Jordi Huisman was born in Almere, The Netherlands in 1982. After a BSc at Engineering, Design & Innovation he attended the KABK art academy in The Hague to study photography. He has been working as a freelance photographer since 2005. Jordi lives in Amsterdam with his girlfriend and cat.
Seeking Magazine: Tell us something about you and how did you start in photography.
Jordi Huisman: As a kid, I was drawing all the time. I didn’t really do anything with that. When I was 20, I bought a simple point and shoot digital camera to take with on a holiday in Spain. That’s when I discovered that for me, drawing and photographing is very related. I enjoyed taking pictures, and within little over a year I bought a dslr camera and lens. Another year later I started to get assignments and in the meanwhile I learned a lot about photography.
SM: Wich photographers or artist do you consider have been more influential for you?
JH: My ambition used to be to become a photojournalist. Back then my influences were mostly what you see on the World Press Photo contests, and Dutch photojournalists as Joost van den Broek, Jiri Büller and Jean-Pierre Jans. I soon realized that photojournalism wasn’t what I wanted to do during a traineeship at a Dutch newspaper. I got more interested in documentary photography. Of big influence there were Alec Soth, Nadav Kander, Rob Hornstra. I’m very much into the large format documentary photography nowadays.
SM: On ‘Almere Poort’ you show us the frenetic urban development of ducht city Almere. ¿What where you looking to transmit? ¿Have you finished this series or is it still in progress?
JH: I like the idea of history in the making there. The area used to be nothing but sand and some trees. Now there’s houses, schools, shops, doctors, etc. I want to document the development of the area to show how this process works. All of a sudden, people are expected to live in an area that’s only been designed a few years ago. That interests me. I think the series is still in progress. The first part was about the emptiness of the area. The second part, which I finished this year, was more about the in between phase. People live there now, but their surrounding has only been half-completed. The last part will be about how clean and designed everything is. I’ll work on that when the area is (almost) completed.
SM: ¿How did you managed to get involved in the execution of your ‘GM Janesville’ project? ¿How long did it take to be done?
JH: Last year I wanted to do something with the crisis. In the US the effects of the crisis were best visible. I read an article about the automotive industry in Detroit, and did some research about General Motors. I found that the oldest GM factory was in Janesville, and it was closed down only a few months ago. I read about the unemployment problem over there, and thought it might be an interesting story. When I got into contact with an union spokesman, I decided to go there. I stayed there for two weeks, working on the project.
SM: ‘In Japan’ relates your personal experience during your stay in Japan. ¿Did you really felt isolated from the culture and way of being of japanese people?
JH: Well, yes. The Japanese culture interests me a lot, since it’s so completely different from any European one I know. Their sense for beauty and design appeals to me. I like Japanese photography a lot. It’s the opposite of bold. But being there, it turned out it’s not an easy society to blend in. Especially if you look different. They have all these social codes which I didn’t knew. That made it hard to really get into honest contact with the Japanese people.
SM: ¿Are there so many empty and forgotten offices in Holland? ¿How do you managed to get yourself in to photograph them?
JH: As a matter of fact there is. There is a lot of empty offices, and new ones are being build daily. Getting in those offices was quite a struggle. Companies that own the buildings often wouldn’t let me in. But since squatting houses or offices (used to be) legal in the Netherlands, those companies would let people live in those offices. This to prevent them from being squatted. Mostly students, they would have an enormous office for themselves. That’s how I got in mostly, via people who lived there.
SM: ¿Whats your relationship with football? ¿Is this relationship start point for your ‘Football Dads’ series?
JH: It is the biggest sport in the Netherlands. My dad was and is a big football fan. When my younger brother and I were kids, we were too. Stimulated by dad, we tried our luck on the football field. I was a goal keeper, and not a very good one. I used to cry when someone scored a goal because I didn’t stop the ball. Nowadays I have no interest in football whatsoever. One saturday morning I walked past a football field and heard those dads yelling at their sons (my dad didn’t do that). I recognized this as a very typical sound for those saturday mornings. So I decided to go and photograph those men.
SM: In ‘Missile Defense’ you show the situation of villages and its people in a Czech Republic zone with USA military facilities. ¿What can we see if we visit that place?
JH: Rural Eastern Europe. It’s a quite typical Eastern European area I think, time seemed to have stood still there. There are small cities with depressing apartment buildings and rural villages. At the same time there’s this military zone where no-one is allowed. They were planning to plant some high-tech equipment there, but I believe Obama has dropped the plans to build over there.
SM: ¿Wich are your future projects?
JH: I’m currently working on a project about the backs of houses in Amsterdam. This interests me because on the front, you’ll often see designed houses that neatly stand next to each other. There is a remarkable lack of design on the back of these houses. People have build terraces, fire escapes, balconies etc there, and it’s very unorganized. You can see here how the city has grown, and how close people live to each other. Furthermore I want to do a project about vacation parks in the Netherlands. That interests me because this is gated vacation, and these parks have their own micro society.
Copyright © Jordi Huisman, All rights reserved. This photographs are not to be used as free stock.