17. March 2012

in the american west

I am a bit lost since a few days – I went to Boise, Idaho (….pronounced: Boy-see …in case you wondered)  to join Tanja Schlosser Lippert, Tia Reagan and Ryan Muirhead for a few episodes of FILM on the [FRAMED] Network. I was thrilled to be a part of it – whenever I fantasize about maybe one day photographing professionally, one exciting thought is to travel to far away places and do exciting things…. and this was it!  I travel a lot for my normal job, but that is more an airport->hotel->meeting room -> airport routine ….and no photography involved: so a different thing altogether.  Being outside my daily routine is a great opportunity to reflect upon oneself, bouncing back and forth with new impressions, people and experiences…. and so I did

The FILM episodes will be available on the FRAMED Network as from May – one per week – 16 in total. Whenever an episode airs that I was part of, I plan on blogging some background info, the pictures I took, some backstage images maybe… for now all I have is one personal shoot I did outside of [FRAMED] while in Boise and thats what you see here…

I was a big fan of Tanja, Tia and Ryan already for some time – it was their images together with images of Jose Villa and alike that got me excited about color film – as I was using predominantly black and white film beforehand. At a certain point Ryan and I became friends on facebook and started having regular chat sessions on facebook – and a few weeks ago he asked if I would be interested to join them on the new FILM Show on the [FRAMED] Network…as  much as I loved the idea, I considered it absolutely too-good-to-be true, thinking it would never happen…. after some more talking with Ryan and Melissa of [FRAMED], I  finally did board a UNITED Boeing 777 in Brussels last week with final destination Boise, Idaho…

…and I had the most fantastic time! 7 days living in the beautiful [FRAMED] house overlooking Boise with Tia, Tanja and Ryan was nothing short of  amazing – we were working almost everyday long hours shooting and doing the different episodes, with excellent support of the [FRAMED] crew and an army of photographers that volunteered to support as assistant producers – all of them were so much fun to work  with – their support reached from on-location things, food, transportation, getting people from and to the airport to delivering “groceries” late at night to our house (thanks again!)  😀

Tia, Tanja and Ryan were like family to me – I miss them dearly since I stepped out the door to fly back to Europe. In my life, photography is like a parallel universe  – there is my normal life and then there is this other place called photography. On the photography side, I as a person do not really matter, its all about images…. and in a way that  feel right as I am so much more comfortable communicating through my pictures than with words or gestures.  While in Boise with my three new friends, I felt this was turned upside down a bit – the two worlds collided in a good way – became one. This does probably not make any sense to anyone… anyway..  🙂

The shooting sessions will be covered later on the show itself, so I will not talk about them…. but I wish you could have witnessed the fun and talk we had around the house.. it is quite something to chat over a glass of wine with such inspiring individuals about photography, different styles of directing, commercial aspects to philosphical and ethical topics while always having loads of fun – I have not laughed that much for a long time.  … after this intense week coming back to Brussels was like entering a dark and empty nothing….you start questioning lots of things in your life… feeling slightly out of place.

I would like to share many things that happened, thoughts that crossed my mind …. but that would take way too long…. so I will focus on the pictures and my shoot with Jennifer aka Ryonen aka NarcolepticPidgeon. I am not sure when I first spotted her – I remember it was on DeviantArt and I was  amazed by her out-of-this-world-beauty. As she was from the Portland, Orgegon – which is quite a distance from anything in Europe – I never considered it an option to shoot with her – until Melissa and Ryan started talking about the [FRAMED] Show…. so we got in contact and agreed on a date and  planned to shoot in Portland, Oregon during one of the days when there was no filming for [FRAMED]. I booked a flight, a location… all was set …just before I departed things changed completely, Jennifer in the meantime had been booked independently through Tanja for one of the [FRAMED] / FILM Episodes…. so I cancelled location and flight to Portland and we planned on shooting at our house in Boise instead… so we were actually shooting 2x times – once for the show and a day later for personal work – which you see here.

Jennifer was around the house for two days before our shoot – and this was quite unusual for me – as absurd as it may sound….  but I think it is a different situation if the model is like an “unknown” – a blank sheet of paper to me that I can “use” to project my story /my images upon. It somehow gets more difficult if this paper is not so blank anymore …but then again that is one of the most exciting things – and the reasons why I love portrait and nude photography more than anything else: there is so much going on – or not going on – between model and photographer, the outcome of the shoot is result of a highly dynamic process with lots of psychology involved which makes each session exciting, unpredictable and unique.

Tia was so kind to get up early in the morning with us to do a quick make-up/hair. I will come back to this point later during the episodes… but Tia is fantastic: you ask her for a certain look and soon afterwards the model and styling look 3x better than you could have imagined… Jennifer is great and so easy to work with – amazingly beautiful – probably one of the most exciting models around and I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to shoot with her…. and I hope I will have the chance to be shooting with her again!

I tried to re-create a US suburbian feel from the 50s – the house was just asking for it.  I used the Plaubel Makina 67 and a Nikon FM3a with Tri-x – the polaroids are shot with a Polaroid 180 land camera and Polaroid Sepia Film. The colour shots are Portra 400 in 67. The title is from one of Richard Avedons most impressive bodies of work … this is my go at it (not really) 🙂
… unfortunately we only had three hours to shoot as Jennifer’s flight back to Portland was leaving… I could have gone on shooting forever…

I posted again way too many pictures, i.e. duplicates where only the composition changed slightly etc… but I could not decide what to leave out… at the end I included some polaroids.


Excellent blog! Do you have any hints for
aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a
little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a
free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option?

There are so many choices out there that I’m completely confused ..
Any ideas? Kudos!

Here is my homepage … comment pirater facebook

Adoro tu trabajo…Saludos from Spain!!

I really like your work. It is inspiring to see someone who is really shooting a lot and trying to improve. I have been out of photography for a while and am thinking about getting back into it – I really appreciate you sharing not only your photos – good and bad – but also all that you write about what you are doing. It is like having a window into someone’s world. I have been wanting for a while to find out more about how photographers work – so thanks for keeping up your blog. I just want to comment on #29 & 30 real quick. You have a very strong triangular composition going – the model’s pose, the line of her back mirrors the curtains. I think this image would be stronger graphically if you cropped from the right and made it a vertical image. On #30, the model is contrasted against the dark background of the end of the bed – but visually the viewer’s eye is distracted by some irrelevant stuff on the left side of the image. I think the image would be stronger visually if you cropped in from the left side. I think sometimes you need some fill light and possibly some hair light in a few cases. You may also want to experiment with rimlighting the sides of your models to bring out their forms more. Thanks and keep shooting!

What would you charge for a print, even a small one? I am interested in image 29. You can email me directly if acquiring a piece would be a possibility.

Very impressive work and a wonderful model. I love the whole series.


Very nice use of light, atmosphere and black & white editing.
I really like the first picture. It is more than just a beautiful model.

Erg mooi gebruik van licht, sfeer en de zwart/wit omzetting.
Vooral het eerste beeld vind ik erg treffend. Dit is meer dan alleen een mooi model.

grtz from the netherlands. Groningen (Nederland).

Ewoud Rooks

Lovely work yet again. Funnily enough my favourite image is number 1 but they are all wonderful. I love the way you’ve worked the series from the outer to the inner, it really works. What a fabulous story, I relate to it also as a previous post commented. I would rate that experience as the top of my “bucket list.”

Nicely expressed and written Jan.


Great Jan :):) for me the 36° portrait wins for all!! yeah 🙂

I am so glad you were about to come to America and shoot in the west. I am in awe that you took a very normal more modern
american house and somehow made this viewer believe I was in another period of time.
This shoot this proves how great you are from choice of model to making the most of your surroundings..
I think it is time for you to branch out and become a fulltime photographer.. The world needs to see more of your work.
I really hope we can hook up on a shoot somewhere.. maybe you can come shoot on one of my film shoots here in America.

Very inspiring series!
I saw the first photos of Jennifer last year on deviantArt and found your work also last year. Both are very inspiring to me and to see you two commbined in one session is a dream come true!
Really beautiful work!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings about it too.


again fantastic work…

As always with you Jan, you’re absolutely amazing… Damn that’s so good !! You’re a master ;D

I love number 3. You are my inspiration. thanks to share!

I love picture number 41 best. But picture 1 is so interesting too as it is a European view of America. Hopefully you got outside more than that once… the American West is about the outdoors not the indoors.

Jan – no bees? 🙂 Great work. That sounded like a cool, cool time.

my favorite photographer + my favorite model
I couldn’t ask for more!
yes, definitely

I don’t think I could even put into words how your pictures inspire me to do something at least half-good of what you do.

Wow, in your hands even banal architecture can stun. No more excuses for me.

Jan, I’ve been a fan of your work for a while, but I think you’ve really outdone yourself with this shoot. The lighting and composition are spot on, and Ryonen/Jennifer as the model really takes it over the top. As always, looking forward to the next set. Great work!

These are stunning. I’m in love with the lighting and beautiful simplicity. So happy to have met you.

Jan, no. 29 and 44 are particularly genius, but I think the shoot overall is fabulous. Thanks for sharing your reflections as well, I enjoyed reading that.

amazing work!!! beautiful pictures, here!

The first picture is really, really fantastic! Pose is great! It´s like an “entrance” to the story, the other pictures tell. … and all you´ve written makes perfect sense. Follow your journey!

Jan… it was so great to meet you and spend time around you. You’re quite an inspiration. If there’s one thing that stupid Americans can learn from you… it’s how to pronounce “Boise!” 😉

I didn’t want the set to end. incredible work.

Thanks for the excellent write-up and images. You’ll be surprised at how much of what you’ve written makes total sense to others. I can totally relate to what you’ve said about photography being a parallel universe etc. Something I miss is having other photographers to meet up with that are as passionate/obsessed as I am about photography so I can appreciate how amazing it must have been for you to spend so much time with Ryan and the others. I can’t wait for the show and I wish I had had the opportunity to assist with schlepping gear and getting groceries for you guys 😛

This set of images is an excellent example of how much can be done with one room and some natural window light. Bravo.

Fantastic serie….you’re one of my favourite glamour and artistic photographer.

Yes, looks stunning, great mood, great light, as always. And a fabulous, beautiful model….

Das war das beste Shooting von allen die du bisher gemacht hast !

WOW so amazing and inspiring!!! I’m so glad that you enjoyed your time here in Boise, it was such a pleasure to meet you and watch you work. You are amazing my friend!

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