As a photographer
I profit greatly from
my experience as a
graphic designer.

(in the Caribbean with

> > INTERVIEW (continued)

The catch being that the test is performed at
50 km/h. You can’t be on board that car
without risking your life and your equipment.
That’s when you start messing with strobes
and flashlights, nylon thread, elastic, and
pulleys in order to simulate the dramatic
effects of a real impact. In cases like this
it is all about creating a picture that looks
real instead of being real.
     When I have finally succeed in creating
an image that looks more dramatic and
better than reality, I have achieved my aim.

Are you a perfectionist?
     Yes, but not enough. I often get frustrated
and angry with myself when I look at my
pictures and detect faults that could easily
have been avoided with a little more
thoroughness and circumspection. Like your
odd nylon thread that does show after all…


But isn’t it the very defining trait of the
perfectionist, never to be satisfied?

     If that is true, then I must be one. I am
indeed rarely satisfied with my own work.

Do you consider that a disadvantage?
     On the contrary, it keeps me on the go!
Being satisfied too early means coming to a
standstill. Whereas when I doubt myself and
feel I’m not good enough, I am constantly
forced to work and improve on myself.
Oftentimes at the expense of sleepless
nights in the field.

What was your most difficult assignment?
     That’s hard to say, because most science
assignment are pretty tough.
     But I think I’d award the first prize to the
turkeys: GEO assigned me to photograph
turkeys. Real close and with a white backdrop,
meaning in a studio. When I did research on
how it could be done one breeder laughed at


me outright. Knowing the animals’ temper he
thought it absolutely impossible to get them
to hold still and not go crazy from all this
flashing from the studio strobes.

How did you solve that problem?
     I built a little studio in one breeder’s
barn. At first I tried to photograph the birds
separately. But the cocks did indeed get
uneasy pretty soon and tried to escape.
One of them even took the black border of my
softbox for a branch and tried to light on it.
Of course, everything collapsed under the
weight of the 15-kg-bird. It just sat there
among the ruins, scared motionless...
     My assistant finally saved the day with
her idea of putting a hen in the pen along with
the cock. The females had a calming effect
on the males and even got them to perform
their courtship displays.              (continue...)