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Blue Hours – The Leica digicam Weblog


As quiet slowly settles over town, Joep Hijwegen and his Leica SL head out seeking the very best motifs. Evening after evening, he wanders the streets of Utrecht and Amsterdam, pushed by his instincts and a specific sense of aesthetics. Over time, he developed a singular narrative to inform the story of a neon-lit metropolis that has come to a standstill, and the place the unusual has instantly develop into magical.

You appear to like roaming cities after sundown. What fascinates you about being at nighttime, and taking part in with synthetic mild?
I’m drawn to each the aesthetics and the ambiance of the evening. Maybe most significantly although, it forces a distinct manner of seeing that’s extra dreamlike. In comparison with the daytime, all the pieces is concurrently extra targeted and extra in flux. The shortage of pure, fixed mild signifies that there’s a limitation to what you expertise on the identical time, with specific conditions and scenes leaping out extra strongly than others. On the identical time, mild is continually in movement and each second is completely different. The result’s that the evening seems like a cinematic dream to me.

Was there an preliminary concept behind this challenge, or do you simply take pleasure in capturing the belongings you see in your very personal manner?
My newest e book and challenge, Blue Hours, was the primary time I actually labored on a challenge relatively than only one picture at a time. That mentioned, it nonetheless was not spawned by an preliminary concept that was set out prematurely. The mix of a lockdown and a breakup merely modified one thing in my thoughts, that I then noticed mirrored in my photographs. As soon as I seen the sample of extra pure shapes and fewer individuals showing, I spotted this was one thing I used to be residing and a manner of seeing that might not final endlessly; so I made a decision to leap on it and observe that intuition.

What catches your eye if you’re on the road? Do you’ve gotten any favorite topics or locations?
Something that makes me cease and lift a digicam, which is an increasing number of the longer I {photograph}. I was primarily taken with individuals and nostalgic components, however on this collection they’re gone and new issues, like timber and cease indicators, instantly make an look. This was additionally shocking to me, as I used to detest them and labored fairly laborious to maintain them out of my images. Then as I stored progressing within the work, I began to appreciate why I instantly cherished them. I’m drawn to aesthetics, however the aesthetics additionally should carry some symbolic weight.

There are hardly any individuals in your images. What position did the lockdown play throughout your work on this challenge?
By way of bodily environment, I may have theoretically performed the identical work exterior the lockdown, because the areas the place I shot had been largely abandoned even earlier than the lockdown. Nonetheless, with out the lockdown I might have by no means been drawn to those areas or to those images. The lockdown outlined my frame of mind, and my need was to seize this sense – and to seize town as a abandoned wasteland.

The melancholy, surrealism and in addition playful aesthetics of your photographs are charming. That are the most important influences in your pictures?
Most of my visible influences lie exterior of pictures, in expressionist and impressionist portray and within the science fiction motion pictures of the late twentieth century. The previous influences me in how I take into consideration texture and color composition. To me a photograph ought to nonetheless work even should you had been to completely blur it out and put it the wrong way up. I would like the ‘fields’ of color and lightweight to really feel good instinctively. The latter is an inspiration each for material and common aesthetics. There’s something concerning the extremely stylized worlds of, for instance, cyberpunk: in a manner, it’s popular culture and business imagery taken to such an excessive that it turns into creative. These motion pictures present that by doubling down on probably the most extreme elements of mainstream visible tradition, you may say one thing about our society’s obsessions and vices, and I believe that’s one thing that motivates me as effectively.

At what level in your life did you begin with pictures, and the way has your ardour developed over time?
Pictures for me was born as a type of remedy: my first photographs had been taken as a form of visible diary, reminding me the place I had been and what I’d performed, to beat a lethal concern of fading away. I shortly found pictures’s largest therapeutic energy lay within the creation of one thing new out of present conditions. As quickly as I pressed that shutter, I didn’t simply seize a state of the world, I had simply created a brand new one. This capacity of pictures to vary actuality in a manner that it turns into ours, continues to be my largest inspiration and drive. I need to specific how I expertise the world, by capturing it to not present what’s actually occurring, however what narratives I see.

You at all times appear to stability rigorously between formal aesthetics and moods. What’s extra necessary for you? Is there one thing you need to evoke within the viewer?
I see them as deeply complementary and equally important. Essentially the most attention-grabbing scenario in dangerous mild will nonetheless make for a foul {photograph} – a minimum of for my part. For me, one thing can solely make an impression whether it is aesthetically stunning, and, irrespective of how necessary the topic, I’m solely taken with it once I can order it in a manner that feels good to me. That is additionally due to my objective in pictures: to indicate the ability of the subjective. For me pictures is about discovering that means and order in a world that appears random, and I hope to encourage others to do the identical.

How did you get into the world of Leica cameras?
My first digicam was a small polaroid and an inexpensive, no-name rangefinder. Later, I purchased an M3 as a ‘therapeutic’ digicam to make use of at any time when I had a digital burnout. I cherished the way in which it appeared, felt and the rangefinder expertise, and shortly realized I wished to have some digital equal to it. I spent some time making an attempt out various things to see what I wanted and, in the end, landed on the SL typ 601 for probably the most exact work that requires an EVF, and the M9-P for a looser and extra spontaneous really feel. Mixed with the M3 and an R4, I’ve digital and movie workflows which can be comparable sufficient in order that I don’t have to switch my capturing behaviour.

You shot this challenge with the Leica SL. During which manner did the digicam assist to perform your targets?
I believe the EVF has had probably the most optimistic affect. I’ve at all times been a manual-focus-only photographer, preferring classic lenses for each their rendering and really feel. However with earlier cameras I had some disagreeable surprises as soon as I noticed my footage on an enormous display screen, however with the huge EVF what I see is at all times what I get. It additionally helps that it naturally exhibits a color grade that I actually like, which implies I see extra potential in scenes I’d in any other case maybe discover boring. The digicam can be extremely zen: it has a whole lot of customizability however only a few buttons, that means you may set it as soon as to do all the pieces you want it to do, and principally by no means have to consider it once more afterwards. That is nice, as I discover the much less you must assume whereas taking images, the extra you may let intuition information you.

Do you’ve gotten any specific photographic strategy when capturing tasks?
For this specific challenge, time and site had been crucial. I solely began capturing from sundown onwards, and solely in abandoned city areas. This required some planning and meant I had a quick window to discover daily, typically following the sundown. Aside from that there was no actual strategy, aside from letting my eye and intestine feeling information me. The toughest half is to not inhibit that, getting caught up in some concept of what you need to be capturing, or putting limits on what’s and isn’t a part of the challenge. Slightly, I attempt to simply observe my impulses, taking footage of no matter seems as stunning to me.

Joep Hijwegen (1994) is a self-taught, high-quality artwork photographer residing in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Born in a rural village, he first picked up a digicam whereas engaged on a BA in Philosophy in Utrecht. At first solely photographing as a type of self-therapy, he turned an increasing number of obsessive about the medium as a manner of ‘re-framing life’ and supplying it with that means. He signed up with the Kahmann Gallery in Amsterdam in 2020, and in addition works on business tasks by way of the Underpromise Company. He has self-published two books, with Blue Hours at the moment spawning his first solo exhibition at MENDO BOOKS. When he isn’t out photographing, Joep is normally watching motion pictures, studying books or listening to music. He’s notably captivated with existential philosophy, sci-fi motion pictures, instrumental jazz and hip hop, all of which function inspiration for his work. Discover out extra about his pictures on his web site and Instagram channel.

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