About Jacob Berghoef
Updated: Sep 6
I am inspired by the complexity and vulnerability of nature. At the same time, nature is so strong, and shows itself to us in great simplicity. Nature speaks to us in a modest silence. My artworks and short prose and poems show how I hear the words of nature.
When I’m outside to photograph, I first look at the light. Then I look at the large surfaces, call it the rough composition, and the colors. Only then do I look at the details, and especially to determine what I want to omit from the photo. And the latter determines whether the artwork becomes abstract and minimalistic, abstract realistic or impressionistic.
I am an artist who uses a camera to depict how I feel the world around us.
Fine art photography is the art that uses a camera to express a feeling, the artist’s feeling about a certain object, scene or condition. The technical perfection according to the standards of ‘normal’ photography is irrelevant in this.
My main inspiration is the vulnerability of nature. I see changes in nature. I see the effects of urbanization, the pressure of pollution and of the changes in the climate. I hope to make people aware of that vulnerability by sharing what I feel when I look around me.
Daily life in the western world is overflowing with stimuli that continuously force our senses to the limit of their abilities. In my photographs I seek to capture the simplicity and tranquility of natural environments and to share my experience of nature’s soul.
In my work I omit many details from what we all see in nature around us. The minimalism in my work is a focus on the essence. Stripped of all the frills and disruption, this is what matters. And with that it is a protest against this world of consumption, of unbridled growth, of dissatisfaction with what we have. It is a plea for simplicity, for a life in which we settle for the little that we really need. And simplicity makes satisfied.
I create my artworks with the colors that the natural light gives me. My camera is my only tool. My work is often described by others as abstract, impressionistic and minimalistic. My style is distinct and pure, characterized by coarse grain, overexposure, soft focus and the effects created by how I move my camera during making the photo. I like experimenting and exploring the limits of what the camera can handle. I myself describe my style as abstract realistic and impressionistic.
I mostly work in nature where I immerse myself in the shapes, colors, sounds and stillness of the natural surroundings. My work can be described as the most pure form of fine art photography, since I choose to create the abstract and impressionist effects as seen in my photographs, using only the basic camera settings. Photo software is used only to remove dust or to adjust brightness, contrast and cropping to improve my compositions. I don’t manipulate my photos and I don’t use digital editing tools or filters.
The titles of my photos are an important element of the entire work of art. In addition, I often write a short poem or a few lines of prose to a photo.
With my artworks, I want to tease and stimulate more than just your sight. I want you to sense what I sensed when I made the artwork; the light, the temperature, the atmosphere… sometimes even the scent of a damp autumn forest and the cold of the whirling salty breath of a storm on the beach of the North Sea.
I am a self taught fine art photographer, with extensive experience in analog photography, developing and printing in my own darkroom, as well as working with digital cameras.
At the age of twelve, my father gave me my first camera. It was his old camera, an Agfa Click I. Thus he could prevent that I, especially during holidays, continuously asked him to allow me to take a photo with his camera. I still have a few of the first photos I made with it… At the age of sixteen I bought my first SLR (Single-lens reflex) camera, at the age of seventeen I wanted to learn to develop and print my own black and white films. Since I didn’t have the money to buy an enlarger, I built one myself of wood and used the lens of my camera.
Since 2014, after quitting a demanding job in facilities management and real estate, I focused on simple, natural and sustainable living. This new way of living is reflected in my work; I am exploring the simpleness and the stillness of pure, natural environments with my camera.
I was born in the city of Gouda, the Netherlands in 1959. In the summer of 2018 my wife and I moved from a larger city in The Netherlands to a small hamlet in northwest Jutland. We fell in love with the Thy-region about ten years ago… We live a simple, minimalistic life, as self sufficient and sustainable as possible, and we love it… The North Sea and the nature reserve National Park Thy are my muses.
My photographs are being exhibited around the world and have been sold to collectors and art lovers in various countries.