The Photo Graduates: Sem Langendijk
Our eighth and last Photo Graduate is Sem Langendijk, a young photographer from Amsterdam. He grew up in an old railroad station after which he switched to boats, and from a young age on has known an environment in which people had a lot of freedom to follow their own path; living by their own standards and ethics.
Before opting for photography, he had always wanted to go into architecture, but the rigidness of the trade (“too many rules”) made him change his mind. It was during a year-long trip that he discovered his passion for photography: “I learned the value of images and how they can communicate”. Strongly inspired by his interest in cities and urban environment, in his images he mainly tells stories of people, showing some insight in their perspectives on the use of space.
This results in what he calls ‘American Photography’: It resonates with the ‘roadtrip’ way of working. I go somewhere and try to tell something about that place while at the same time trying to reflect that wandering state of mind.” He emphasizes the importance of walking in his work. “It’s while walking that I become more aware of my surroundings.” Most of his photography subjects he finds on these walks, although he doesn’t photograph while walking. He’s just observing. When he finds a setting that captures his attention, he slowly works towards an image, composing with the resources he has in front of him.
One of his (ongoing) projects is called Docklands and is about harbors that turned into recreational areas. Having lived on boats, this is a subject dear to his heart, and he hopes to one day develop it further, making a grand body of work documenting these new hotspots in cities. Next to that he will continue to shoot his visual stories, encouraging people to wander around and meet strangers.