The blog title may suggest it’s a how-to about making money as a photographer: We’re sorry for deceiving you! Pictures For Money is Pim Top’s Instagram account. And it shows all but straightforward pictures made by a photographer shooting objects for a living. His portfolio certainly shows pictures from objects. There are chairs wrapped up in leather. Tin cans doing a balancing act. And there’s interior photography in which the furniture has been covered with decorator’s protective foil with so much care that you’d feel sorry if you’d ever had to remove it.
Pim studied Cultural Science, Philosophy and Art History at the Rotterdam based Erasmus University. As Frans Willem Korsten – his former Professor in Literature – states, Pim is not so much looking at a room, he’s “looking at something that represents a possibility of living in or with that space”. At a recent exhibition during Dutch Design Week Pim collaborated with the designer-duo Supertoys Supertoys. Their design philosophy is a way to break out of the ongoing entanglement of being human through things to be human among things instead. This seems to blend seamlessly with Pim Top’s way of looking at the world. In his photographs the objects created by Supertoys Supertoys are in a dialogue with their environment and one isn’t necessarily more important than the other.
Pim uses his camera to recreate the pictures he’s got in his mind. Inspiration rather comes from paintings, sculptures and experimental music than from looking at photography. Contemplate, arrange, look. Rearrange and look twice. The camera comes last. And that’s one of the reasons using a view camera fits in perfectly with Pim Top’s way of working. One’s own creativity should be the only limitation.
Pim’s work is very often built up from a multitude of shots. Looking at it, you notice something odd, but can’t always tell what it is. This photographer likes to take the same liberty chosing his perspective as painters do. That’s why many photographs are composed from shots taking from slightly different view points. Before Pim switched to using a view camera he often needed 70-100 images to stack the perfect picture. Since he’s using an Actus often ten images will do. Which saves a lot of time. And he’s developed a new love for out-of-focus areas, now that the view camera gives him perfect control over the plane of focus.
Pim uses a Nikon Z7 with a Cambo Actus-G and Actar-90 lens. The Z is his mirrorless camera of choice, because of its large bayonet and short flange-focal distance. These features enable the large camera movements he needs for his work. Pim likes the Actar-90 because it renders beautifully and has an outstanding image quality both when used for (extreme) close-ups and at a more regular table-top distance. Just recently he’s added an Actar-60. The latter was used for this interior shot of a gallery.
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