As prescribed by Paulina Constancia
Welcome to a new week here on DDoA. Being an artist and an eager learner, I am naturally interested in how things come to be. Thus, when I meet creative professionals, I am always curious as to how they ended up doing what they’re doing. Normally, photographers cover a story. This week on DDoA, we’ll hear their personal stories and journeys, plus some tips they have been generous enough to share with us. We start our Passion for Photography special series with Dutch photographer Maurits van Hout and his portrayal of people and personalities.
Name: Maurits van Hout
Name of Company: Maurits van Hout Photographer
City and Country base: The Hague /The Netherlands
DDoA: What was your first camera? Tell us the story behind it:
MvH: My first camera was a simple plastic one with just 2 buttons and a film. I got it when I was 12 years old and started shooting all kinds of stuff. When the others played on the beach I was looking for a way to capture the world in my way.
DDoA: Your camera now: Why this make/model?
MvH: These days i use Nikon D3 and D3s. Professional Dslrs with the possibility to work in almost all conditions.
DDoA: What would you recommend as a starter camera for somebody who wants to pursue photography as a hobby? as a profession?
MvH: For hobby, I would suggest to start with a simple camera and when you get more experienced grade up with the possibilities you need for your photography. Make the camera grow with you, otherwise you spend money for options you never use.
As a professional, it depends on what kind of jobs you usually do. In general, a professional needs professional bodies, since you can’t have a fail. A strong body is needed often. Because you never know what happens. The body can be hit, or someone might drop it when you don’t expect it.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Passion & Profession
DDoA: What was your profession before? What made you pursue a career in photography? Who/what inspired you to go into photography?
MvH: Before I was a successful account manager for an insurance company. I came to a crossroad in my life and decided what really made me happy. Meeting people, visiting different places while being busy with photography. I sold everything i had and invested in professional stuff. The rest i needed for solving less income in the first years.
Inspiration: photographers like Cartier Bresson or Robert Frank.
DDoA: Was there a defining moment or a photo you took that made you realise that taking photos is what you want to do for the rest of your life?
MvH: When I was a starting amateur photographer, I made a documentary about parking garages in black and white. The serie was sold 2 times and won 2nd price in a national competition. Together with 9 other series it was exhibited for 1 year around the country.
DDoA: Do you have a favourite subject? What was your most unforgettable photo shoot/session?
MvH: In general, I prefer taking photos of people. Professionally it means many portraits for magazines, in all kinds of situations. I also do sports and many concerts. But for free work street photography is my big thing. Catching great moments/situations in a blink of an eye touching the souls of the people. Paris, Amsterdam, Antwerp and Brussels are my working areas. Hopefully, I can add New York to it. All kinds of people are good as long as they are interesting and telling a story visually. But always with respect.
Most unforgettable: That’s a difficult question since in all the years so many moments were great. Sometimes it was the situation not even the photo, I once had a photo afternoon as sole photographer with our queen. I made her scratch a record and caught the moment. That evening it was shown large on national TV, with my name. That was special.
DDoA: What is your definition of a good picture?
MvH: A good picture is honest and shows the moment/situation in full glory. Technically the light should be great while composition is adding greatly to the impact.
DDoA: What are some of the advantages & disadvantages of photography as a profession?
MvH: Advantages: freedom (although deadlines can be killing) and being busy with your passion everyday. Being in special places/situations nobody gets to see. Meeting people you normally dont meet, like ministers or musicians. Having a life which changes from day to day.
Disadvantages: It’s not a job for becoming rich although a few manage to do that 🙂
You need to be flexible since you might get a call to work at night or very early. Deadlines can be terrible. Photographers have also boring days like sitting behind the computer all day working the images. You continuously need to invest in new stuff. Bigger, better, faster, more up to date etc. And there is competition. All the world thinks they are photographer, lacking skills but killing markets by working cheap. There are more photographers than jobs so it can be hard to get enough work.
DDoA: What tips can you give to photography enthusiasts on taking photos of people/personalities?
MvH: Always respect the one you are taking photos of. That does not mean you have to ask permission always, but it can be helpful. Just be in contact with people. Be decent. Don’t take pictures you don’t want to have taken of you in the same way. Another person is not a prey but someone to cooperate with.
DDoA: How do you think photographers can influence the way people perceive the world? Do you think photographers are able to motivate people to make positive change in the world.
MvH: They already do. Especially photojournalists do. But photographers should be ethical and honest. Showing all sides of a case. In general photographers can show the beauty of the world and make people appreciate more like nature. We can warn people by photos showing effects of behaviour. But the change has to come from the inside and not everybody is openminded and willing to reflect.
MvH: I had many publications in business to business magazines and sports magazines but also Dutch newspapers like “Telegraaf”, „Eindhovens Dagblad”, „Dagblad Gooi en Eemlander”, NRC en Volkskrant. I have even had photos published in a few foreign newspapers in South Africa, Curacao, Argentina and recently the Serbian Newspaper Politika.
To see more of Maurits van Hout’s incredible images, check out the following links:
View Maurits’ music photos:
View Maurits’ business portraits:
Find Maurits on Facebook:
Check out Maurits’ Photography Workshops/Courses: