Lodge photographer, Marcel Veldman
Please welcome Marcel Veldman, Photographer, skateboarder and Fluff Magazine Owner !
What kind of equipment do you use?
These days it’s mostly digital. I still shoot film, but only when there’s no rush and for certain projects or ongoing series I’ve been doing. Everything moves fast these days and for the job I do I need to move quick, everybody needs their photos preferably yesterday and analogue just isn’t that quick, development, scanning, and most of that is fairly impossible while on there road. Digital has definitely its advantages as well, besides being faster. There are situations, especially in a light situation that’s tricky, that it’s an advantage to shoot digital sometimes. Also the fact that I’m able to shoot with flash at all shutter speeds with my digital camera by hypersyncing, is a major advantage in some situations. Having said all this I’m still a sucker for the analogue process. The excitement of looking at all these negatives on the light table will never be replaced. Of course there are more particular differences between the two, I’m sure some of the readers will already be like ‘yes but film is also…’ ‘And don’t forget about the…’ etc. You’re probably right, and I most likely agree, but let’s not get into that discussion right now. In the end it’s personal preference and whatever makes you feel good, and/or makes you take great photographs. I’ve seen good and bad examples of both, and honestly it took me a while before I switched to the dark side, and I still haven’t fully. I just love shooting photos, in many different ways.
What do you prefer?
Like I said, I like them both, digi and film. They each have their (dis)advantages. As for specific camera’s, they each have their own perks, none of them are perfect for all situations I want to shoot. Some come close, but close is not gonna cut it, especially when there’s a lot at stake. Usually, on a skateboard mission, I’ll carry two Canon DSLR’s, and some lights and lenses in my bag, a Leica M around my neck, a Ricoh GR or Yashica T5 in my pocket. At night I bring out my trusty Rollei AFM35. That last one hasn’t changed since the first one I bought in 2003. I use it for my ongoing series ‘Roll Models, Midnight to Six’. Same type of camera, and same film, only black and white and always with a flash. And since I take it out at night or in some delicate situations, they break every now and then, get run over or get spilled on. I’m at number 9 now and it’s my last one. If any of you have a mint one for sale for a reasonable price, hit me up.
My personal favourite though has to be the Leica M. I shoot mostly people with this, just documenting whatever is in front of me. This camera has the advantage that it’s silent and not as ‘inyourface’ as some of the big (D)SLR’s (besides being an amazing camera with some incredible glass available for it) I love the rangefinder as you can see more outside of the frame. You can predict some about to happen situations slightly better because of the rangefinder. Besides this, it’s a lot smaller and no one seems to be really intimidated by it, so they don’t really change the situation they’re in. If you put a big ass camera in someones face that usually changes the whole idea of you wanting to take the photo in the first place, they become aware of their photo being taken and a lot of people change their facial expression because of that. Also, people are very cautious these days about having their photo on social media. I mean, random people you would shoot on the street. The Leica M somehow is not that intimidating. Although every now and then I still get in some trouble. That’s definitely another advantage of film, you can’t erase the photo and they never ask you to take out the film. ‘Just don’t take another one!’ Fine by me, I got it anyway. Even the digi M, which I use more than the M7 these days still looks like an analogue camera. ‘Hey my grandfather had one of those..’ It still kind looks the same as it ancestors. Definitely another icebreaker and helpful when shooting people.
But there are a few that absolutely have no clue and feel like an amateur shoots the photo when I’m using the Leica. I’ve had that happen too when on a commercial portrait shoots or a likeminded assignments. They’re so used to the paparazzi style lenses or the big studio camera’s. Shit, I’m rambling on here. Sorry.
How much do you spend on equipment?
A lot. Stuff breaks, or you need an upgrade or whatever. And besides there’s always stuff on my wish list, for whatever purpose I have in mind, a lens, a body. I’m not a camera collector for the sake of having that particular camera looking all cool on the shelf, or on instagram posts for that matter. Do you see those these days? It’s like Paris Hilton and that doggie in her purse, an expensive camera has almost become an accessory you can take a photo of with your iphone and post on your social media channels, having ‘cool’ customised versions of a 6Kplus body. Having said that, I never sold a camera in my life, I still have them all, perhaps saving them for that one cool insta post haha. Actually, quite a few sit on the shelf looking all cool haha. They don’t look as shiny though as I abuse the hell out of them. I love camera’s don’t get me wrong, but for the fact what they can do and what I can achieve with it.
Do you only shoot skateboarding? Or other? If other please list?
Most of it yes, i’d say 75% is skateboarding, both on and off the board. The rest mostly music related, some commercial shoots or daily happenings on streets wherever I happen to be. Most crazy big job I did outside of skateboarding was in the summer of ’15 when I was embedded with a cycling team, Team Lotto Jumbo, on the Tour De France with unlimited acces everywhere. I was just there to document ‘behind the scenes’, not so much the race itself. I loved doing that. I brought a bunch of equipment, but ended up only using my Leica for most of the reasons I mentioned earlier. The other gear didn’t even come out of the bag at all. Definitely down to do more of that too, that was intense. At first everyone was very aware of me, some didn’t even like my presence in the beginning, to say the least, as they looked at me as some sort of paparazzi, which I completely understood. Those guys are followed by the press everywhere they go and now they have one present in their most private moments as well. But after a few days they realised I wasn’t ‘one of them’, and just there to document their life while on the Tour. Not to make them specifically look bad, or good for that matter. Just to tell that story, the highs and the lows. At the time I didn’t know anything of cycling and there I am amidst one of the biggest sport events in the world. I was skating around at the start and finish line and soo became that one guy on the skateboard. And apparently us skateboarders have a special way of talking which seems to enjoy the riders and staff even more. Definitely broke the ice and probably got to shoot some photos I would not have been able to take otherwise because of that.
How long have you been shooting fotos?
I’ve had a point and shoot forever, but i’d say I got into it seriously i’d say around 1999. My friend sold his SLR camera for a decent price, I borrowed the money from my girlfriend at the time, now my wife, thanks honey! Pretty soon after that I started to make a zine called “Guilty!’, followed pretty quick by the birth of Fluff Magazine, which we still do to this day.
What is your best photo mission?
You know, it’s hard to predict. You really don’t know what’s going to happen. Sometimes the missions I would expect to be great turn out shit for whatever reason, mostly the weather honestly, or people get hurt early on. But some of them I had no expectations for at all turned out to be the best. You will never know what’s going to happen, and unlike some commercial stuff I’ve done, this is the freedom that you need to get some good, and if lucky, classic photographs.
Who do you preferred to shot photos with?
Anybody that lives their life to the fullest, and we got quite a few of those in skateboarding haha.
Any photo advises?
Well for me personally, the more I learned from shooting photos, especially with lights, the less I wanted to use it. Of course there are certain situations or assignments for that matter where you need artificial light and quite some equipment, but for my personal favourite photos I used either an on camera flash (my rollei for instance) or just available light. I like stuff that just happens, and I like it to be as real as possible, whether it’s skateboarding or something else. I love spontaneous moments. Always expect the unexpected.
Check more of Marcel Veldman from Fluff Magazine at www.marcelveldman.com