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Blue Hours – The Leica digital camera Weblog


As quiet slowly settles over the town, Joep Hijwegen and his Leica SL head out seeking the most effective motifs. Evening after evening, he wanders the streets of Utrecht and Amsterdam, pushed by his instincts and a selected sense of aesthetics. Over time, he developed a novel narrative to inform the story of a neon-lit metropolis that has come to a standstill, and the place the abnormal has all of the sudden turn into magical.

You appear to like roaming cities after sundown. What fascinates you about being at the hours of darkness, and enjoying with synthetic mild?
I’m drawn to each the aesthetics and the ambiance of the evening. Maybe most significantly although, it forces a special means of seeing that’s extra dreamlike. In comparison with the daytime, all the pieces is concurrently extra centered and extra in flux. The dearth of pure, fixed mild implies that there’s a limitation to what you expertise on the similar time, with explicit conditions and scenes leaping out extra strongly than others. On the similar time, mild is continually in movement and each second is completely different. The result’s that the evening seems like a cinematic dream to me.

Was there an preliminary thought behind this undertaking, or do you simply get pleasure from capturing the belongings you see in your very personal means?
My newest e book and undertaking, Blue Hours, was the primary time I actually labored on a undertaking slightly than only one picture at a time. That stated, it nonetheless was not spawned by an preliminary concept that was set out prematurely. The mixture of a lockdown and a breakup merely modified one thing in my thoughts, that I then noticed mirrored in my photos. As soon as I seen the sample of extra pure shapes and fewer folks showing, I noticed this was one thing I used to be residing and a means of seeing that will not final ceaselessly; so I made a decision to leap on it and comply with that intuition.

What catches your eye if you’re on the road? Do you might have any favorite topics or locations?
Something that makes me cease and lift a digital camera, which is an increasing number of the longer I {photograph}. I was primarily interested by folks and nostalgic parts, however on this sequence they’re gone and new issues, like timber and cease indicators, all of the sudden make an look. This was additionally stunning to me, as I used to detest them and labored fairly exhausting to maintain them out of my pictures. Then as I saved progressing within the work, I began to comprehend why I all of the sudden cherished them. I’m drawn to aesthetics, however the aesthetics additionally should carry some symbolic weight.

There are hardly any folks in your pictures. What function did the lockdown play throughout your work on this undertaking?
When it comes to bodily environment, I may have theoretically achieved the identical work outdoors the lockdown, because the areas the place I shot have been principally abandoned even earlier than the lockdown. Nevertheless, with out the lockdown I’d have by no means been drawn to those areas or to those pictures. The lockdown outlined my mind-set, and my want was to seize this sense – and to seize the town as a abandoned wasteland.

The melancholy, surrealism and likewise playful aesthetics of your photos are fascinating. That are the largest influences in your images?
Most of my visible influences lie outdoors of images, in expressionist and impressionist portray and within the science fiction motion pictures of the late twentieth century. The previous influences me in how I take into consideration texture and color composition. To me a photograph ought to nonetheless work even if you happen to have been to completely blur it out and put it the wrong way up. I would like the ‘fields’ of color and light-weight to really feel good instinctively. The latter is an inspiration each for subject material and normal aesthetics. There’s something in regards to the extremely stylized worlds of, for instance, cyberpunk: in a means, it’s popular culture and industrial imagery taken to such an excessive that it turns into inventive. These motion pictures present that by doubling down on probably the most extreme components of mainstream visible tradition, you’ll be able to say one thing about our society’s obsessions and vices, and I believe that’s one thing that motivates me as properly.

At what level in your life did you begin with images, and the way has your ardour developed over time?
Pictures for me was born as a type of remedy: my first photos have been taken as a type of visible diary, reminding me the place I had been and what I’d achieved, to beat a lethal worry of fading away. I rapidly found images’s largest therapeutic energy lay within the creation of one thing new out of present conditions. As quickly as I pressed that shutter, I didn’t simply seize a state of the world, I had simply created a brand new one. This capability of images to vary actuality in a means that it turns into ours, continues to be my largest inspiration and drive. I need to specific how I expertise the world, by capturing it to not present what’s actually occurring, however what narratives I see.

You all the time appear to stability fastidiously between formal aesthetics and moods. What’s extra necessary for you? Is there one thing you need to evoke within the viewer?
I see them as deeply complementary and equally important. Probably the most fascinating scenario in dangerous mild will nonetheless make for a foul {photograph} – no less than in my opinion. For me, one thing can solely make an impression whether it is aesthetically lovely, and, regardless of how necessary the topic, I’m solely interested by it after I can order it in a means that feels good to me. That is additionally due to my objective in images: to point out the facility of the subjective. For me images is about discovering that means and order in a world that appears random, and I hope to encourage others to do the identical.

How did you get into the world of Leica cameras?
My first digital camera was a small polaroid and an affordable, no-name rangefinder. Later, I purchased an M3 as a ‘therapeutic’ digital camera to make use of at any time when I had a digital burnout. I cherished the way in which it regarded, felt and the rangefinder expertise, and shortly realized I needed to have some digital equal to it. I spent some time attempting out various things to see what I wanted and, finally, landed on the SL typ 601 for probably the most exact work that requires an EVF, and the M9-P for a looser and extra spontaneous really feel. Mixed with the M3 and an R4, I’ve digital and movie workflows which might be related sufficient in order that I don’t have to switch my capturing behaviour.

You shot this undertaking with the Leica SL. During which means did the digital camera assist to perform your objectives?
I believe the EVF has had probably the most constructive affect. I’ve all the time been a manual-focus-only photographer, preferring classic lenses for each their rendering and really feel. However with earlier cameras I had some disagreeable surprises as soon as I noticed my footage on a giant display, however with the huge EVF what I see is all the time what I get. It additionally helps that it naturally reveals a color grade that I actually like, which suggests I see extra potential in scenes I’d in any other case maybe discover boring. The digital camera can be extremely zen: it has loads of customizability however only a few buttons, that means you’ll be able to set it as soon as to do all the pieces you want it to do, and principally by no means have to consider it once more afterwards. That is nice, as I discover the much less you need to assume whereas taking pictures, the extra you’ll be able to let intuition information you.

Do you might have any explicit photographic strategy when capturing initiatives?
For this explicit undertaking, time and site have been essential. I solely began capturing from sundown onwards, and solely in abandoned city areas. This required some planning and meant I had a short window to discover each day, typically following the sundown. Other than that there was no actual strategy, aside from letting my eye and intestine feeling information me. The toughest half is to not inhibit that, getting caught up in some thought of what you have to be capturing, or inserting limits on what’s and isn’t a part of the undertaking. Somewhat, I attempt to simply comply with my impulses, taking footage of no matter seems as lovely to me.

Joep Hijwegen (1994) is a self-taught, advantageous artwork photographer residing in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Born in a rural village, he first picked up a digital camera whereas engaged on a BA in Philosophy in Utrecht. At first solely photographing as a type of self-therapy, he turned an increasing number of obsessive about the medium as a means of ‘re-framing life’ and supplying it with that means. He signed up with the Kahmann Gallery in Amsterdam in 2020, and likewise works on industrial initiatives by way of the Underpromise Company. He has self-published two books, with Blue Hours at present spawning his first solo exhibition at MENDO BOOKS. When he isn’t out photographing, Joep is often watching motion pictures, studying books or listening to music. He’s significantly captivated with existential philosophy, sci-fi motion pictures, instrumental jazz and hip hop, all of which function inspiration for his work. Discover out extra about his images on his web site and Instagram channel.

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