Canon Grand Prix 2016

I’m very happy to announce… I was named the winner of the Canon Grand Prix 2016! Also, my photo is now on the cover of the September issue of Focus Magazine. Couldn’t be happier. You can find the photos I made for the competition in Iceland inside Focus, or on my website! Thank you so much: Canon, Focus Magazine, and my fellow finalists. It has been an absolute honour.


A walk with Julie and Jens

When I’m not shooting in a studio, I like to take people for a little walk around my neighbourhood. I guess I just like to keep moving, looking around for new scenery. The place I live is very suitable for this, as well. There is a green park with lakes and there are big buildings for a more urban look. There is lots of graffiti art underneath a highway, but not for from there, a small forrest. I feel very lucky to live there. And then I haven’t even mentioned the gorgeous blossoming cherry trees in Springtime! Ah… But I digress! A few weeks ago I had a chance to photograph the sweetest couple: Julie and Jens. Even though they’re still very young, you can just tell there’s real love there. Here is a small selection of photographs I made of them.

julie-en-jens-blog-3 julie-en-jens-blog-1julie-en-jens-blog-2 julie-en-jens-blog-4 Julie-en-jens-12blog julie-en-jens-blog-6

The story behind… Jokulssarlon and me

I recently thought of a new category for my blog: ‘The story behind…’. On Facebook I saw this post showing what is really going on when a beautiful photograph is made. It’s funny to see but I think it’s also important people realise the world of photography is not always as glamourous as it looks. I can think of at least a couple photos I made where I knew the model (or myself) was not at all glamourous or even comfortable during the shoot but then it all turned out to be worth it in the end. I guess I’m a kind of a believer when it comes to the idea one must suffer for their art. Not that I intentionally make people suffer. Ahum. I just mean that, when you have something in mind and you want to create something special, sometimes you have to do things that are uncomfortable. Or weird. Or maybe even a little bit crazy.

Throwback to a few months ago, when I was in Iceland with Focus Magazine and Canon, and three talented and lovely fellow competitors for the Canon Grand Prix. It was a little before noon and we arrived at Jokulssarlon, a gorgeous glacier lake in the south of Iceland. I think each and every one of us was a bit stunned when we first laid eyes on this wonder of nature. And we weren’t alone. There were… – dun dun dun – tourists! Lots of them. Kids too. And then there I was, with a photo idea in my head which involved me being half naked while wearing a hat! I mean, it’s one thing to have these silly ideas in your head, it’s another to make other people become witness of your silliness! I told Mich from Focus Magazine about my idea and my worries, and he replied ‘So? Just do it!’. He said it like it was the most normal thing in the world.

And that was exactly what I needed, a little bit of encouragement to get over my own fears. Or maybe it was just a relief that someone didn’t think my idea was all that silly. The rest of the story involves me taking of my clothes in front of people (also, did I mention there were boats?), with a towel to cover the necessary bits (really no need to traumatize the kids) and running back and forth between the camera and my spot. But just as soon as I started doing all this, I forgot everyone around me, except for Mich who really helped me out with my coat and focussing, etc. Photography can do that to me. Make me forget all my worries and focus on just making this one thing a reality. And I’m very happy that I did so in this case. Because what if I hadn’t? I’d just have gotten home, beating myself up about it until the end of times. And that is quite a long time, believe me.


© Els Vanopstal