on a tight deadline often requires some good improvisation skills. Circumstances forced us to abandon the original plan and find a new one. In the end a window of barely 10 minutes of good sunset light proved enough to make the photos and shoot the behind-the-scenes video footage.
Leen is a sheep herder who manages one of the biggest natural reserves in Flanders together with her flock of sheep. A growing awareness of the benefits of traditional ways of managing nature gave her the opportunity to live the lifestyle she loves. It can be hard, the days are long and in a world run by numbers it's a challenge and a big risk to make it work. But she feels it's all worth a life in tune with nature.
Projects with different subjects and natural environments on a tight deadline are always a challenge and for the Fuji's Monster Glass project another layer of complexity was added on top. We also had to shoot a behind-the-scenes video of the whole thing.
I'm very proud of this project but none of it would have been possible without an amazing cast and small crew.