Tim Verhallen | Interview
1605 Collective invites you to deep dive into the interview with Tim Verhallen. Being a famous fashion photographer, Verhallen admits that his main inspiration are people. By creating powerful connections with his models, he creates masterpieces in a form of photographs that are both sensitive and dynamic.
This fall, 1605 Collective also presents a unique creation of 1605 Publishers, the book Reveal by Tim Verhallen.
Being his first monograph, the book discloses the moment when Tim Verhallen presses the shutter - le moment décisif of the photographer who transforms his models into muses.
The book comes in an edition of 500 and also has a limited edition with the choice of 2 prints: Arise and Pivôt.
Why did you choose photography?
I always thought I wanted to become a graphic designer. However, as part of the studies programme at my school, we got photography lessons once a week. With the help of these lessons, my interest in photography started to grow. Suddenly, I could see the impact a single photograph could have in comparison to graphic design. And then I was sold. I became a photographer and there is no way back.
What is the most exciting part of your work?
I love the teamwork that involves deciding a location, programming a vision, creating an idea. This whole process from A to Z excites me a lot! The most alluring part of my work is in the heat of the moment, while I am actually shooting. Sometimes you throw all your ideas through the window and you come up with a totally different one, you know? And then everything comes together in that one moment… And I am the one capturing that moment! It's just pure magic.
How do you pick a shooting location? What has been your favourite so far?
A shooting location should complement the story you would like to tell. It should be an addition to the concept. My most memorable shooting location was at the Dolomites in Italy. The model and I took a little boat ride in a breathtaking lake surrounded by majestic mountain peaks and incredible nature. It was like you are standing in a painting. We were the only ones who were there at the crack of dawn. Once we turned around and on our way back to the pier, we saw 15 tourist busses arriving and in no time we were surrounded by hundreds of tourists clicking their cameras in our faces.
How do you work with your models? Do you prefer to work with people you already know or complete strangers?
I love both, it’s always beautiful to meet new models. Models with no experience challenge you to bring out the absolute best in them. And seeing them flourish into top models it's absolutely priceless! I also love to re-collaborate with models. That's when they become my muses. You get used to each other and bring out the best in each other. Some models exude character and I love that! Others can be a blank canvas, which I can turn into a beautiful painting.
This leads me to the question: how do you scout your models? What are your criteria on who to pick for the particular shoot?
Simply by looking who I think fits the story best. It can go through modelling agencies, but also by seeing someone on the street.
And... what is the most important for you in a collaboration between a model and a photographer?
A good connection is the most important thing. You gotta have chemistry with your model. It is highly personal to take a photograph of someone. So it’s up to me to make that person feel comfortable and at ease. Only then you are able to capture the personality, the essence. That’s the ultimate gift.
I cannot avoid asking you a question about inclusion. Fashion nowadays equals inclusion when it comes to models. What is your opinion on this and how inclusive are you in your work?
I’m a fashion photographer, but my main subjects are people. Luckily I get to collaborate with talented industry professionals who are remarkably progressive when it comes to diversity. In order to create my signature image, I’ve always worked with people from various inspiring backgrounds. It’s not a chosen theme, it's rather a state of mind and it comes naturally.
In your bio you say that your images capture a fresh and powerful mood. How do you create this type of mood on set?
The mood on set at times can be the opposite of the mood captured in the image. The main ingredient of my envisioned mood is… lighting! I challenge myself to create a powerful dreamworld that only becomes visible through the lens.
What photographers and/or filmmakers inspire you?
My main inspiration is how people can be portrayed as icons. I’m always drawn to capture people in a confident, expressive and distinctive way. I believe that after working with many beautiful inspiring souls I'm gifted with an endless source of inspiration.
I see you have colour and black and white photographs in your work. How do you decide what palette suits that particular image or series?
If it would be up to me, my entire world would be in black and white. There is something magical and timeless when you strip the element of colour away. It brings out the purity of the lighting. Having an image in colour or not is not an afterthought, It really has to add to the story when I decide to include colour.
Tell us a little more about your process of creating an editorial. If you use moodboards, props, how do you direct your models or if everything is a spontaneous process, etc.
My experience is that beforehand decisions and moodboards often work as a creative block for both the team and eventually the client. I understand that the industry is built on having a pre-expectation and outcome. Today I'm confident that any desired vision is best achieved following the path of the creative process. The editorials I’m most proud of are achieved by not forcing or knowing the outcome.
And of course, a question from a publisher... What does it mean to you to have your book published?
I feel honoured to take on this project. To be honest, I’ve never looked back at my achieved visuals as I’m very much a person who always looks forward, striving for the next goal. It is an inspiring and exciting process, going through the archive and making a desirable selection. Each image has a story and makes me emotional just by recalling the many talented creatives that have inspired and shaped me as a photographer.
And how does the book publishing process with 1605 Publishers feels for you so far? What parts do you enjoy the most and what parts you would like to avoid?
It has been an eye-opening process to look through the work I’ve shot over the years. Also, this experience made me let go and trust the 1605 Publishers team with their vision of the final product.