Joost Vandebrug: For about 5 years? Hard to say though. I started off shooting a lot of bands and artists when I was in my teens, but this was mostly to get myself a spot in front of the stage! It might really have started for me when I got my solo exhibition at FOAM (the photography museum in Amsterdam) in 2006.
VC: Your style is very unique. How would you best describe it?
JV: I enjoy crossing over between film and photography, which means maybe that my films have a photographic edge and my stills are cinematographic.
VC: Film or photography – which one is more important to you? And which one makes you feel more ‘in the moment’?
JV: It’s about my subject and my approach to it. Not so much about the medium. I enjoy doing both. And one could not exist without the other I guess.
VC: Your aesthetic appears very much to be about the person wearing the clothes rather than the other way round. Your shoots (whether film or stills) are epitomized by ‘moody youth’ looking gorgeous and unavailable. Is this deliberate?
JV: Of course. I’m telling one story through all my shoots, whether that’s done in film or stills. And although this story evolved through the years and will continue to do so, one will very likely always find a hint of moody youths in there.
VC: Your models always look very at ease and natural. Do you find it quite easy to get the model relaxed?
JV: Most of the time, yes. A big part of my shoots is the casting. If that is done well, I have little difficulties shooting. There has to be a connection.
VC: What would you count as greatest single source of inspiration?
JV: Uhm… Obviously there are heaps of inspirations as in great writers, poets, painters, photographers, musicians etc. But, if I get your question right, I wouldn’t call any of them my ‘single source of inspiration’. To me this is something closer to me… let’s say uhm.. ME. I mean there must be something that keeps us going. Something that keeps us wanting to grow and learn and tell stories and that gives us energy. Well, I’d say that ‘something’ is my single source of inspiration.
VC: You’re clearly very influenced by music – who excites you right now? It can be a band, an artist or a genre?
JV: Right now? Right now I’m listening to Rancid – “Life won’t wait”.
VC: You’re based in both London and Amsterdam – two very different cities… Does where you are influence your way of thinking, your mood and which projects you take on?
JV: Yes. And this is about the mood of the city, but also the people around me. In London I shoot different boys and girls than in Amsterdam. Not just because of the obvious reason but their spirit is different growing up in a totally different city, and this influences me also.
VC: What’s the best moment of the day for you?
JV: The morning (when I get out of bed).
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