The Accidental Artist
Incidentally, Zart invites artists to write a guest post. When asked to do something for Zart on art and photography, David de Leeuw is for once at a loss for words. This does not happen very often. David is a senior editor and journalist in the first place. He did not take his work as a photographer very seriously at first. Until the success of his recent photo series Reflections blew everyone, the artist included, away. As so many others before him, he is an accidental artist really. Read his story.
The Accidental Artist
By David de Leeuw
Writing a blog post? About art and photography? I really have no clue. Alright, I take pictures and Zart sells them and rents them out. That transforms my pastime into art all of a sudden. Not that you will hear me complain. Let’s proceed to tell you how I go about the business of making photos, shall I? And why I do it in the first place.
From Keyboard Mercenary to Photographer
It wasn’t until 2012 that I bought a camera, a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 (compact) and started photographing for real. I was 47 then. Before that, I’d never taken pictures. I thought it was bollocks, really. ‘You can always remember where you’ve been, right?’, I thought. That turned out to be not quite the whole story 🙂 As a child, I already had a sense for moods and atmospheres, not only with people but also with environments like cities. I didn’t know what to do with that inner world of magic and fantasy. At 25, I’d already turned my writing talent into word prostitution. After a working day as a keyboard mercenary, I’m completely empty. Who knew a camera could come in handy as an instrument to express myself? I discovered that in 2011, when I started taking simple snapshots. That was fun! Likes on facebook! Hi, I’m David and I’m a facebook-likes-addict. People encouraged me to proceed and I switched to a real camera.
I’m steadily wising up as a photographer because I ‘have to’ venture out with my camera almost every day. EXPRESS YOURSELF! the expression animal keeps on urging me. So then I take a walk and see what happens. I love puddles. When I hold my camera just above it or even dip it in, lovely reflection photographs result. Why doesn’t everyone do it this way! Tourists and locals crowd the streets and look wearily upon the kneeling fatso taking pictures of water in the gutter. They don’t know, do they. Of course, reflection photos become a bit of a standard trick after a while but I LOVE IT! A recent discovery is the vertical panoramic picture, a great way to cut out a beautiful and relatively unspoilt image in ridiculously busy city centres with ugly cars and clothes everywhere. For the past half year or so, I’ve been using a photo editing programme which shows me all the colours in black and white and how to correct warped perspective so buildings appear straight again. Sharpening is a nice tool and highlights and what have you but you must be careful not to exaggerate, however, that can be good too at times and blah blah blah, look I’m already rambling.
Photography as a Free Zone
In principle, everything I do is intuitive and through experience, a bit of craftsmanship creeps in. I don’t read manuals, it all comes naturally and that’s the way I’d like to keep it. I don’t do assignments, photography is my free zone. Of course, I have Great Examples, from Eva Besnyö and Jacob Olie to Pim Kops, a contemporary fellow Amsterdammer. All of them real artists. Am I one, or becoming one? Judge for yourself on Zart.