How did you experience your 24 hrs in Volkshotel?
I tried to make a literal translation of the theme: so I stayed up for 24 hours. Every hour I had to deliver one good shot. I didn’t have a plan upfront, I wanted to go with the flow and capture my adventures in Volkshotel. This worked out, my 24hrs stay in the hotel was one big fun adventure with my good friend Matthijs – who made a video during that same 24hours – he is the first guy who made me realize how poetic and sweet my work actually is, compared to his.
Why did you start taking pictures?
I was born in this small Dutch town called Gorinchem. When I was 18, I went to America to be a musician. I was over there for about five years, playing my guitar and ending up in the strangest situations. Most of the time, people didn’t believe me when I told them about my experiences. So one day, I decided to buy a small analogue camera so I could collect evidence. That’s when I found out I could do more than just play music. Years later, I still work in the exact same way: create adventures and capture them with an analogue camera.
Are you a different person with or without your camera?
Without a camera I’m less proactive and assertive. It’s not like I’m really shy or something, but with my camera, I have more courage to go up to people, take initiative and more risks. Same with girls.
How do you make sure the adventurous feeling and excitement end up in your pictures?
You always have to be one step ahead of time. You have to observe your subject and predict what is going to happen and time the exact right moment to take the picture. Over the years, I’ve got more trained on timing; to see when the right elements come together. It’s like a hunt: I have to be able to predict escalations, movements, sparks and all other sorts of weird or special moments and react on the right moment. A split second can make a big difference; the difference between an OK picture and the perfect picture.
Why did you choose to work analogue?
With analogue photography, you restrict yourself; it’s not like you can take a thousand pictures and pick the best one. You only have a small amount of pictures. There’s a good chance that it will not work out and you end up with nothing. This ‘all or nothing’ principle makes me more focused and sharp. Analogue photography creates a sense of urgency to get the most out of every situation.
Dennis’ analogue adventures in Volkshotel resulted in this photo series: