Kind of Light: Please tell us a bit about yourself
Kevin Schoenmakers: I love to travel, which combines really well with photography. Right now I live in Shanghai doing a master’s degree, so in a way I’m permanently on vacation. Originally I’m from the Netherlands.
KoL: What kind of effect, if at all, did your travels and stay in China have on your work?
KS: Because I am and look foreign, Chinese people often assume there is no way to communicate with me. On the one hand this means that while I’m taking photos I can get away with some things people normally would tell me not to do. On the other hand it means people keep a more natural expression on go on with what they were doing. Both of these things have taught me to be more assertive and to get in closer while taking street photos.
KoL: One of our favorite series from your work is Angles, which represents architectural details turned into abstract images. Could you tell us more about it?
KS: For me a series usually starts with one image which I stumbled upon by chance. In the case of ‘Angles’ I noticed a pattern made by the sun shining on a manhole cover, which became the ‘Beehive’ photo. I then started looking for similar images to complement this photo, and it slowly became the ‘Angles’ set.
KoL: How do you decide what photos to keep in your portfolio?
KS: Photos complement each other, or they don’t. Whether a certain photo fits a set is decided by the other photos in a set. A picture can be great by itself, but if it doesn’t work well with the rest of the photos then it has to go.
KoL: Are you formally taught or self taught? And what has been the best source of information along this journey?
KS: I’m almost completely self-taught. The internet is a great source of learning. Not just to look up information, but also to look at the photos of others, and have your own photos critiqued. The latter can be a little heartbreaking in the beginning, but looking back the harshest critics have been the best teachers. Looking at the work of others and thinking about what you like and dislike about it really helps shape your own personal taste and vision.
KoL: What photography project are you currently working on?
KS: I’m currently working on a set of photos with a lone person walking through an urban setting. There’s something about a single person in a big open space that creates a very nice visual. It’s hard to find in Shanghai, but that makes the process all the more enjoyable.