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Jan Niezen: Photographer of the week

by Yvette Depaepe 

Jan Niezen is an excellent photographer when it comes to Abstract & Architecture. He loves to play with lines, shapes, colours and tight compositions, striving continuously for technical perfection. Through this interview, we can learn more about Jan and the person behind his images. Enjoy!

Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs, dear Jan.
Living in the Netherlands, married for nearly 50 years, I have 2 daughters and a son. Although I am Dutch, I worked nearly 40 years for a Belgium company. I'm pensioned now! 
My career as a hobby photographer really started when I was 19 years old at the moment I joined the army to do my military service.
In my free time I developed my own black and white films in the so-called Patterson tank … all stuff used when shooting analogue. Everything has to happen in the dark. The possibility to use a darkroom was given to me in the army.
My other hobbies are football, cycling and yes, I also do love working in my garden.

How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
While I was in the military service, I earned some extra money in my spare time (weekends etc.) as a journalist using a borrowed Asahi Pentax Spotmatic. Of course I was longing for an ASAHI PENTAX of my own as well. I bought one and taught myself how to use it.. My father built me a darkroom where I could develop my films and print my photos on paper with a DURST enlarger.
When I married and my children were born, I stopped photography for a long time.
But I picked it up when the first digital cameras became affordable.

What first attracted you to photography?
My first attempts in digital photography were macros. I loved taking pictures of butterflies, dragonflies and tree frogs (very small ones). I aimed for good sharpness on the subject with a blurred background or bokeh.

Later on, due to my health, I changed and had to turn to other subjects and found new ones.
My favourite genres definitely became abstract and architecture.

Describe your overall photographic vision.
We all notice how fast and how much photography evolves. It is going more and more towards artistic registrations. Although, when looking at my own abstracts, not that much has changed. It still a registration of architecture, shapes and lines.




Why are you so drawn by Abstract & Architecture Photography?
Two years ago an article about my abstract photography appeared in the magazine Zoom (copy is still available). The title of the article was: “Lines fascinate me” and that is what I love the most, producing images with lines, shapes, colours, tight compositions and most of all they have to have a clean look.


'Shadows and lines'


'Abstract architecture (1)'


'Asymmetric Windows'

What is more important to you, the mood,/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
One could say that technical perfection should be the most important. But that's not always easy when coming home and noticing all kind of bumps in the image. Then the processing starts, getting rid of all what is wrong or dirty. By dirt, I mean ALL the dirt including straightening up your image etc. Therefore, Photoshop is of enormous help. But in the end, what I get is what we call a “clean” photo.

Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
It takes a lot of time to find the right locations. Most of the time, I just go out and go to a new industrial park close to my place. You might be surprised to see what one can discover there if you got the eye.
The other way I'm using a lot, is the monthly update by architects (I'm a member) about new projects.

'Standing Alone'


'Lines and a little rounding'


'Nearly Graphic' 

What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
I use a Canon 5D M111, with several lenses such as:
Canon 180mm macro
Canon 70-200MM f 2.8
Canon 24-105 mm
Different tripods
Travel Bag

What software do you use to process your images?
For processing my photos: Lightroom Classic cc and Photoshop and the Nik Collection.

Can you tell us something more about your work flow?
My photos are imported as RAW files in Lightroom……most of the time classified by date and by location. I do some standard corrections and than use PS for the final result.
It may sound strange talking about the final photo but I never know in advance how I exactly want the image to look like, so I keep working till it fulfils my own satisfaction.

'Yellow in Abstract'


'Industrial School'


'Stairs B/W'

What is your most important advice to a beginner in Abstract/ Architecture Photography and how do you get started?
Of course there are rules for beginners. In the 1x gallery one can find experienced photographers in Abstract and Architecture. One good advice is to go through their work and get an exact idea of the direction you want to take.
But always follow your own taste and your heart!

Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
As I said before, there are many experienced photographers on 1x.
To many to name here but if I may mention my favourite one, it would be Gilbert Claes who is a very creative photographer.
And also Theo Luycx who really helped me a lot with some techniques since the very beginning. Thanks, dear Theo!

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?
Due to my health, I'm not able to travel a lot any more. That is why I started producing abstract macro shots, being able to do this at home. I have special lenses and special software to get excellent results. Currently, I'm working on a project together with the Photoclub FG Waalre/Photobond.

I produce flower abstracts and pure technical abstracts.



'Going in, Going out...'
Dubbele felicitaties Jan! Mooi interview en natuurlijk jouw fraaie abstracten! Groetjes Jacqueline
Dankjewel ,Jan voor het boeiende interview en proficiat als fotograaf van de week. Een mooie bekroning voor je prachtige portefolio . Ik hoop nog lang van je werk te kunnen genieten. Liefs,Sas
Thank you dear Jan for the interesting Interview. My congratulations for your great and versatile portfolio. All the best. Thanks a lot also to Yvette for her work as an interviewer. Best regards Adam
Many thanks for your appreciation, Adam!
Much interesting Interview. It´s a pleasure to read about your life and your Background to photography. Thank you so much and all the Best to you in future. Congratulations for such a great and inspiring Portfolio of your work here in Thanks a lot also to Yvette for her work as an interviewer. Best regards Wolfgang
Thank you for your appreciation, Hans-Wolfgang!
Hello Jan, my compliments, it is great to read such a nice interview! Thank you so much and thank you very much Yvette for producing this interview!
Thanks for your appreciation, Marek!
Proficiat Jan, een terechte bekroning voor je boeiende werk in een interessant verhaal. Je hebt een hele mooie collectie beelden bij elkaar verzameld. Ik hoop nog lang van je fotografie te genieten. Mooi werk!
Van harte gefeliciteerd Jan met dit erg leuke interview en je geweldig mooie werk! Ik geniet ervan en bewonder je werk. Vele zullen je als favoriete fotograaf aanmerken. Ik heb begrepen dat we nog meer moois van je te zien krijgen en kijk er naar uit. Veel succes Jan.
Prachtige kleurrijke beelden en vooral het lijnenspel in de foto's zijn jouw kenmerk. Mooi interview en nog van harte gefeliciteerd met jullie 50e trouwdag.
Fijn om jou te zien als fotograaf van de week. Absoluut verdiend. Gefeliciteerd. Zeer interessant om je achtergrondverhaal te lezen. De foto's hebben echt jouw handtekening en zijn prachtig. Dank je wel voor het delen. Yvette bedankt voor de plaatsing van dit bericht.
Dank je wel, Greetje!
Met veel plezier je verhaal gelezen Jan. Je boeiende beelden hebben me al van in mijn beginperiode geïnspireerd en dat doen ze nog steeds. Gefeliciteerd met het interview en je huwelijksverjaardag Jan. Yvette bedankt voor het opzetten van dit interview.
Heel erg bedankt voor je waardering, Marc!
Mooi werk Jan ! Proficiat met jullie jubileum ! Bedankt ook Yvette voor het fijne artikel !
Dank je wel, Marc! Ben ook superblij met al deze warme reacties!
Congratulations, dear Jan, for this well-deserved award ! greetings anette
Jan, mooi om je verhaal te lezen. Je noodgedwongen switch naar abstract fotograferen heeft je veel gegeven! Prachtig fotowerk met uitgebalanceerde beelden, complimenten!
Beste Jan, wat fijn om uw interview te lezen. Wij hebben mekaar nooit ontmoet, maar wij kennen mekaar via onze gemeenschappelijke interesse voor abstract en architectuur. Ik ben heel verheugd die fijne verzameling eens samen op de frontpage te zien. Ik wens jou en je echtgenote een fijne 50e verjaardag. Het ga je goed ! Bedankt voor het fijne interview en de perfecte timing Yvette :-)
Ik ben zelf verrast, Luc! Top toeval... ;-) Dank je wel voor je aanhoudende appreciatie, daar ben ik heel blij mee!
Dank je wel beste Luc!!!
Congratulations, dear Jan, and thank you very much for the interview to Yvette and you. But heartfelt congratulations to you and your wife for your 50 years marriage day. Celebrate the day ! Kind regards, Stefan
Beste Jan... Met belangstelling heb ik dit interview gelezen... Het is en blijft steeds een boeiend gegeven om de mens achter de camera en in het bijzonder een fotografische vriend beter te leren kennen... Inzichten en doelstellingen van anderen ontdekken is een verrijking en stimulans om verder te werken aan nieuwe ideeën... Ik ben als persoon heel blij dat ik iets mag en kan betekenen in jouw fotografische creaties. Gefeliciteerd met jouw prachtige werken... Ik wens jouw verder nog veel succes en bedankt voor het delen van jouw foto's... Eveneens nog een groet en dank aan Yvette voor haar inzet en ijver om dit allemaal in goede banen te leiden... Men moet het maar doen... Proficiat...
De warme reacties en vriendschappen maken het voor mij om door te gaan met wat ik doe, Gil. Het voelt goed de 'spirit' van 1x te versterken en top mensen zoals Jan te ontdekken.
Beste Gil, dank voor jouw comments.Het leraar zijn,zit er echt bij jou in.....Ik hoop dat we elkaar nog een keer kunnen ontmoeten.Dan heb je toch een halve Belg in het groepje......40 jaar in Belgie gewerkt...…
Wonderful gallery Jan!
Dear Yvette, what a surprise on the day of my 50 years marriage,you place me as photographer of week.!! I can tell the 1x Com members,you are a great person,to work together with,you really helped me to make this story.Thanks again for yr great help Yvette.
I enjoyed every step we did together to achieve your story, Jan. As a complement to all this a warm friendship was born too ;-)
Wat een heerlijk toeval dat ik je interview net vandaag heb gepubliceerd... Dikke proficiat en daar gaan we op klinken binnenkort ;-)
Jan's work is a marvel, I love everything he does. Superb interview, thank you very much Yvette and thank you to Jan for his wonderful work !!!
Thank you Thierry!
Hallo Jan, ben trots op je.! Het is heel verdiend dat je nu hier in de sptlight staat.! Hoop dat we nog heel lang van je werk mogen genieten.!
Jan, A very nice interview and great images. And nice you called me and Gilbert. I am glad with our friendship. And of course thanks to Yvette for this nice interview.
Thanks Theo! It was so nice to interview Jan...
excellent portfolio!
Awesome portfolio! Congratulation!