Persona March, 14th 2024 by

 World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 457 - Michiel Poodt


World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 457 – Michiel Poodt

At ‘By Photographers Art Fair’ in Loods 6 in Amsterdam I saw photos with colorful patterns. It looked like those patterns were floating. I made an appointment with the creator of the photos, Michiel Poodt, to find out more about the background of these photos.

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I meet him in the Goldcoast restaurant in Amsterdam, a Ghanaian restaurant near Bijlmer Arena. He says that the photos are part of his project mAdAdAm. They are reflections of Amsterdam buildings in the water of the canals.

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Michiel: “Completely different from what I did before. Very refreshing. It stems from my urge to embrace abstraction. Until recently I didn’t do anything with abstract art. But I always wanted it. This is a great way to practice using color, composition and form. I called it mAdAdAm, a palindrome that I think fits this project well.”

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It was “super relaxed,” he adds. “In the morning I walked along canals looking for nice light. The wind shouldn’t blow too hard. It’s like turning on an instant art machine. The idea that it is not you, but circumstances that take the photos. That is of course always the case with photography.”

He loved walking through a quiet city – because of the lockdowns. “The project really took off during that period. I didn’t take into account the viewers of these photos – which I always do in my commercial photography. I did set myself a task with frameworks. There had to be clear light, the building should no longer be recognizable and the ratio of length to height would be 2:1.”

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Addicted to images

He is addicted to images, he says. “I have always made free work. But I never sought publicity about that.” For example, he has a beautiful series about two about two trees in various seasons. These photos were released on dibond. He will soon make a series about animals in captivity. “But that is almost impossible anymore. Zoos are becoming too beautiful.” He also has a series about his son as a football player. “In ’92 I received my first corporate assignment for the Amsterdam Arena. I saw Cruijff explain something to Van Basten. I politely asked if I could capture them in a photo. They were not used to that from photographers at all. I’m not originally a football fan. I only started to appreciate football when my son started playing.”

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Michiel graduated in 1992 – cum laude – from the Royal Academy of Visual Arts in The Hague, photography department. “It was the first year that The Hague Photo School was part of the Academy. I did most of my training in the building at Tarwekamp, with teachers like Frederick Linck.”

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High School in America

The photography fire was ignited when, at the age of 16, he spent a year at a high school in America during his high school years. “That was in 1984 at a school in Idaho. That school had excellent facilities, even a colour darkroom. They had good equipment, I could use a Roleiflex. At that moment I was captivated by photography.”

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After graduating from the Hague Royal Academy of Fine Arts, he became an assistant to various Amsterdam photographers. “After six years I started my own business. Then – due to digitalization – the market shifted. Everyone got a camera with all kinds of photoshop options, which used to have to be done during the photo shoot.”

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I see that he is wearing a scarf that resembles his mAdAdAm water reflection works. It turns out that it is indeed part of that. “They are photos printed on textile. Indeed the water reflection photos. It is still quite a quest to create a good composition. It is mirrored and it must be correct in both length and width. You can’t avoid photo shopping.”

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Does he have a philosophical closing word?

Michiel: “I’ll just pretend I’m an artist. As a performing photographer, I am mainly concerned with craftsmanship, but with a magical-realistic view of the world. The most important thing is that I want to make images that I like.”

Photo 9: Michiel Poodt 

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