Photographer Rob Durand: “The first thing that caught my imagination was, as with many photographers, the female form”

12 mar, 2011


Well, frst of all, the honour is mutual, thank you. I was born and raised in a small town centered in Holland, where I spend my first eighteen years. Then I discoverd the art of photography, and quickly moved to Amsterdam, where I had the honour of asisting the leading Dutch celebrity photograper at that time. I was hooked from the beginning, and still am.

The first thing that caught my imagination was, as with many photographers, the female form. But the thing that captured me most were   their expressions of sensuality and the way those could be invoked. Just recently I am finding the same thing in men, not perse the sensuality, but perhaps just an apealing, captivating look, as they where trying to say something to the viewer in a mysterious way. What it is they are saying is entirely up to the imagiation of the perciever.

My style of photography, to many is in a way surreal, but yet pure. I do not use much photoshop, because I believe the magic is in the right shot.

The digital era: upper hand on analogue and old tegniques

Well, image quality may have been improved, but no matter what tecnical support you have, the art still lays in what you are able to get out of the person you are shooting. And at that critical time, that split second, the fact that you are holding a digital or an analogue camera does not matter at all. Image quality wise the digital era has the upper hand on analogue and old tegniques. However there are downsides too, such as the fact that now everybody seems to think they are a photographer, you buy some lights and a camera, reed one book, and you got the trick. So what you get is an overload of people profiling themselves as proffesional photographers.

The strange thing is that many (new) art directors and editors seem to not even notice this fact. They seem more concerned with budgets etc. They are now trained like that.  Therefore we have on one hand seen a rise of image quality, and on the other the downfall. What can also be seen as one of the downsides of the digital era is the fact that communication goes to easily, and is in almost all cases digital.


I do now not even know who the person is behind the letters I see on my computer screen, and visa versa. Before the time of digital communication you would walk into someones office, sit down, talk, drink tea, look into eachothers eyes, feel eachothers energy, and shake hands, bonds where created like that. Important bonds that made things personal. Now I am just a bunch of letters on a screen. I think that is a major problem of today’s robotic society. You are a bunch of letters, and if we come across another bunch of letters that makes us a better deal, we delete you.

The projects: taking a short brake

Well, actually right now, I have taken a short brake of photography. After 10 years I now feel the need to regain my inspiration and atain new insights. I will probably get back to it in a few months. Now it is time for me to read books, spend time with friends, and travel the globe.  But the last people I shot where some local celebs, and we had a few great shoots. What I like about these guys is that they know what they are doing and what they want. It is easy to work with them. Plus they are usualy very much at ease around cameras, and that creates an informal and realaxed atmosphere

Worldwide economic Crisis affected the fashion photography?

It will be liniar to the rest of the global economy. As that is facing a spiraling downfall, I expect the same for the photography brance. I heard someone say that the total money spend in the Dutch industry from 2008-2009 was around 500 milion, and in the time frame of 2009-2010 that was only 225 milion. I am not sure if these figures are acurate, but looking around, and hearing stories of my colleagues, I can centainly believe that.I also strongly believe that these economic crisis situations are artificially created, by global super powers, and that it is history repeating.

It amazes me how nobody seems to notice, or rise up against it, and that we all so blindly believe what the media is telling us. People, educate yourselves, and see how this system works, how it is corrupting you. Start by having a look at documentaries such as zeitgeist. Just to get some perspective. We all talk talk talk about this crisis as it was a given thing. Nobody seems te be concerned with it’s origin and how it is created. And besides that, I still see brand new cars in the streets, and food it the trash, and every saturday thousands of youngsters getting waisted on alcohol, so what crisis? Is there realy a crisis? I see a crisis in relationship to foodstamps, recycling your clothes, and not able to pay for heating, and other prime facilities and needs of life. This is not a crisis! there is hardly a diffrence with the way things where 10 years ago! Or am I not seeing it?


I am sure corporate world had some cutbacks to make, but what are those based on? The only way a crisis can be put into place is if there is less money availeble in the whole system. so there is less to go around for everybody that is what it is in basics, so where did all that money go? It can only be where it once was created, banks, or government. And so what we do is blindly commit to slavery, just so we can pull enough money out of the system to survive. It is a ridiculous way of living.

A guy I know owns a farm in South Africa, where there used to be slaves, now he has workers who live on the farm. He says that the only diffrence between the way things where back then and now, is that now we, ourselves pay for the costs of our own slavery. You see, before, a slave would get shelter and food for his labour, now he gets a check, but the Farmer then charges the worker for food and shelter, and the result is that the worker ends up with no money again. Same thing, diffrent way of doing it. and we are all doing it, and by means of Recessions such as this one we are being kept enslaved.

The special moments, the perfect picture


That always seems to happen when you least expect it. On a day where you stumbled out of bed, got stuck in traffic, and expected the least out of the location and model. Somehow, that is when it happens, and when it feels best. Because it is like a surprise. Ofcource I shoot great shots with professional models and celebs, but that is easy, you can hardly miss.

Working with models and celebrities

I do not see any difference between shooting models and celebs.Well, The only way I can think of how I helped models, is by helping them build up their books and introducing them to the right people. I sometimes scout for an agency in Capetown, and take Dutch models to them. Sometimes those models have no book at all, so when they arrive I start to test with them right away, and print the pics, set up their books, and make sure they get their go-sees, and castings. I often see that they get picked by clients based on my photos. That always feels good, and satisfying, I do that for models I personaly care about, and it makes me very happy to see them get on their way. 


Top 5 places for a shooting

 They are all spots in nature, I enjoy them, because nature is where I feel best. Nature always amazes me. 

#1 Atlantis, white desert near Capetown, South Africa
#2 The Las Vegas deserts
#3 Misty Cliffs, a place by the ocean in South Africa that is always covered in mist
#4 Namibia deserts and plains
#5 The ice glaciers of Central Austria


There are many, but the first one that comes to mind is the image of the unknown man on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, trying to stop a tank in a heroic deed. Shot by Jeff Widener. 

Motto: “Whatever happens it is always good, and happens for a reason. One love. Peace”

Rob Durand, the photographer

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