André Ruiter is a black and white fine art photographer based in Putten, The Netherlands specialized in landscapes. As a passionate traveller, he prefers to shoot mostly during autumn and winter seasons beeing attracted by the contrasting moods. The experienced artist is beeing involved in different projects that are focusing on a special topic: historical landscapes.
Working mostly with a Canon EOS 5D MKII for digital, or a Bronica SQ-A for medium format, Andre's creative process is complex and intense, but to find out more about this and many more tips, check below the interview and the selection of images.
Tell us something about André Ruiter Fine Art Photography?
20 years ago I bought my first camera. In the early days I didn't spent much time on photography and I focused mainly on shooting while travelling. Digital photography turned my hobby into passion and landscapes and architecture are now my main subjects. Two years ago I decided to focus on theme based projects. Working on a project, and trying to tell a story is very satisfying. My recent projects are based on a theme called: The Historic Landscape, it’s a fusion of landscape photography and history. I shoot almost exclusively black and white. I like the visual impact of a black and white image and it fits very well with my subjects. I still like shooting “the old fashioned way” and recently started some experiments with retro cameras like Polaroid.
What’s your creative process like?
I’m always searching for atmosphere. Weather conditions are important and my favorite keywords are drama, melancholy and decay. The moody seasons autumn and winter are most suitable for me because of the bare landscape, fog, rain and frost. During summer I don’t shoot much and I spend my time looking for new interesting places and I work out new ideas. I use to visit a site multiple times before taking my camera. I collect notes and sometimes take a little camera to make some snapshots. Even when I’m travelling I try to stick to a place for a couple of days. When the conditions are right, I pick up my camera and capture the site with the desired atmosphere.
Where do you find inspiration and why you like photography?
The moment I press the shutter I know that this moment is frozen forever. The moment is passed and the conditions will never be the same again. This feeling has drawn me into photography in the early days and I still feel about it this way. Historic places are an important source of inspiration. That’s the main reason I started focusing on projects based on The Historic Landscape. Another source of inspiration is the old forest next to my home town. This is my favorite playground.
What are some tips you could give to people that really like your work?
I think photography is about hard work and dealing with dissapointments. Not every photo is a masterpiece, in fact: most of them are not. Sometimes you’re stuck and don’t see any progress. You will get frustrated and maybe it will result in spending less time on photography. When this happens you have to go on. Sometimes it helps meeting other photographers or joining a workshop. Being determined and showing commitment will help you making a next step. Your work will improve.
Can you name some great photographers that inspires you and why?
Probably not much of a surprise, but Ansel Adams is my favorite landscape photographer. I admire his ability to study a scene and visualize the final print. Visiting an exhibition, featuring the work of Sally Mann, made me decide to focus mainly on black and white photography. Her efforts with a large format camera and nineteenth-century collodion process is impressive. Finally I want to mention Sebastião Salgado. His huge photo projects and his connection with the subject are a wonderful source of inspiration to me.
If you have something else to add just tell us.
Currently I’m working on a project about the Grebbelinie, a former Dutch military defense line. It will be a black and white impression of places that played an important role during the defense of Holland in May 1940. This summer I’m spending time on doing research and visiting different locations. In November I start shooting. I hope to complete this project in April next year.
Dear André, thanks you very much for this inspiring selection of black and white fine art pictures that you shared with our audience, and thanks for the for the discussion about the process sits behind them these contrasting images. We think that your creative interpretation of solitary landscapes trough time it's absolutely unique. Congratulations for this.
Good luck with your Grebbelinie project, hope that this photography season will be one very fructuous. Definitely, we are looking the results, so drop us a line when you launch something new.