We sat down with Amsterdam based Vincent King to talk about the magic of film, developing his own photographic style and the lifestyle of nowadays youth.
You are based in Amsterdam, is that where you are originally from? And how has the city shaped you as a person?
I was actually born and raised in Leiden. It’s a quit small city in South Holland. Moving to Amsterdam (almost 4 years ago) was the most logical step for me. My study is in Amsterdam and commuting between Leiden and ‘Dam is tiring. Moving to a new city made me grow in various ways I met a lot of interesting people, my network exploded but it also gave me a better focus on my goals. Working hard is key and having a clear vision how you want to get there. This doesn’t mean that I grew up by the way. I will always have that heart of a 12 year old (This is actually something I say hahaha)
Portrait and lifestyle photography is your focus. Have you had any role model/ other artist that inspired you to choose this route with intention or it just happened?
This whole photography interest started 7/8 years ago on the skatepark. One of my friends back then used to make a lot of BMX videos. They were so dope. It really inspired me to express myself via something visual. I thought (I think it still is) cinematography would be too complicated for me too jump right in, so I chose photography instead. Always had an interest in photography but never had the sufficient funds to support that. So of course, ended up buying a digital cam after I worked my ass off a whole summer. After a year I discovered: the magic of film. Got stuck in that world and became eager to learn more and more. Along the way I got tipped by friends for inspiration and a few names stuck like Helmut Newton, Henrik Purienne or an Akila Berjaoui.
“My main values are more like; work your ass of and anything is within reach.”
A good portrait needs to…
Let’s you feel at least something like a grin, a shiver, a tear. Best example for me was Richard Mosse’s The Enclave
In Foam museum in Amsterdam. This collection of pictures and videos hit so hard that I had to take a moment to, you know ‘process what I just have seen’. I’m not aiming for a heavy reaction like that. But at least a reaction a bit deeper than a ‘Nice’ or ‘Beautiful’ would be nice.
How would you describe the lifestyle of nowadays youth – what are their/our/your main values?
It looks like they’re maxing out their energy each and every day. I don’t necessarily mean they are living a hedonistic lifestyle, not caring much about the future but more in a way that they know more on an earlier age than the most of us. What they do with that raw energy is to express themselves more about achieving their goals. That way of using energy is something else. I respect that. My main values are more like; work your ass of and anything is within reach. I actually got a Dutch saying (“de aanhouder wint”) tattoed on my leg to remind myself to keep giving my best and everything will be in reach.
Most difficult things that you had to deal with in photography so far?
I think being taken seriously by my friends and family especially when I got to a point where I started doing nudes as well. I had to work my way around this stigma of a young guy shooting naked girls NOT having a second agenda. But I think a lot of people are starting to see that now.
The other one big hurdle was defining my own style. I was way too focused on that. Wasted a few years on that by looking too much at what others did and how they developed their style instead of just shooting, doing my thing and having fun and let the side result of that be a style of my own.
“I wasted a few years on that by looking too much at what others did instead of just shooting doing my thing and let the side result of that be a style of my own.”
Would you like to live in the countryside one day or you prefer to grow old in the city?
I grew up close to what would be a very cliché image of the Netherlands. A lot of grasslands, a lot of cows and mills. I really enjoyed having nature close to my home. But I can’t lie I love being around people and meeting new people every day and I’m not seeing that happen in the countryside.
Besides taking images, what makes you really happy?
Being with friends and family doing nothing, eating anything my mom cooks, watching birds fly. A lot of things make me happy. There is not one special thing, it’s always a mix of things.
Friday nights you can mostly be found… ?
If the weather allows it, just hanging out with friends or fam preferably outside in the nature or city, drinking a beer or smoking some. I’m not really into going out anymore to be honest. I can appreciate these low key chill sessions a lot more nowadays. As long as the right people and vibe are set I’m down!