in conversation with: YVES VAN TENTE
Yves Van Tente is a photographer from Belgium living in Antwerp. He started his photographic journey only a few of years ago. Given his engineering background learning the basics of the technology was not so complicated, but at the same time he discovered that photography is not about technology. Very often in Yves's photography, the human element is only present in the background to add to the mood or even only as a silhouette. Yves is fascinated by how the use of colour, light and shadow influences the mood and feeling of any type of visual medium.
"The only constant in life is change."
Don't know if somebody ever used this as a quote, but it is at least a saying I am using a lot. I am an open minded person that is rather open to try out new experiences. I get easily bored when there is no feeling of progress anymore, so I need to try out new things regularly to keep on evolving.
When did you start getting interested in photography?
I only started with photography 'seriously' a couple of years ago. Before that I basically only took snapshots and some pictures during vacations, until my partner pointed out that she really liked my pictures and that I had the eye. It took me a while to believe it but I knew that I liked to take pictures and at some point in time (2017) I bought myself a small camera to fit the camera bag that I had bought earlier simply because I liked it.
From that point my photography journey started, to discover what kind of photography I really liked, and little by little I developed a true passion for a street style type of photography.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Initially I found my inspiration on Instagram and Flickr. Currently I still get a lot of inspiration from those social media but see it a lot broader now and very much pay attention to any kind of visual media such as movies. It is fantastic to see how the use of colour, light and shadow influences the mood and feeling you get from a movie scene for instance. Finally I am always in the mood for a nice book and have a couple of photo books on the coffee table to flip through.
Who are your favourite artists/photographers? Who has mostly inspired your style?
There are so many photographers out there that produce such impressive work. Some Antwerp based photographers such as Marc Pennartz and Antwerpist have my deepest respect as they can capture people’s life in glimpses and moods so beautifully. At this moment my photography journey seems to be in a light/shadow phase and in this ‘discipline’ I get a lot of inspiration from the work of Sean Tucker, Mark Fearnley and Alan Schaller but, I also like a lot the colorful work of Evan Ranft and Josh K Jackson. Finally, I adore the work of Fan Ho and I am studying the masters from Magnum Photos (Carl De Keyzer; Harry Gruyere; Constantine Manos;...)
Has your style of shooting changed since you first started?
Yes, of course, and I hope it will keep on changing. Photography is an art and the journey in this art form is never over. Fairly quickly I felt that going on the street and capturing the beauty of the urban environment with a human touch was something that really attracted me. Going on the street is very therapeutic for me, as it confronts me with myself all the time and while doing these photo-walk sessions I am getting to know myself better, which is as such influencing my style constantly.
Where is your favourite place to shoot?
Definitely my home town Antwerp. Although I like to travel and capture those street moods abroad, I can still discover beauty in my home town and very often even just around the corner in my own neighbourhood. The Central Station of Antwerp is also one of my favourite spots and you can find me there regularly. The place is so beautiful and vibrant, and as the light is always different you can always find new angles.
Do you think equipment is important in achieving your vision in your photography? What would you say to someone just starting out?
Equipment is important in the sense that you need to love your camera and know it thoroughly. It needs to make you go out and shoot. Besides that every camera has its limitations but there are no bad cameras.
It is important not to get trapped in the thinking that a better camera will take/make better pictures. For me it is important that a camera is compact and not too heavy as I don't want to carry around heavy bags.
What characteristics do you think you need to become a photographer? What’s your tips or advice for someone in your genre?
I don't think you become a photographer. It is a passion/gift that you discover at a given point. It is important to be passionate and go out shooting as much as you can. You really need to have a passion for it, and if that is the case you do whatever it takes to create your work. For my type of photography you just have to go out and have a couple of projects/themes in your head. That way you at least know what you are looking for when on a photo harvesting tour, as I call it myself. Also you need to have an open mind and make the best of the given circumstances (mainly light and weather conditions) for your captures. As an example: it is difficult to make hard contrast pictures on a overcast or foggy day, but you can capture great moods during foggy weather.
Have you ever been involved in the artistic world before photography?
No, not at all actually. Professionally I am the total opposite of an artist, as I hold an engineering degree and I am working in the telecom industry. So for me, practicing an art where there is no right or wrong is very liberating and therapeutic.
Are there any special projects you are currently working on?
I am still in the process of collecting a body of work, but already exploring and thinking about setting up a website where I can maybe offer my best work for sale. I am anyhow not in a hurry as I still have the rest of my life to further develop.
If I wasn't photographing what would I be doing?...
As I am also very passionate about music, maybe I could find a similar passion in the creation of electronic soundscapes. Maybe something to explore in the future...