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Street Focus 64: Fish Eye Street with Willem Jonkers
This week Dutch street photographer Willem Jonkers tells us how to get really close to your subjects on the streets with a fish eye lens…
Who is Willem Jonkers?
I’m a street photographer living in the Rotterdam area. What street photography exactly is, I cannot define. I just like photographing persons on the streets that otherwise probably won’t be noticed or will be forgotten like most of us.
By going at distances of sometimes less than one foot, my subjects fill the frame completely, but still with a good sense of the surroundings they are moving around in because of the wideness of the lenses I use. The intended distortion of a fisheye lens makes that framing possible. We as humans tend to think we’re very important, but the opposite is true. Within the universe we are not that significant and that’s the controversy within my frames by displaying my subjects in an unusual way.
Very often I photograph just right in front of someone’s feet from a very low angle and you’ll get that “Gulliver” effect which gives my subject that ‘greatness’ in my frames. Secondly, meandering the streets and scanning for beautiful, strange or otherwise interesting characters and magnitude them in contrast to their surroundings using different techniques gives them that same center stage, but with a bit less emphasizing the ‘greatness’, but more down to earth. By using negative space to my advantage in a carefully composed frame brings out the surroundings more where a person is moving in an isolated space.
Getting spotted doesn’t bother me at all. I don’t really care what people think of me in general as long as we respect one another. By using that in my advantage it gives me the pleasure of having nice interactions with complete strangers. Until now, I’ve never been aggressively rejected.
The streets are always interesting to watch. Walking the streets with my camera, makes me an observer rather than a participant. That gives me a completely different view on what’s happening in society.
Links to get in touch with Willem and to see more of his work:
Some of his work: