Artist: Gerhard van Roon
Hahnemühle Baryta print, size 60x120cm, black wooden floating frame, edition of 15.
“In my documentary photography I work with the tension between man and his environment. Central question in my projects ‘Hyde Park People’ and ‘Op het Zand’ is: ‘Does man change his environment or does the environment change man?
I like the use of coincidence. And although I do not shy away from a sense of humour in my humanitarian observations, I try to stay away from strong opinions or cynicism.
My work as an aerial photographer is the result of two fascinations I already had as a child: aviation and photography. The combination of the two – although always very technical – results in more abstract and poetic images. In aerial photography, you can leave very little to chance. Photographing The Netherlands from the air is both a blessing and a curse. The latter because, in our Atlantic maritime climate, the weather is often changeable and fickle. It is a blessing if, despite that unpredictability, it produces images that are indebted to Dutch painting dating back to the seventeenth century in terms of the use of light.
Are there similarities between flying and photography? Both require good preparation, situational awareness and a sense of timing. A thorough routine may be the basis of both, but without improvisation you will get nowhere.”
Gerhard van Roon (1970) studied Photographic Design from 1990 at the KABK in The Hague.
After graduating in 1994, he established himself as a freelancer, initially with documentary assignments and free work, later commissioned to more commercial assignments like annual reports.
In 2004 his first photo book appeared, ‘Hyde Park People’, about visitors to this London park. This was followed in 2009 (reprinted in 2012) by ‘Op het Zand’, a portrait of the Hague bourgeoisie. This was followed by commissioned books. ‘Vaarwel Den Haag’ for Houthoff Buruma, ‘Van Herenhuis tot Hoogbouw’ voor Pels Rijcken, ‘Sophia’ for Sophia Revalidatie and ‘Zelfs vindt de Musch een huis’. In 2009, one of the Hyde Park photographs was added to Elliott Erwitt’s photo collection ‘Friendship, Family, Love & Laughter’. For Philips, following in the footsteps of Ed van der Elsken, he made a long time photoseries about the NatLab in Eindhoven and it’s scientific residents. Since 1996, his work has been nominated and awarded several times for the PaNL Award, the UNICEF Photo of the Year Contest and ‘De Zilveren Camera’.
Around 2010, he specialised in aerial photography under the name ‘Kunst en Vliegwerk’ with assignments for KLM Holland Herald, Rijkswaterstaat, Heijmans, Vinci Energies and Rijksvastgoed bedrijf. In 2011, he also obtained the pilot’s licence for ‘Privat Pilot’. This was followed by various ratings such as for multi-engine aircraft (MEP), blind flying on GPS (IR/PBN) and the commercial pilot’s licence CPL(A).
Gerhard van Roon is a member of DuPho and is on the board of this Amsterdam based body for professional photographers.