I am proud to call freelance photographer Marc de Ridder a friend. I consider him a source of inspiration for my photography and I am grateful that he has mentored me in the use of my SLRs and in Lightroom. I caught up with him in person on Wednesday and asked him my wee interview... this is what he had to say.
1) Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Marc de Ridder. I currently work as a Solutions Architect for a Bank and take photographs in my spare time, both as a hobby and as a freelance photographer. My main passions in photography are without a doubt landscape, wildlife and travel.
2) What are you working on at the moment?
Working on several photography projects at the moment.
The first one is an ongoing project. I want to create, or should I say finish, a book on La Gomera... a stunning small island west of Tenerife. It's much less touristy... no disco in town... a walkers' paradise that is visually stunning and diverse, ranging from steep cliffs plunging into the sea to steep ridges split by deep gorges to volcanic rock spouts and a laurel leaf forest often enclosed within the low clouds. My goal is to record this island visually from images taken during visits from the past twelve years.
My other project is more recent.. it is to create a portfolio of photos of swallows in flight. Lynn, my partner, and I have recently bought a cottage in West Scotland and the natural habitat that surrounds it is breathtaking. We have a couple of swallow nests and I want to capture these beautiful birds in flight. However getting great shots of them is a real challenge... compared to other animals such as my faithful whippet Lola at speed this is in a completely different league. Swallows are very hard to capture in flight and I am relishing the challenge of observing them, understanding their flight patterns and favourite perches and choosing the right time in terms of light and wind to capture them.
3) Who inspires you?
Name an artist who has inspired you.
I admire the work of a lot of current and historical photographers, famous or not, but the following four stand out for me:
- For Landscapes, it has to be Ansel Adams for his stunning black and white landscapes images.
- For Nature, Frans Lanting. I especially love his storytelling in photos... how he can take a series of photos and tell an interesting story with them, the most famous one being 'Life', a collection of nature photographs telling the story of earths evolution/creation.
- For travel, Felice Beato. His 19th century pioneering travel photography of the far east, especially China is absolutely stunning in addition to recording the time/history.
- For inspiration and stimulation, Calen Rowell. I love his writing and philosophical approach to photography as well as his mountain and nature photography.
Name place that has inspired you.
Two places that inspire me are La Gomera and the Highlands and Islands of the West of Scotland. The latter is one of the reasons why I came to live in Scotland 20-odd years ago and why I bought a cottage out in the wild west of Scotland. The former is a place where we (Lynn & I) would like to move when I retire from my day job.
Name some "thing" that has inspired you.
Let me come back to you on that one... not really into 'things' other than my Canon 5D mrk II and my collection of vintage film cameras, like my Nikon FE pictured above.
4) What drives you to do what you do?
I like to challenge myself with the things that interest me. Without a challenge, I get easily and quickly bored. I find the beauty of nature inspiring and I aim to capture the essence and my awe as best I can. Nature provide endless inspiration and challenges.
5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?
I want to capture and appreciate the nature that surrounds me. Taking pictures is my way of seeing and therefore appreciating my surroundings.
6) What role does community play in what you do?
My community helps me to learn. I share what I have created and learn from the constructive feedback I receive from trusted sources. I also learn from the approach of others and get inspiration from them.
Teaching too. Community let's me reciprocate and share with others what I have learned and give back.
7) What is next for what you do?
To try and finish my current photography projects and spend more time to develop within the category of "landscapes"... motivate myself to adopt the "early bird" discipline to enable me to capture the beauty at sunrise.
To further establish and widen my freelance photography.
Awesome, mate... thank you! Here are some of his swallows:
Marc on Flickr