the art of free-wheeling
“I always like it when there is some character, fun and/or soul in a picture.
But also what is very important to me is the signature of the photographer in the picture.
That’s what gives a picture its striking power.
It’s like you say, everybody can take a photo.
I don’t know what a shoot will bring me.
I’m in unknown territory, all is improvised.
So the thing that holds my work together, the common thread, is probably me.
It’s the interaction, improvisation and humor that defines the work.“
When looking at the work of Dutch photographer Sander Dekker, it doesn’t take too long to realize that life is seemingly treating him rather nicely. And actually it’s the other way around as well. Dekker is one of those rare individuals that lives in a free state of mind - an attitude that certainly reflects through his images which are more than often the result of spontaneous sessions that slightly go a bit out of control. Or in other words: promising snapshots of private parties you wished you were invited to. “Sometimes I’ve found my models through friends, but most of the time it’s through FB or Instagram“, he tells Lodown. “When browsing through someone's pictures I get a good impression of a person, but basically in the end they are “strangers“ to me when I meet them. Their personality, their homes, their lives - it’s at that point all new for me. I like to come over, be surprised and improvise with the things that are there. While shooting them in their own habitat my models are always relaxed and that clearly shows in my pictures.“
When Dekker is not in Amsterdam, you’ll probably find him entertaining crazy (as in “crazy cool“) ideas in New York or London where he loves to shoot as well. What holds all of his work together though, is that nothing feels forced or fake - instead he manages to make his models feel comfortable to show their teeth to the world. With his first book being published this spring and a steadily increasing exhibition record, it’s only a matter of time before Dekker will become the next big name for this kind of authentic photography that balances the thin line between fashion work and documentary. “Yes, my first book is coming, sometime in March. We will celebrate the release with a nice party at my gallery Walls. The book is basically the first chapter of my life as a photographer. Me as an observer. This year I want to focus a bit more on directing shoots and also exploring the fields of video. You know, I worked within the fashion scene for over ten years as a designer and art director. At a certain point I even had my own kid's fashion label. But I guess it's like all things: after doing it for too long, you get tired of it. So to shake things up a little, I left it all behind me, bought a decent camera and started to take pictures. I tried to leave fashion far away from my pictures, which later on became the new ‘fashion style’ in photography, haha!“