10 Favorite Photographs of Ryan Koopmans
Born in Amsterdam. Studied Art History, Geography, and Psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Graduated from the NYC School of Visual Arts. Works for Mercedes-Benz and Montblanc. Has exhibited his works all over the world. In 2016, was featured as one of the PDN’s 30 photographers.
Water Green Boulevard. Astana, Kazakhstan. I took this picture in 2011, during my first visit to Kazakhstan, which was the first country I visited from the former Soviet Union. I came to Astana to shoot the new architectural constructions, and aimed to be one of the first western photographers to properly do so. This image was taken from the top of Bayterek tower during the summer, when the decorations and landscape design were brand new, fresh, and vibrant. The picture is significant to me because it stands as an early example of my current picture style and interest in manufactured landscapes.
Cloned. Chicago, USA. Although I am from Canada and have lived in New York City for several years, I haven’t shot much in North America. A trip to Chicago for a photo exhibition that I participated in gave me the opportunity to explore a location that I would otherwise not have visited. On the banks of Lake Michigan, I spotted a tour bus of what appeared to be Asian businessmen. They jumped out of the bus as a group, and started taking photographs of each other. I knew immediately that it was an interesting scene and began to shoot it as fast as possible. I wish I had the time to switch to a wider lens, as there were more people outside of the frame, but I was restricted to the 50mm already in my camera.
Ophelia. The Hague, The Netherlands. I shot this picture on a brisk morning when I went out for a Christmas Day walk in a small town near The Hague. There was this perfectly encapsulated body of a young fawn in a frozen ditch next to a field. The way that the fresh snow had fallen on its exposed body, with layers of ice at different stages of melting, felt very powerful. The deer reminded me of Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It remains to be one of the most special pictures and moments for me.
Interchange. Shanghai, China. Shanghai is a fantastic city to shoot architecture. As with the rest of China, smog and pollution can be a problem when taking photographs from a distance. This pedestrian roundabout struck me as particularly interesting, so I looked for a perspective that would enable me to shoot it from above. I particularly like this photograph when it exists as a large print, because you can more clearly see all of the detail of the people and human activity below.
Princess Amalia Wind Farm. North Sea, The Netherlands. I spotted this collection of modern windmills in the middle of the North Sea when I’d cross from the UK to mainland Europe by air. I managed to take this image when the aircraft was flying low. What is interesting to me is how the windmills appear to be small crosses in a vast space, when in fact they are enormous constructions themselves, in a relatively small sea. The sense of scale is what drew me to the make this picture.
Range. Siberia, Russia. This image was also taken from an airplane, when passing over the Kamchatka Peninsula flying from Canada to Asia. I saw this spectacular range of colors, as early morning light stretched across the snow capped mountain range. This image represents a moment where I realized the great potential that comes when shooting from a commercial airliner. Now I always have my camera ready whenever I fly.
Spread. Huaxi Village, China. Standardized villas packed side-by-side form the two thousand-member socialist collective of Huaxi Village in rural Eastern China. I shot this image from the top of the highest building that I could find. The massive spread of homogenous buildings was striking to see. Choosing what to focus on was a difficult choice in itself.
Face In the Crowd. Kyiv, Ukraine. Ukrainian armed forces and cadet soldiers watch a charity football game in support of the Ukrainian army, which took place at Dynamo stadium in central Kyiv in 2014. I shot this picture at the end of my time in Kyiv, where I was covering the after-effects of the Maidan protests and subsequent revolution.
The Rotterdam. Rotterdam, The Netherlands. I spend a lot of time shooting in Rotterdam; to me it is one of the more interesting Dutch towns to take pictures, as most of the city was rebuilt after the Second World War. Rotterdam has become an architect’s playground over the last 70 years. This building is the new centerpiece of Rotterdam architecture, designed by Rem Koolhaas. I saw a boat carrying shipping containers and took the image, connecting the themes.
Triumph Of Astana. Astana, Kazakhstan. Similar to the Rotterdam image, this photograph aims to connect the relationship between a building and it’s contextual sense of place; a city under construction. As an enormous yellow truck approached, against the backdrop of a deep blue Kazakh sky, it appeared as if this building was carried by the vehicle. Interestingly, I realized after that the building, despite having been designed in a Soviet Classicism style, is relatively new having been constructed in 2006.