WELCOME TO THE BEATING HEART OF YOUR ADDICTION
WE ARE THE SPIT
THE TRADE WINDS
THE HOWLING GALE
WE ARE BACKWASH
A friend of a friend, an instagram love affair. The magazine, Co11ectif (that Wouter helps publish) ended up in my hands, another thing in common, more endearment we might be separated by the North Sea but there is lots to talk about when we finally get to meet in Scotland earlier this year. We talk about water housings, a love of Fuji’s, real film and the surf shop (he helps run) in Antwerp, Haven. I dropped him a line the other week for a portfolio and these dropped into my inbox, super humble, friendly and self-effacing this is Wouter Struyf.
Hey Wouter, so would you mind answering these? How did you get into photography?
I grew up skating a lot. But when I blew out my knee snowboarding I couldn’t really skate anymore (actually I just wasn’t that good but still wanted to hang with the cool kids). So I picked up my parents’ camera and started documenting whatever happened on the trips we went out on. It was all fun and games and after a while people I didn’t really know well started asking me to come with them and shoot for them.
How would you describe your photography?
Evolving. No idea how I should describe my photography. I try to shoot what I like the way I like it. Does that fit a box?
Your photography seems to have a very fun and playful element, is that from you or the subject?
I love it when all isn’t that serious. That’s when the best moments happen, when you are having fun and playing around. So I guess it’s two people coming together trying to have a good time.
Analogue or digital?
I would love to shoot more analog. But 99% is shot digital these days. I do have an analog project in my mind but it’s still taking shape.
Why does the physical still hold a special place in an increasingly digitalised world?
The smell of paper is so magical!! Can’t live without it. And it’s just so awesome seeing your photos on paper or any printed medium. It’s nice seeing good imagery on a screen but having it printed in a magazine, a book, framed, … gives it that extra touch. It’s timeless. In a digital world we live in, you see an awesome images every 5 seconds but I just love staring at one image in a restaurant, in somenones house, anywhere, … and just enjoying it for five minutes, half an hour, four hours, … making your own stories of how it all came together. Or picking up a magazine or a book and taking time to take it all in.
You're based in Belgium, what's the surf scene like there?
It’s really big these days. Like everybody is a photographer these days, I have a feeling everyone is a surfer or wants to be a part of it anyway. I don’t really care as long as you do it with the right intentions. #keepsurfingfun
And finally there is a radio presenter in the UK, Marie Ann Marie Hobbs, who asks all of her guests at the end of an interview if they are happy. The responses elicit a very honest reprisal; so are you happy?
Today I’m kind of happy yes. I had a fun weekend, good times with my kids and some fun surf. But in general I have had better times in my life. I ‘m really glad I ‘m surrounded by a lot of great people who support me in all parts of life. I’m evolving too just like my photography.
For more from Wouter visit:
Backwash Issue Two is a surf anthology featuring Japan, the photography of Chris Burkard and Sergio Villalba, Hamish Laing and Woody Gooch. Kalani Lattanzi swims at Nazare, whilst Amy Kotch surfs barrels whilst pregnant and John Peck knee paddles out as he has done since 1958.Purchase