Obesia Grandé

Obesia Grandé

At times I have to remind myself that it is not completely true when I say I am a portrait photographer at heart. I may have started out as a portrait photographer but by directing the models I photograph I distance myself from what a real portrait should be – an objective image of the person portrayed. Of course I am very much aware that there is no such thing as pure objectivity in photography, but asking people to make specific dramatic gestures does not fit in what we call portrait photography.

So what is my role in photography I often ask myself. Is this glamour photography? Not really although I do my best to make people look good in a picture. Glamour is all about trying to reach broad audiences through creating larger than life images. In many directories I am listed as a fine art photographer, but I have changed over the last few years. I am slowly going back to where I started out with the Rockers series. An art critic called me an amateur anthropologist as that series first came out. Maybe that is true or maybe I just like the idea. I guess once there are no questions left I will stop doing what I do.

Model: Obesia Grandé


1971 photograph

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People often tell me I am obsessed with sexuality. I do not think that is true, although I must admit I am intensely fascinated by people who are not middle of the road.

The photograph above, taken in 1971 when I was only sixteen may lead the viewer to think I was a depressed adolescent, but the opposite was true. I was happy. I spent my time chasing girls who were into hockey and who dressed in mohair sweaters, plaid skirts and penny shoes. I had the time of my life.

But of course I knew very well how contemporary photography should look like. So, with my first camera, a Russian Zenith-E I tried to copy the works of photographers I admired.

Come to think of it, I always seem to post my oldest works in the news section. Maybe I should create a page for these older works.


Angelina Loqui

Angelina Loqui

I am still working on the Third Gender series and I will probably be working on this project for the rest of the year. Not because it is hard to find the right models, but I am no expert at socializing on networks and I am quite strict when it comes to making appointments.

Call me old fashioned, but I expect people to show up when I make an appointment. The queens I work with are often real diva’s. At least half of those who are offered a free shoot to participate in the book wil at least cancel the shoot once. I experienced this before in photographing drag queens so I have learned to refuse rescheduling shoots. An attitude that slows down production quite dramatically, but accepting endless rescheduling is not workable either.

But the upside of working with diva’s is that they are often very creative and fun to work with. Scheduling models for the 21st Century Madonnas series involving nudity was quite time consuming too. There are currently enough horror stories about photographers on the web to demotivate most people to pose.

Angelina, however, is one those people who will always keep appointments and I absolutely love working with her.


Amsterdam School of Burlesque

Amsterdam School of Burlesque

January 14th, 2018. Location: Boom! Chicago
Burlesque show by the the Amsterdam School of Burlesque
Video: 3:15 / 15 video stills


Stage photography

Stage photography
 

I am a studio photographer at heart. I like to control the lights, I love neutral backgrounds because there is no distraction of the person photographed. Of course it also has a timeless quality to it that I like. Seeing a photograph of a model photographed in an empty factory or an abandoned building automatically dates the photograph back to somewhere between 1995 and 2010. The older photographers and collectors will always recognize a 1970s photograph by the doom and gloom clouds above the subject and the excessive use of wide-angle lenses.

Working on the book ‘The Third Gender’ I realize I cannot get away with the use of studio portraits only, so there will be a lot of behind the scenes photography to illustrate how the project evolved. Also – and here comes the hard part for me – I will have to go out to do stage and event photography. I have very little experience with that, but I noticed it has become a lot easier with digital cameras, thanks to the high ISO values one can work with.

Superball Paradiso

These photographs were taken at Superball Paradiso 2017.

The Third Gender

The Third Gender

The Third Gender
 
There are already some previews on my Facebook profile and this site. It is probably the largest project I ever embarked on. It is my aim to photograph at least a hundred persons who express themselves with a total lack of conventions when it comes to gender stereotypes.

In a way this project is the continuation of a series I started in 1978 with photographs of drag queens, transvestites and transgenders. The old material paired with the recent photographs will form the framework for a book to be published in 2019.

For this project I will be teaming up with my son Max van der Kamp who has always been a great supporter of my work. He is an art director at heart and he will be doing the design of this publication. Please check out his website for more information.

If you would like to be photographed for this publication, please do not hesitate to contact me!


The New Site


 
This new site is a make-over of the old one dating back to 2016. Although the previous one was responsive, this one is even better for use on phones and tablets. I am no fan of smart phones, but I do like to adjust to people visiting my site.

Also, this site is way easier for me to update and I sincerely hope I will have more updates in 2018. You will find four new sections in the portfolio:

21st Century Madonnas – My take on blasphemy
Mistresses – A selection of photographs I made for Dominatrixes over the last three years
The Russians Are Coming! – A satyrical approach to the Cold War revival
Dollification – About human dolls. A series in need of expansion

I hope you will appreciate this new set-up and I hope to hear from you soon!

21st Century Madonnas