Photographer Maarten Rots about his work
We at LINTELOO are an admirer of the work of Dutch photographer Maarten Rots. Some of his work is on show in our Experience Center in Zeist. And we were happy to exhibit his photo's in different settings in our pavilions at Design Post Cologne and Salone del Mobile Milano in 2019. We asked Maarten to share with you the essence of how he works, sees and creates.
'I photograph everyday situations in an abstract way, displaying the spectacular that can be found in the mundane. The resulting photos often have architecture as a prominent ingredient, with a strong focus on composition, texture and colour. It is abstract, but also ‘in the moment’, - the location I photograph will look different tomorrow. I like it when a situation isn’t too clean. A weathered surface indicates the wear and tear through time, adding a hint of history to the overall picture. It is not uncommon for people to initially mistake my photographs for paintings.
Photography gives me a sense of being in control of a situation. When I go out with my camera, and I spot a situation I can photograph in such a way that it becomes something new, that it transcends its mundanity, my sense of being in control of where I am becomes greater. For a brief moment, I can shape reality. The process of searching, finding, and capturing is very satisfying to me. It is one of the reasons I am so attracted to photography. It is so much more than just the act of clicking the shutter, of taking a photograph with an image as the final result. The entire process of walking around in a different kind of concentration, where I fail to notice most of what is happening around me, but also kind of hyper-focused on seemingly uninteresting details, that is what draws me to photography. To be part of reality but to experience it in a different, more approachable way.
I am attracted to situations with a lot of natural light. Light itself has become a very prominent element in my photographs which has brought me to spend around six to eight months a year travelling with my camper van to countries such as Italy, Spain, and Portugal. On average these countries have many more sun hours than the Netherlands, which provides me with more time to take photographs and enables me to learn to understand how certain effects come into existence. But, although I really enjoy these travels, being back in the Netherlands due to the pandemic I have realized that I can also find these situations closer to home, or even at home. Being abroad however adds to the focus I have on my work: I simply have less on my mind when I am on the road and have more hours in which to work.
While I am out on the streets with my camera I am not just taking photos but I’m also spending a lot of time looking around figuring out how the compositions I am interested in come into existence. I strive to see reality without its meaning attached, to reduce everything to shapes and lines, colours and texture, so I can find interesting compositions within these elements. It always fascinates me, how changing your standpoint and framing can lead to a completely different interpretation of the same situation. The more a subject transforms through this process, the more interesting it becomes to me. The transformative power of the camera – translating a three dimensional setting into a two dimensional picture – is endlessly intriguing to me, all the more because the resulting picture becomes ambiguous and it is not immediately obvious what you are looking at, a reason to take a second look and change your perception.'