INTRODUCING FREDERIK J. JACOBS
TROUGH MY LENSE
How did you first become interested in photography?
It is a hobby of mine, one I do with great enthusiasm and am driven by endless amounts of curiousity to explore the wonders of this world near and far. Whilst I devoted more time over the years to photography, it was a trip to Mongolia that really allowed me to find my voice with the camera.
I spent my summer many decades ago in the Swiss mountains selling ice cream at the Starzer Lake. From the earned money I bought a Minolta SLR and ever since then, photography has played an important part in my life. However, it wasn’t until 10 years ago that I started to devote more time and developed my skills.
My prefered kind of photography today is mostly centered on travel documentary. I tremendously enjoy traveling on roads less travelled and discovering more remote parts of our planet. It is particularly the human side and encounters with people that I enjoy and love to experience.
Sitting with individuals, breaking bread, drinking tea together and observing the environment is what I’m mostly drawn to. The photos help me to document these encounters.
What is it about this medium that interests you?
While cameras today offer the greatest degree of flexibility, I like the simplicity and ability to capture a moment in time and let the viewer of the photo make the scene come to life for him/herself.
Whether I am taking portraits of individuals or photos of landscapes, it is about the process and my journey that I love. Being a conscious listener to the stories being told and observing the changes in nature around me that can make the landscape appear in a completely different way within a couple of seconds never stops to fascinate me.
What influences your subject matter?
I look for simplicity and honesty in my photos and wish to give an accurate reflection of a moment in time that I’ve observed.
What has been your biggest inspiration?
I have had the good fortune to travel along with Tim Allen through Mongolia. He was the principal photographer for the Human Planet series. He really opened my eyes and showed me how to see a different world through my lens.
What does living and working with a conscious mindset look like to you? How do you maintain a conscious approach to your work?
Slowing down and being very attentive and deliberate. Even if I have just hiked up to the peak of a mountain, I first need to become one again with the environment and myself. It is in situations when I’m rushed that the quality of my photography suffers.
What would you consider to be your most interesting FIND photographically?
Last year, I had the opportunity to travel to Ethiopia and witness the Orthodox Easter celebrations in Lalibela. Standing in the middle of a candlelit church, carved into the rock, listening to the chanting and following the processions was one of the most intensive and vivid experiences. No photograph will do justice to how much I was moved at that moment.
In what ways can the industry improve its attitude to build a more sustainable future?
We need to put people and nature first again. As the world around us speeds up, becoming more attentive, really listening to stories told by other people, slowing down and really being present in a moment and holding no judgement would cure so many ills in our world.
What’s been the proudest moment in your career so far?
Through the sale of my photos I have been able to raise money that I donated to a school for underprivileged children in Kolkata, allowing them to waive the school fees for a number of families who could not have afforded the £50.00 annual registration fee.
I tend to take an Instax instant camera with me on my trips. The ability not just to take photographs but also to give them to the person is always a moment of deep connection and something I deeply cherish.
What was the best advice you received? Do you have any wisdom for an aspiring photographer?
I would encourage every photographer to find his or her own voice. At a time when the algorithms on Instagram seem to try and tell us what an impactful photo should look like, it is more important than ever to be yourself.
What’s up next? Do you have any upcoming projects or ideas you want to pursue in the future?
I’ve planned a trip to Kyrgystan later this year, which I’m very much looking forward to. No doubt, I will find some other interesting far away and closer places in the meantime that I will explore with my camera.