Roy Krabbe has been a hobbyist photographer for 30 years. As a teenager, he first became fascinated with portrait photography while shooting passport photos for a local photography shop. Years later, it is the diversity of photography that keeps him hooked — all the new skills to learn and connections to make. We spoke with him about what he sees as the social side of photography.
In my experience, photographers are very friendly. We like to help and learn from each other. The first time I went to the Bavarian Forest in Germany to shoot the stunning winter scenes, I met fellow photographers on a snowed-in path. I own a 4-wheel drive Jeep to get through the thick layer of snow but didn’t know the area well. We started talking and as often happens, there was an instant bond. I helped them solve a problem they were having with their camera and they showed me all the best locations to shoot animals in their winter habitat. We spent the next few days learning and shooting together. Our shared passion for photography guaranteed that the friendship would last even until today.
I’ve always found photography to be a social activity, whether I’m shooting people or nature. Portrait photography is especially social because you’re working with another person. When I’m shooting portraits for friends, family or the occasional client, there needs to be trust between us so that the photo is a real representation of the person and their personality. I like to create an atmosphere that puts people at ease. We might set up for the shoot outside or in a cozy living room, with a cat romping around and music playing. I want it to be enjoyable for everyone.
Giving a moment
I now go to the Bavarian Forest regularly. Sometimes I enter the park and go to locations where I’ve already taken photos. On one trip, in particular, I wanted to get shots of the bears that live in the forest. I chose my spot on the edge of the woods with my 600 mm lens at the ready, waiting. While scanning the treeline for bears, I looked over and saw a child and his father sitting on a bench. The little boy was perched on his father’s lap, watching the forest carefully.
I could almost hear him thinking, “Come on, bear! Where are you?” I took a photo of him then, capturing that moment and the sparkle in his eyes. I showed his father the photo on my camera screen and he loved it so much that I emailed it to him. Later, he emailed me back with a photograph of the same portrait hanging as a photo print on the wall. That photo made both of us happy.
Always moving forward
I like to hang photos in my house, with two of my favorites being a lowkey nature photo of a swan and a portrait of my newborn nephew. When people come in, they often get enthusiastic and say, “Cool, I want one of those, too!” It’s as if the photos that I hang infect others — their own creative juices start to flow and we get excited together. I like my photographs to be displayed as they are meant to be: with no frame and no reflections — 100% pure, with all attention focused on the photo itself.
I like to change the photos I hang on the wall because it’s a way of demonstrating my development as a photographer. It shows that you’re always moving forward and that you really are becoming a better and better photographer.
“It’s as if the photos that I hang infect others.” -Roy Krabbe
You’re reading “Amazing Photography” on Photofocus and own the printed version, too*
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Every other week a new photo and the story behind it will be published here on Photofocus. Clemens and Ivan have made copies of “Amazing Photography” available for the cost of shipping — $8.99 alone. The book retails for $29.99 regularly. Here are some highlights …
- More than 100 breathtaking photos by professional and hobby photographers
- 13 personal stories from pro’s and hobbyists such as Albert Dros (pro-photographer), Laura Vink (pro-photographer), Andre Kuipers (astronaut and photographer), Ori Guttin (co-founder Viewbug) and Evgeny Tchebotarev (co-founder 500px)
- 4 practical photo guides to help you enjoy your photos to the max
- 7 DIY quick fixes for unexpected photography situations
- World’s top 15 under-the-radar spots for stunning photos
- Would you rather …? A hypothetical photography game for friends
- The science behind how your photos can affect your happiness and well-being.