Interview: Photographer Peter van Hal (Netherlands)
Interviews / Stories
Tell us something about yourself
I am 50 years young, before becoming a photographer I was a music programmer for festivals, an A&R of record labels and had a managing company for DJ/producers.
How and when did you get into photography?
Like most of us, I was using my dad’s camera when I was 16 of 17. I printed photos back then, but I stopped because I had something in mind I could not produce. This changed when I saw Sally Mann’s work about 10 years ago. I knew I had to get into Collodion Photography.
What does photography mean to you?
Well, being busy with it every day says it all… I don’t own a digital camera because I constantly try to look with collodion eyes.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
It’s the first commercial photo process that dates back to around 1850 till 1880. I coat a plate with liquid cotton with chemicals that goes into a silver bath. Then I take the photo (camera obscura), develop and fix et voilá, you have a mirror imaged photo. Sounds easy but it’s actually a very delicate process. I try to use an old process to produce something that is new or different. I don’t want to depend on the technique and look of collodion.
Where do you get inspiration from?
Nature, people… basically anything but photography itself.
Do you think in advance what you want in the picture?
Sometimes yes, but experience shows that most of the times I tend to be ‘in the moment’.
Studio, on location or both?
If prefer outside and on location but studio is cool too. It’s just different, but nothing beats natural light!
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
A paid professional. I make my income with collodion photography.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
Too many really…. Taking photos of the artists backstage at Lowlands in 2014 was pretty memorable. This year I am invited back to do it again. Working with Douwe Bob for his the cover of his hit album “Pass it On’ was a pretty cool experience. But actually, every day with this process is just amazing, whether it is fine art, people or anything.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
Nature, Sally Mann, Luther Gerlach.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
Haha.. very funny. My lenses date back to 1860 with names like Hermagis, Dallmeyer and Voightlander.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
Make sure you fuel your passion. It’s the engine for everything. Be prepared to be poor and stay true to your belief and ideas.
What do you think of our new magazine?
I think it’s great. Maybe the name doesn’t cover all the content; it’s more than just models. I also like the fact that it is not primarily about big names. Keep up the good work!