Theo Meijer is a professional photography who is originally from Holland but now lives and works in the Caribbean Island of Curacao. Theo Meijer’s work is going to be featured in the upcoming Curacao Fashion week and at Urbanity Chic we were really keen to interview him so that we could share his experiences and portfolio with you. Read on to discover what Theo enjoys photographing most, what he does to relax when not working and what motivates him to do what he does.
Q: Who are you called?
Theo, but I also listen to the nickname Tjo.
Q: How did you get into professional photography?
Up till 2004 I was not active in photography. Born in 1952 I grew up in the Netherlands and pursued a career in the hospitality and international sales industry after finishing my studies in Hotel management (The Hague, 1974). Whether it was a mid life crisis or something else, but in my early fifties I felt the need to be creative. As I am a hardcore realist I chose photography: picturing the world, things, people as they appear for my camera. At first I started with fashion photography, creating pictures in a controlled setting. But soon I took my camera with me out in the open.
I left for Curacao (Netherlands Antilles) on May 3rd in 2008… They’re on that small, but beautiful island I really got going: fashion, glamour, weddings, real estate, people. Anything that catches my eye. . My aim is to catch the big and small moments during a wedding, a touch, a smile. Modeling photography, business presentations, events, real estate. It is all in my portfolio since I live here.
Q: What do you enjoy most photographing?
People, definitely. Faces and modeling, working with people is a great challenge and gives you energy and a lot of fun.
I am also known as a wedding photographer, I try to be different, different places, and different shoots of a wedding. I want to make it special and, not standard or traditional.
Q: How has the last 12 months been for you?
Just great. My business is doing fine. Had some nice cover stories and modeling work is picking up too. This is the tropics, so beautiful beaches, palm trees, the sun, what else can I ask. 🙂
Q: Who inspires you?
John Farrar (UK) Olof Wessels (NL) and Antony Neste (USA). They all have their own style and are an inspiration for me.
Q: Which modern day fashion designers or fashion icons do you look up to?
Karl Lagerfeld, intriguing. Giorgio Armani, ‘unstructured’ jackets for both men and women and the brand NAUTICA, great sports wear.
Q: What makes a good photographer in your opinion?
Communication, trust, believe, respect for people, whether it is a model, a wedding couple or someone on the streets. There needs to be an understanding with the persons you work with. That is why I like to meet before an assignment, so they know who and what to expect on the shooting day.
Q: Do you prefer using film cameras or digital?
I am from the years film was common and there was no digital. Film is still great but it takes a lot of work. I prefer digital, because it gives you more possibilities and you can see the results at once.
Q: Do you prefer to shoot on location or in the studio?
Definitely on location. Here in Curacao the light is awesome between 7AM till 9.30 AM and from 5PM till 7PM I use the studio if I need more controlled settings.
Q: Do you have a specific style of photography that makes you unique?
Curacao is “colors” So I try to add that to my work. I’m told that I am a crazy person on the set and that I can create an atmosphere of trust that makes people do crazy things in front of the camera. Maybe that makes me unique. 🙂
Q: Do you have a favourite photograph?
Yes I do. This is Marvia, she was waiting for the shoot. I just looked back and said to her “ do not move”. This was the result. Taken in Curacao.
Q: Who is your favourite photographer?
No doubt it’s John Farrar from the UK. His style and out of the box photos are unique.
Q: Is there anybody you would like to work with (either behind or in front of the camera)?
Besides John, it would be Karl Taylor, also a photographer from the UK.
He is down to earth and shares his “secrets”.
Q: What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion can be inspirational.
Q: How would you define your personal style?
That’s a difficult question, but I think that I would characterize it as playful when it’s outdoors and intense when it comes to studio work.
Q: Where are you based?
Willemstad, Curacao. It’s located in the Caribbean, just 45 miles off the coast of Venezuela
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
Curacao is Caribbean, is life, is joy and is relaxed. 24/7 is not really common here, what can’t be done today we do tomorrow… The people are really nice and always have a big smile on their face.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
No highlights; just a lot of fun and satisfaction ;-).
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I enjoy doing what I do right now. If I can continue like this I am a happy man.
Q: What do you do to relax?
Me and my partner go out scuba diving. When we hear our own bubbles we forget the problems, we relax and have the feeling we are weightless. This is sooooo relaxing.
Q: Where would your favourite holiday (vacation) be and why?
I would like to go to Cuba before everything changes there. Traveling in the Caribbean is very easy and all beautiful Islands are just around the corner. I imagine walking around in Havana with my camera will drive me nuts, the old fashioned city, the US cars from the 50-ties, the cigars and the people.
Q: What songs are on your iPod at the moment?
Bachata’s, that music makes me happy and if I want to go back to the old days it will be The Eagles, that music never dies.
Q: Do you have any interesting hobbies?
Like I said before, diving is one of them but cooking a nice dinner for my partner is joyful too.
Relaxing on the couch and watching a good movie, clearing my mind and getting energy for the next day to come.
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for aspiring photographers what would it be?
First of all you need to enjoy it. You need to love all kind of people.. Get to know your camera, think out of the box and keep in mind that almost all photos have been made before, so add your personal twist to it. And at last, read some books or crawl the web, it’s full of information on “how to”.
Q: What motivates you to do what you do?
I just love working with people and the smiles on their faces when they see my work.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
There’s a quote I like very much and it is so true. As a photographer you have to look all the time for that perfect picture.
Any photographer who says he is not a voyeur is either stupid or a liar (Helmut Newton, 1995).
Q: How did you become involved in Curaçao Fashion Week?
I live here on this beautiful Island and was contacted by the CFW management if I would like to participate, and I did 😉
Q: What aspects of the Fashion Week are you particularly looking forward to?
Meeting the designers, the photographers and the models, networking and see how they do their job.
It also gives me the opportunity to learn, because you are never too old to learn is it.
Editor’s Note: Theo Meijer has a great appreciation of light and the human form to create some appealing shots with an incredibly blissful and alluring vibe.
If you’d like to contact Theo Meijer or check out more of his creative portfolio just follow the links below:
twitter link: https://twitter.com/#!/theomeijer
facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/TheoMeijerPhotography
web page link: http://www.theo-meijer.net