Analog photographer Frijke Coumans // Interview

Frijke Coumans is a photographer based in Nijmegen, Netherlands. Her work has appeared in numerous exhibitions, a variety of press, and self-published books. She curates and organizes exhibitions for others as well.

She is intrigued by the difficult relation between the desire for control and balance, and the desire for chaos and irrationality. She finds these seemingly contradictory desires amazing and strikingly present in everyday life.


What equipment do you use?

I always carry an analog camera (Minolta Riva Zoom) with me, wherever I go. Sometimes, when I want to make a close up, I use my phone, or for paid commissions I use a full frame camera, but otherwise I always use my Minolta. I love the way it captures the light exactly as it appears to me.

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How would you describe your photographic approach?

Photography is collecting: collecting contradictions, thoughtful poetry, coincidence, philosophical considerations and memories.

The reminder that everything is subject to change and that “being” cannot exist without transience and destruction.
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What’s the biggest doubt you have?

In all my projects, I’m never quite sure where I’m going at the beginning. Other peoples opinions and voices can get in the way or sidetrack you before you see your own vision through to the end.

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Can you share some advice for an impacting photo exhibition?

I always try to see every photograph as a story by itself.  I try to analyze what every image need and then afterwards, I compose the photos in relation to each other. I can’t control everything in life and my installations are a reflection of this idea.

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It’s between wanting to control everything and the acceptance of what actually is. I think there’s no definite or permanent answer in my photography, so in my opinion a clear and orderly exhibition doesn’t fit.

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What’s the most photogenic color and why?

My first answer would be blue. I think blue can take on so many roles, carry so many different feelings. But what I like the most is contrast. For example bright blue and bright yellow, or orange and green. I like the way colors influence each other, and how one color can represent exactly what appears to be absent in another color.

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Urban or Natural landscape?

I think urban. Although I love the way people try to control nature in urban landscapes. The pruned conifers in front gardens, landscaped parks, overgrown fences. I love to be in nature, but for photography I think the urban landscape is the most interesting.

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Architecture is shaped by human emotions and desires, but then forms a new setting for other developments. The connection that seems to exist between the living and the lifeless evokes the necessity of photography with me: it is always incomplete, or only complete because of the lives around it.

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