“A Talk with Albertine Dijkema”, Jewellery Photographer, The Netherlands

June 23, 2010 | No Comments

“As an Art & Jewellery photographer I’m in service of the object”

It’s true I have a wonderfull job! As an Art and Jewellery photographer next to being a graphic designer I’m able to “write with light”, the real meaning of the word “Photography”.
I studied at the Academy of Art in Utrecht (NL), Photography, and later on I went to  the Academy of Art in Arnhem (NL), Graphic Design. Because I like jewellery so much I’m doing right now the goldsmithing course at the craftsmen school Zadkine Schoonhoven.

About fifteen years ago I applied for the job of photographer at Sotheby’s, I got it…out of hundred candidates. It was a great opportunity for me to work with so many diverse art objects, of all sizes and qualities next to impressive technical equipment to work with, to create the most beautiful pictures.

The funny thing is that as a jewellery photographer I feel and see immediately whether a jewel is a real master piece. Because a real “Beauty”, a beautifuly designed, as well as impressively constructed, is easy to photograph. Every detail is very well thought over.  Meanwhile it’s true that every millimetre counts and that the jewel has to be perfectly clean and without damage or scratches to make “that picture perfect photo”. Sometimes I have to be patient for hours just for one photo, when it comes to making a showcase out of it. Next to the fact that I build the “perfect white tent” beforehand. I’m a good white tent builder; that basically means the light is under my total control! And I love to take time for creating the atmosphere that I want to get. Personally I think that’s where a good photo starts, next to a great camera, (macro) lenses & the electronic equipment for photo shopping. The possibilities for photo shopping are endless, a joy to do it in the perfect way. The basis photo has to be great from the start, because a bad photo will never ever become a good one, not even with photo shop.

While I’m working I always think of my worktable as my own “mini theatre” and I’m the director; on stage the object(s) are given the right position(s) surrounded by impressive stage lights. It’s up to me to then choose the angle from where I will take the picture & which object, or part of it, will be on the foreground or background…directed by the light; the hardness or softness of light.  My personal preference is to make fresh photos, where you can see the honest object exactly showing the material and the right patina of the surface of object. It’s up to me to take care that the best shot will be made.
I’m always aware of the reflection of light and the impact of it on the picture. Therefore I’m only wearing white, black or greyish clothes while I work. As soon as I wear other colours I’ll see it immidiatly reflected in the objects. If you would like to see more of my work, please visit my web-site.

Albertine’s book recommendations are:

“Papieren sieraden” (Paper Jewellery), by Nel Linssen. 1986-1991 (Only Dutch edition), out of printing.

“Still Time”, by Sally Mann, Aperture Foundation, ISBN 978-0-89381-593-6, $25.

Albertine’s museum recommendations are:
FOAM (Photographic museum) Amsterdam
The Paper Biennial 2010 at the CODA museum. Starting at June 15th until September 13th 2010, in Rijswijk & Apeldoorn.

This article is published by the courtesy of Albertine Dijkema.


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Margriet Sopers

Margriet Sopers, FGA

Having a diploma in jewellery, FGA and a propaedeutic of the Academy of Art followed-up by interesting years as a jewellery expert at Sotheby's & Gemeentelijke Krediet Bank, as well as being a member for years of the Society of Jewellery Historians, I am glad to share with you today's world of jewellery.

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