Jacob Tuinenga excels in photographing special moments in people's life. His portraits show the inner feelings and the soul of his “models”. He loves to share emotions and succeeds very well to transmit them to the viewer. Discover more about this great artist and wonderful person in this interview.
Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs.
I am Jacob Tuinenga born in '58 and raised in Berlikum a little village in the North of the Netherlands, very close at the Waddensea and now in the beautiful city Franeker where we have the oldest working planetarium in the world.
After my school time I had to go to obligatory military service. At the same time I was buying my first camera, a Praktica and after thst one was stolen, I got the Olympus OM10 with motor drive, manual adapter and 50mm and 135mm lenses.
But long days working in the fields, sport and heavy weekend duty, had temporarily set an end to my photography.
My sports where waterpolo, police dog training, running and finally and still ongoing, cycling on race bikes.
A family member from my mother’s side, told me that we are related to the Magnum photographer René Burri, well I do not know if that is true, but I like the idea :)
How has your history and life experiences affected your photography? Which are your most important experiences that have influenced your art?
Nowadays I work in shifts in a plastic processing factory, where we make flexible pipes for agriculture and electrical cables and that was one of the reasons that I was starting with photography, manly nature photography, after the noise and work pressure in the factory, I was looking for some more peaceful places and in nature you can find it, even without a camera.
In 2012, I made a trip to central Mexico, there I have taken several photos of the beautiful Mexican people and that was a start for me to make more portrait photo's, they accepted me taking pictures when I was asking and were even somewhat proud being asked.
What first attracted you to photography?
It was not really photography, it was more that I wanted to capture special moments in life. Now, you can do that with a photo camera but also with a film/video camera. However my interest went towards the photo camera and so my development as a photographer started.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
Respect the people who you want to photograph and the natural environment where you are.
Why are you so drawn by Portrait Photography?
I love the contact with the people who I photograph and most of them like it too. In your photo's you can capture their inner feelings , as was also said by an great 1X member and photographer: I want to see the shine, the light in their eyes as one can see with close portraits. In my opinion there is more emotion in portrait photos.
What is more important to you, the mood/story behind your images or the technical perfection?Photographing the mood and the inner beauty of the person, is more important for me than the technical perfection. The first part is more about feelings, the second part, the technical perfection, you can learn and I have still a lot to learn!
What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
When I was starting with photography in the digital era, my first camera was a Sony A350 and after that the A700 and A 77. Especially the A700 was a very nice work camera for landscape photography and I have used it a lot.
But I became more and more interested in Nikon and when the D810 came out I have sold all of my Sony gear and bought the Nikon D810
I have several lenses, among others, Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art Nikkor 85mm 1.8G and from Carl Zeiss 135mm ZF.2 Apo-Sonnar and the 85mm 1.4 Milvus
Most of my portraits are made in my living room using some different backgrounds and for lighting I use a daylight lamp.
For editing I have a wonderful 24 inch screen, but most of my images are edited on my laptop!
What software do you use to process your images?
For the processing of my images I am using Adobe Camera Raw, Adobe Photoshop CS6 and I love the Nik Software filters. For a short period I have used Portrait Pro but the results appeared too plastic-like for me, maybe I was doing something wrong!
Can you tell us something more about your work flow?
When I start with a portrait photo, I build my living room into a studio, depending on the model and the atmosphere, I have different backgrounds.
After a short chat and explaining what I am going to do regarding poses and exposure, we start shooting, after the shooting we discuss the results and the model can specify which photos she likes and, later when I am alone, I start looking and select some images, especially the pictures with a high emotional content in expression are important for me.
I am doing the first corrections with Camera Raw, like highlights, Saturation and Luminance in HSL/Gray scale and Lens Corrections.
I then open the image in Adobe Photoshop CS6 and start with other corrections such as retouche, brightness/contrast and others. For some extra mood or black and white images I edit the photos with the Nik Software plug-ins.
What is your most important advice to a beginner in Portrait Photography and how do you get started?
Take your time before starting to photograph talk with the models and win their trust, tell them what you want to do and how. Show the photos which you have made and sometimes they see what’s wrong with their pose in the photo. Discuss this with the model which makes it easier for them to understand what to do, of course dependent on the level of experience of the model.
Who are your favorite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
There are many photographers who’s work I like, but some favorite photographers of me are Jenny Boot .
I have followed a few of her workshops. She has a very strong personal style and works most of the time only with available window light or a Daylight lamp.
And second there is Henri Senders . He is a great photographer with only natural light and mood in his photos and also his processing is amazing most of the time he is ready in 5 minutes!
Some of the other photographers and 1X members are Peter Allert and Paul Apal'kin .
Some photo's made at the workshop of Jenny Boot
Some photo's made at the workshop of Henri Senders
Is there any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a lot and why?
I have not a specific photo which inspired me, but here are so many wonderful photos and cinematographic moments which are inspiring to me!
But if I have to choose one, then it is a photo of Peter Allert
Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?
I have no specific goals in the future, there are so many kinds of portrait photography which I like, the most I make are at home, but I also like many outdoor and on location portraits, so maybe more an expansion of photography and improve my edits!
Describe your favorite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
It is hard to describe or to say what's my favorite photo, I love a lot of them but the one that is special for me is a portrait of Hillary Amira,
I was following and still do, several portrait photographic workshops and some of the photos from the workshops are selected here on 1X, but the one with Hillary was the first at home made selected portrait!
And not to forget my most successful photo here on 1X, "My way home", which was in the old 1X ranking very highly placed in most popular!
Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work
Most of what I have learned is from workshops, YouTube PHLEARN with Aaron Nace, he is superb and looking at many, many photo's here on 1X.com
1X is a great source of inspiration but not only by looking, also the Exchangeable Image File (Exif) information on how a photo has been made can be helpful. I just don’t quite understand why this is not automatic saved with the photo after upload, as done by several other sites, but okay, maybe this is a choice of the founders!