BAJA VAN HULST

Originally a lawyer by profession but several years in Ghana (West Africa) persuaded me to end this career and began life as a photographer. Returning to my home country, Holland, I entered the Academy of Photography in Amsterdam. Here I was taught to develop new skills and technical disciplines of photography, but also to further develop an own style and concepts. Although trained as all round photographer, my passion is documentary and human interest stories of common people, which I like to present as series of images. A particular focus has become to portray the lower end of society, entering into this realm to observe and to collect. This interest resulted into various exhibitions of the people living and working in different places i.e. garbage belts (see special projects), from my point of view.

After finishing at the academy in 1997 I decided together with my partner to live again in the tropics. I photographed extensive series, in consecutive hometowns like Singapore, Jakarta, Manila, Saigon and surrounding countries, both commercial and autonomous. At present I live in Shanghai and explore this many-sided city, focusing on the people working, relaxing and living there. Additional to the ability of using natural light, I re-discovered the possibilities that artificial light offers. I started my own studio, where I try to capture the desired self expression of the person in front of my camera.

Since 1998 I also teach photography. Amateur photographers in several countries have attended my courses and workshops. In these courses students become more familiar with the camera and are encouraged to optimize their ability to make interesting images. Overall students are motivated to create their own point of view. Often expressed by those who have attended these courses is that “Baja makes you see things differently”.

One can say that Asia has become a source of inspiration to use and further develop my photography as a medium of expression.