On April 16th Koen Hauser was named the winner of Fotograaf des Vaderlands, which means he’s this year’s photographer of the Netherlands. The award is granted by Fotoweek, an event held in September in partnership with FOAM and Nederlands Fotomuseum to celebrate the best of photography produced in the Netherlands and beyond.
Some of his work, a series of nudes entitled Sculptural Nudes is currently on display at the 6 month arts exhibition Felix and FOAM in the Felix Meritis building, at Keizersgracht, 324. In an exclusive interview for AmsterDO, he talks about collecting photography books in his childhood and what it takes to be a great photographer in the digital era.
Has the Netherlands and the Dutch artistic heritage influenced your work? How?
Not so much in terms of Dutch art and old masters, but very much so in terms of old photography. I started learning about photography from old books bought in second-hand shops, like Het Foto Boek by Dick Boer, which was published in the 50s. Whole generations learned about photography through his amateur photography handbooks. This way I had contact with great portrait photographers, like Martien Coppens, that inspired me a lot. In my childhood I was like a armchair traveller learning about the world around me through photography featured in books. In this sense the group of photographers like Cas Oorthuys has created a profound base for looking at the world.
Fashion is a significant part of your portfolio. Why is this a subject of interest to you?
I’m fascinated by appearance and transformation. In this sense fashion really inspires me. Its aesthetics, its stories and its ability to bring something of the realms of fantasy and dreams to our daily reality. We can define life and ourselves in many abstract, philosophical or spiritual ways, but in the end it is only the concrete shapes and forms and materials in which we can physically manifest ourselves in this world. Tragically beautiful.
In The Space Between Us your Sculptural Nudes are exhibited. What were your inspirations to produce these series of nudes?
I’m fascinated by the differences between photography and painting. It brings up a lot of questions and juxtapositions, inherent to the medium of photography. While painting leaves a lot to our imagination, the detailed quality of photography always tricks our mind in thinking it is real. These sculptural nudes combine these opposites. It creates a cognitive dissonance that forces the viewer to take a side. Either to dismiss it as as a trick of the eye, feeling disillusioned, or to accept these oppositions as the aesthetic wholeness as what it is presented.
To you, what makes a good photographer? And what are your influences?
A good photographer in my opinion creates work that in a way provokes the same experience for the viewer that inspired the photographer to make the work in the first place. While this is defined in the photographer as An artist, the work itself creates a sense of authenticity and connection to both the world around us and our inner worlds.
Featured Image: ANP