Hi, my name is Giedo van der Zwan. I was born in Amsterdam, I was raised in The Hague and I studied (business economics) in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. I have returned to The Hague where I live with my wife and three teenage children. Professionally I am a writer and a ‘creative consultant’ and I publish coffee table books.
So, I have quite a busy life and, as I’m the flexible one working from home, I also do the family logistics and the cooking – which I like doing by the way: like photography, cooking is all about creating a tangible (and hopefully tasteful end result) based on your own vision and personal approach.
Since 2017, my photography is 100% street. I love to be able to go out when an opportunity arises with a small camera and a small flash.
Although I like to prepare my shoots as to where and when I’m going, the moment I grab my camera I start shooting quite intuitively. I shoot with ‘my gut’ and I am not very patient, so I tend to move around quickly.
I like to shoot with a wide lens and a flash. I shoot close to people and from multiple perspectives, to create bright, sharp, colorful images that show ‘real people’ in their environment. Preferably my images contain something unexpected. That can be an emotion, a quirky detail, an absurd scene, but I like to create clean, preferably layered, images.
To combine all of these factors together in one single frame is often too much to ask, but I keep trying!
I think most people know me from my beach work, but I also like to take my camera to more urban environments. I tend to look for busy scenes as a crowd enables me to get closer to people. This also makes the end result less predictable, but I’m the kind of guy that likes surprises 😉
My long-term projects also define my shooting locations, such as: outdoor music, fun fairs, dogs and of course the beach which will probably be a theme for me as long as I can use a camera.
There was a time, when I believed that sunny weather was not good for photography, but now I believe quite the opposite: when the sun comes out (which is not that often in my country) I immediately feel an urge to go shooting. I love to add flash to the bright and saturated colors in these conditions as to mimic a sort of studio look that I use for candid shooting. It helps me to confuse people when they look at my images.
Photography is my therapy. It helps me to cope with difficult moments in life, allowing me to letting things go and focus on just one thing.
Also, photography combines many elements that I really like doing, such as traveling or wandering, discovering, observing and connecting with people. I think that spotting a potential scene and then being able to capture it and create something beautiful from that, is one of the best feelings you can have.
A pleasant side effect of photography, I must confess, is to see your own work exhibited, published or win prizes. I am a lot vainer than I would like to confess, and I feel really blessed that I now can organize workshops doing what I love to do in beautiful locations that are attended by wonderful people and inspirational photographers who often become friends.