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Luuk Kramer Interview

Luuk Kramer is a Dutch photographer who specializes in architecture and landscape. It is his job to recreate, through a series of images, the feeling of experiencing an environment in person, which is no easy feat. Kramer has exhibited widely throughout Europe and has recently published a book of his work.

Who are you?

I am Luuk Kramer, based for more than 30 years in Amsterdam, as a photographer of architecture and landscape.

What do you do?

I work for architects, project-developers, and magazines in the area of architecture. Besides this, I have also started to make short movies for architects.

I also work on landscape in B/W and just bought a 5×7 inch field camera, which I sold when digital came up. I hope to reinvent for myself the quality of film photography.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Eindhoven, an upcoming city in those days. Before, it was a small conglomerate of small villages. But with the multinational Philips, new and striking architecture came into the city.

The atmosphere of the new technical factory buildings and the modern housing and villas that arose influenced me and my view of the world.

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When did you take you first big risk in life?

My first big risk in life was when I decided to stop pursuing my biology degree at the VU University of Amsterdam, and start as a photographer. In those days I made a series of people in the city; the city being the stage for the people I photographed.

Bit by bit, this changed into documenting the stage, the architecture in which the people work, live, and play.

Why have you persisted with the path you’re currently on?

At a certain moment, I just found my way to making images of the world, the world of architecture, the world of spaces, lines, shades. I could not stop doing this because of the urge to get a grip of this world by means of the camera, of the images it generates.

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Who is someone you’d love to work with?

I love and I am very interested in some of the best buildings made in the Netherlands in the ’70s. These robust and often concrete buildings are still monuments in space and time. Unfortunately, these architects are gone.

What are you working on now?

At this moment I am working on the last part of the renovation of the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam. Besides that, I am working on two projects which will be published; “Double Dutch” about recent architecture, and another on the water management in the Netherlands.

I just finished a shoot of De Markthal in Rotterdam by MVRDV architects, and I am almost ready with the shoot of a brand-new theatre in Spijkenisse by UNstudio.

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Where do you spend most of your free time?

Most of my free-time I spend on my bike. Travel by bike is the best way for me to see, feel, and go in and through the country or a city.

If the weather is not suitable for this, I’ll go to a nice restaurant or see a movie in EYE, located at one of the nicest spots in Amsterdam, with a good restaurant on board.

What is your biggest success so far?

My biggest success so far is the book I referred to; “Double Dutch.” It is made in cooperation with a writer, a critic about architecture. It will also be published in the US, which is quite rare for a Dutch book.

The book describes the two main streams in architecture in the Netherlands over the last 25 years. It was an intriguing project and very nice to work on.

By photographing all of these different projects, I got a better understanding of what had happened in this period.

Written by Carolyn Buszynski

Carolyn is a McGill University graduate currently living and working in Toronto.