Cees van de Ven

4 September, 2014
  • Cees van de Ven Jazz photographers interview antonio porcar cano 1
  • Cees van de Ven Jazz photographers interview antonio porcar cano 2
  • Cees van de Ven Jazz photographers interview antonio porcar cano 3
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Date of birth:
10 March 1940 
Place of residence:
Neerpelt - Belgium 
How did you ended up in jazz photography, starting from jazz or from photography itself?
Born in the Dutch town of Eindhoven in 1940, I got familiar with photography at a young age already. My father was a keen amateur photographer, working with a Rollicord 6x6 camera. I started taken photographs about nature and got familiar with macro-photography. Later on when I played in various orchestras as a musician I started making photographs in these musical surroundings.
For many years I was the musical leader of a number of regional big bands. Since 2003 I've been editor/photographer for the Dutch jazz website Draai om je oren. It was there and then that I published my first jazz photographs, and many would follow.
When hearing, looking and seeing join each other in the moment of the click, for me it will be a successful jazz photograph most of the time.
Moment, framing, cropping and emotion are my guides while shooting. 
Is jazz your main activity as a photographer?
Yes, jazz is my main activity.
Do you have any other activities related to jazz?
In the nineties and in the first years of this century I supervised the programming at the venue Jazz at the Crow in Eindhoven. After moving to the Belgium town of Neerpelt in 2006, I started the podium JazzCase in Domein Dommelhof over there. I visit many concerts and festivals, both in Belgium and in The Netherlands, and have a broad interest in the full jazz spectrum in all its varieties. 
Do you stay in touch with the musicians that you photograph?
As a programmer of concerts at my venue I have good contacts with a lot of jazz musicians. From time to time I’m booking them after visiting and shooting their concerts.
How important are social networks in your work? 
I have my Photowebsite with the great support of Gerda Boel who organize and designed my exhibitions. For more than 10 years we have a jazz website in Holland were my son Maarten is editor-in-chief. And of course I use Facebook to communicate my work .
In jazz words, how would you label your most recent work: mainstream, fusion, free, avant-garde…?
As jazz is synonymous for freedom, I would say my work is free in my personal way.
Can you tell me 3 features of jazz photography that make it so interesting to your eyes?
Capturing a unique moment that never again will return identical.
 Respectful capturing the musician(s) during performances.
 By publishing and exhibiting my work sharing my joy, passion, commitment and love for this art form. 
Do you think that there’s a relationship between the quality of the music in a concert and the quality of the photographs you take there?
No, there isn’t. Though a nice concert, good lightning and a fine ambience gives me the joy and inspiration to capture the best photos I can. 
What side of jazz photography is more attractive to you, the creative side or being a jazz reporter?
I do my best to be a creative and committed jazz photographer.
Some so called ‘jazz festivals’ diversify their offer in favor of other styles of music. Do you think that this trend is a thread for the consistency of jazz photography? 
I love the diversity and incorporations of all kind of music as long as creativity and improvisation are part of it.
Can you recommend a contemporary jazz photographer?
Two photographers that I appreciate and feel familiar with: 
Celia Garcia Hernandez (better known as Celia Jazzypixels Jean Louis Neveu
Thanks, Cees.