An Amazing Landscape, Nature, & Mobile Photographer
Juxt Rewind: Originally posted on March 16, 2012
I hadn’t heard about Robert-Paul Jansen until I had interviewed Star Rush for a Juxt interview not to long ago. She peaked my curiosity and when I was able I had set aside some time to seek this amazing mobile photographer out. It took me some time but luckily (and for some reason) he began following me on Instagram and made mention of how he enjoys the Juxt blog and community. I immediately hit him up for an interview (of course after I introduced myself) and he gladly accepted. I was floored when I went to his IG feed and then to his website. Immediately I thought to myself, that is where mobile is going to go in the next few years; viable, professional, artistic, and supportive. It was a great feeling to see this in action and I hope for some of ya’ll seeking the “next level” for your own personal mobile endeavours, RP is one of the folks to inspire you (along with many of the other mobile photography and mobile arts pioneers – some mentioned in this article).
His bio from 500px: “Robert-Paul is a photographer based in the south of the Netherlands. He uses his photography to show the beauty in the (little) things around us. He captures the world around him with his Sony SLT-a55v and an iPhone 4 plus some minor accessories to make his life easier. His work reflects life and nature from the south of the Netherlands, in the north of Europe.”
I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I do and RP, I along with Juxt, we truly thank you for your work and involvement with the mobile photography community.
With that, let’s jump right into it, hey ya’ll…Meet Robert-Paul Jansen!
B: BP RP: Robert-Paul
B: RP, if you would please tell the readers about where you live. Describe the people, the culture, the architecture, the environment.
RP: I live in a small village in the south of the Netherlands called Gemonde. It has bout 2.500 inhabitants and lots of the families have been living there for a long time. People are very down to earth. I moved here five years ago with my wife and two young children. We lived in a larger city and wanted to move to a village with a lot of nature around us. We succeeded. We have one school, a church, two cafes, and a few companies, but lots of nature..I love it.
We live 15 minutes from a larger city called ‘s-Hertogenbosch and numerous other places. So we go there regurlary. Gemonde is part of Brabant and very close to Belgium. A region well known for it’s agricultural history and environment. Therefor we have lots of farmers in our surroundings and lot’s of old farmhouses.
North of Gemonde is a river (De Dommel), just a five minute walk from my house, where I usually go to to take photos. It lingers through woods and farmland. I love reflections and this river gives me plenty of opportunities.
It was strange. One day, when we just started living here, I told my wife I wanted to photograph the surroundings, on regurlar trips. A few years later I just grew into that routine. Mobile photography started it.
I usually go out with the dogs or leave on my bike and take photos of the nature around me. I am thinking of showing more of the village itself, life in 2012. I love street and document photography, and I am inspired by so many great photographers on 500px and Instagram. Maybe this spring or summer, when the time is right.
Just love the feel of this. I think this is one of the photos I will print next.
B: Can you tell us more about your family? How have they helped you as far as inspiration in your art? How about your dogs? =) Can you tell us about them?
RP: I have a lovely wife and two sons (6yo and 8yo) and they support me all the way. They have to stand up with a father/husband who stops taking photos all the time. And they do. I go out taking photos every sundaymorning, about two hours from 7.30 to 09.30 and that is my own time. I love being on my own with just my camera and me in nature.
B: Do you have other family members who are also photographers? If not, what got you into photography?
RP: Not really. My dad used to have a camera and used it a lot, I still know exactly what it looked like. Very fascinating. He and my sister recently both bought the Nikon d5100 with some nice lenses and they are using it well.
I really don’t know what got me into photography, though I was allways fascinated with it. I’ve allways had a point-and-shoot camera or used disposable cameras. When I lived in Paris for instance I used to buy Ilford disposable cameras and just go out into the city. I took the metro and went to a different arrondisement every week. It was interesting to do because like now, I was much more aware of the beauty of the city. When digital cameras came out, I started to use those for photographs. The Sony Mavica for instance, a camera with floppy disks. You know they made photos with a resolution of 640×480? And that wasn’t a problem back then.
I never used expensive dslr cameras, I’ve had a Nikon d40, Nikon d5100, Fuji X100 and recently I’ve purchased a Sony SLT a-55 and love that camera.
But using my iPhone 3G since beginning of 2010 made me really aware that I love photography and got me hooked big time.
Again, love the feel. These swans have been around for quite a while and have been raising little ones every year. They are so calm and beautiful. I really think it’s captured right in this shot.
B: The beauty of your photographs is its ability to take the viewer into a distant far off place. Can you describe for the readers what your thinking is when you see a shot, take a shot, and an idea of your post process?
RP: Well, for some it is taken from a distant far off place I’ve heard this question ( Where is this taken?) a lot recently actually. Truth is about 95% of my photos is taken within a 5 kilometer radius from where I live. And I really believe beauty is among us everywhere, you just have to be open for it to see it. Using a mobile camera made me so much more aware of the surroundings I live in, because I was ready to take a photo every single moment of the day. Sometimes when the light and other conditions are right you see a photo opportunity you never noticed before, even when you have passed the scene tens of times before. Tiny details can become single frame fairytales.
The elements around us are changing all the time. Elements like light and weather can change within seconds. Having a camera with you all the time really helps to capture that one magnificent moment. Of course, the iPhone has it’s limitations. But those limitations really helped me to grow in photography and made me see possibilities in certain circumstances. I never zoom and have to play with exposure to get the photo right. With these limitations I have learned a lot on composition and light.
Using an iPhone as my main camera has taught me a lot about the elements that influence a photo in general as well. Because you have it with you all the time, you automattically take more photos and all in different weather conditions. That experience has made me more aware of these elements and how to use them to create the best possible results both in shooting and processing.
I don’t take a lot of photos while going out, I do play with manual exposure (usually in Camera+ or Mattebox) and look at which setting the light comes out best. While processing I use ProHDR to blend two photos with seperate exposures to make a well exposed photo. Sometimes you know immediately you made a killer photo, sometimes you know it’s there but some processing has to bring it out. I won’t delete a photo when that didn’t come out, but I delete all photos immediately when I don’t have the right feeling.
I don’t process much, I really like to preserve reality. I usually choose an app which I think serves the photo best and try to create the image I have in mind. If it doesn’t work with that app I switch, but that allmost never happens. Because I only use a few apps I got to know their pros and cons and know what they’ll do with the photo.
One of the photos I took while bringing my son to a hockey game. I wouldn’t have taken it, if I didn’t have my iPhone handy. Another reason why I love mobile photography.
B: You mentioned a few times in your blog or in your answers to me, that you love street photography. What is it about street photography that you love? What are some of the similarities in your art that are parallel to street photography?
RP: I do love street photography because they show the soul of the era they were taken in. That’s what I love about it. Souls of the people in it, (old) buildings. I love going through old photos of streets or people. And isn’t it fantastic that I can see instantly uploaded photos from Berlin, New York, Singapore, Paris or Seattle whenever I check Instagram or Flickr?
Landscape photography just shows the soul of the season. Trees always look the same. Don’t get me wrong I love trees, to me they are the statues of nature, but trees from the 30s looked exactly the same. Which is good.Whenever I am in the city I take a few shots, but usually I don’t have enough time. So I do shoot street photography, just not much. And usually I’m not really confident to share those photos. When I am in the city (usually ‘s-Hertogenbosch) I find it hard to take photos of people passing by. I don’t have enough courage to just shoot. I would like to know how to get over that and don’t hesitate to shoot.
There are a lot of simularities. Like I said, photogs like Sion have shown me how to use light, that’s the same in landscape/nature photography. Composition? Also the same. I am certain that any good street photographer can take good nature photos as well. I do want to combine my landcape/nature photography with documentary photography and make more photos of the people and scenery in my surroundings. Document life in this era in this area of the world. That’s high on my list.
B: Let’s go over some technical things: What apps do you absolutely love? What apps are you learning and may be added more regularly to your repertoire? Also if you would, share a photo and run us through some of your post process that would be awesome.
RP: I used to have a lot of apps on my iPhone. About six months ago I decided I had to delete a lot of those so I could concentrate on using just a few. And I never missed the ones I deleted. The apps I use to shoot are : Mattebox, Camera+, Bracket Mode, Hipstamatic, Lomora2. My favorite processing apps are : Mattebox, Crossprocess, Snapseed, Noir, Simply b&w, Filterstorm, Camera+, Shakeitphoto, Prohdr, Shakeitphoto.
I discovered Mattebox a few weeks ago and love this app. The app uses a totally different method to shoot. It’s super powerfull but has a clean UI. I’ve had a few talks with the developer, Ben Syverson, and he has some great features coming for the 2.0 version of the app. It’s really the photographers photo app.
Title: The Road into Emptyness
1. Original Image
This was taken last weekend when I started my regular photoride on my old bike. It was misty, what I really like. The world is so much more interesting and mystique.
2. I took the original image and processed through CrossProcess green filter
3. As I wasnt to sure about this and wanted the sky to be brighter I processed the original photo to CrossProcess again, now the basic filter.
4. I combined both shots in ProHDR, and set a bit more contrast, saturation and contrast.
5. I opened the image in Snapseed. I use snapseed fo all regular processing.
6. Last I opened it in Filterstorm to make the trees look a bit darker. I used curves. After that I set brightness and used the brush to brighten up the road a little as this is my subject in this photo.
B: Thank you for sharing your process on that photo. I’m sure you will inspire and continue to inspire many people and this glimpse into your post-process will help many of us in our own work. Speaking about inspirations, who are your inspirations in the world of mobile photography?
RP: The whole mobile photographer movement inspires me. So many people use their mobile device to tell stories, and all with their own style. The people that inspire me are most of the times the people who have their own style and stick with it. The streetshots by Greg Schmigel, Misho Baranovic or Aik Beng Chia, portraits by Jim Darling, Hipstamatic landscapes by Chris Harland, Seattle scenery by Star Rush or the moody California photos by Dirk Dallas for instance. When I started using my iPhone 3G to take photos I was heave(n)ly inspired by Sion Fullana and Dominique Jost. Though their work has nothing to do with landscape/nature photography, they showed me how to play with light, shadows and use the device to it’s best.
I recently started using Instagram and that has shown me a lot of talents I didn’t know before. I’m amazed what all people do with their mobile phones and they inspire me on a daily base.
B: For other aspiring mobile photographers, what are your suggestions to them starting out?
RP: Because of sharing apps like Instagram and EYEEM al lot of people have started to use their mobile to photograph. My tips :
- Choose a style and stick with it,
- concentrate on the taking of the photos rather than the processing,
- and please do not over-process those photos. We all can use ten filters on top of eachother and add major vignette. You can’t make a bad photo look good with processing.
- Look at other photographers work, not only mobile photographers, but all great photographers you like and ask yourself with every photo. Do I like it, why, how should I do this. Don’t copy but be inspired.
This wasn’t one of my favorites until Daniel Berman (reservoir_dan) told me to use this for the San Fransisco Arthouse exhibit next month. I told him I would like to de a re-process and after 8 tries I got it right. Usually never process that much on an image. But fog can be a hard nut to crack.
B: Lastly, what would you like to tell the mobile photography community being a member, and also an established photographer for the movement?
RP: The mobile phoography movement is changing, fast. Because of the popularity of apps like Instagram, more and more people using their mobile device to capture the world around them. Among them are established photographers, which helps the medium to grow. I really believe we are part of something amazing that will change photography in the years to come. So let’s all make sure we make something beautifull of it.
Contact Information for Robert-Paul Jansen
Website/blog : www.robertpauljansen.com
Twitter: @robertpaul, Instagram : @robertpauljansen
Flickr : www.flickr.com/photos/robert-paul