My camera and I are attracted to the ‘spirit’ of places and to people with ‘presence’. This requires warm curiosity and engagement with places and people so that my images can reflect the depth of the spirit and the openness of their presence. Sometimes the elements combine, such as when the disciplined beauty of old Kyoto is portrayed in the artistry of a mature geiko (geisha).
As a full time travel and cultural photographer I am often observing how individuals and communities find ways to manage the fascinating intersections of past and present. There can be a freshness about the way some people express their centuries-old lineage while living in a changing world. When traveling in Asia, Africa, Europe, North America or Antarctica, I can see this is a challenge for village farmers, traditional nomads, city folk, penguins and polar bears. This theme can provide inspiration for conversations and photography that is about more than costume and cultural difference.
Since setting aside my long career as a psychotherapist, I have enjoyed these photographic opportunities that have led to other activities such as: publishing photo books – Bhutan Heartland (Fremantle Press, 2010), co-created with my wife, Libby Lloyd; leading photo expeditions – Bhutan, Japan, India, China; making blogs and websites – www.robertvankoesveld.com