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In 2007, I had the opportunity to study the third year of my Interaction Design study abroad and I was admitted into an exchange program in Sydney, Australia. Growing up in The Netherlands, I was taken aghast by how everything was different from what I knew: it didn’t rain 360 days of the year, the water was actually blue, surfing was a thing, there are national parks that are bigger than my entire country and I made friends with people from all over the world. One year surely seemed too short.

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So I tried my best to return to Australia after my studies were completed. The first job I managed to find was as a junior web developer/designer at a small web company. It wasn’t much pay, but I was so stoked when my first salary came in that I immediately bought my first second hand entry level SLR camera. I had trouble buying food for the next two weeks, but I didn’t care.

My traineeship visa ran out two years later in 2012. Plans to get a permanent residency (PR) or a proper work visa fell through and I wasn’t quite yet ready to go home. So I booked a one way ticket to Vietnam instead. I ended up traveling on a shoestring through South East Asia and photography became my sense of purpose. I noticed that the more remotely I traveled, the more welcome I felt and the more I wished I could help the local people and environment. I just didn’t know how.

After a couple of months, a fairly significant question came up: what am I going to do next? The only answer I could come up with was to return to Australia on a three-month tourist visa and try everything in could to find a job who’d be willing to sponsor me. If I failed, I’d give up and go home. I was lucky. The only lead I had from many many applications ended up doing just that and eventually also sponsored my PR.

I’ve been focussed on a career in design ever since and came to see photography as a hobby. However, I never managed to shake that feeling of wanting to do more for the places I had visited on my travels. On a dark moon I realised that I could help these places with a single unifying project: Fair Photo. This has been my north star since its inception and this, amongst several other projects, easily manages to fill up my spare time.

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You do some stuff: most fails, some works. You do more of what works.

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About my

Photography

When one enjoys the pursuit of the perfect photograph, it can be sometimes too easy to get caught up in our daily routines. We give ourselves less and less time to go out, explore, figure out what we were meant to do, listen to our inner self, create, be free and let rationality take over – slowly diminishing our creativity, passion and spirit.

The pursuit of a good photograph might just be about learning to follow the heart and intuition, to remain in motion to find and reveal that what is magical existence and do its glory justice. It forces to dare, to conquer, to discover, to defy, to make time last, to make time count. Adventure may hurt you, but monotony will kill you  – universe is transformation, stagnation is kryptonite.

Like any other creative art, a photograph too can store emotion. It captures both the journey of the subject and that of the photographer however less visible. It tells a story that commences with a frame of reality – but continues into the realm of imagination.

I hope to remind ourselves of what we live amongst; a unique planet to be proud of. Beauty truly is all around us, but it’s our perspective that determines how we see it – or whether we see it at all.

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Innovation

For as long as I can remember, new ideas have kept popping into my head. From the “wouldn’t it be nice” to the “omg I cannot believe that this doesn’t exist yet”. The list just kept getting longer and longer.

Most of my experience is in designing digital things, however, when it comes to the build, organisation and business, I still have much to learn. I commenced an MBA in Social Impact in 2021 in the hopes that it would get me closer to realising some of the projects on this ever growing list. The ones that have made some form of pogress so far (alone or together with friends), can be found here.

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UX/UI Design

When designing a digital product, challenge is to create something that works efficiently, instantly, intuitively and that looks beautiful. User Experience (UX) design is about ensuring the user’s central position in the design process from the start, while User Interface (UI) design looks at the visible (interactive) outputs and how these are organised. My mission is to create products that elevate function into art without compromising on usability nor costs.

My design process is an ever evolving process itself with a universal experience language at its core, that is polished and expanded upon through countless of iterations. Apart from rapidly and efficiently creating products to be proud of, I also strive to help ignite or accelerate change by creating products that have a positive real world impact.

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