Joost Vandebrug, 33
Tell me a bit about yourself and where you grew up?
I grew up in Frysland in the north of Holland, in a village that was unfortunately not big enough to be a city and not small enough to be the countryside. I kept myself busy skateboarding and playing in punk bands. When I turned 18 I got my license and moved to Amsterdam where I worked as an assistant for the photographer Erwin Olaf. In 2010 I moved with my husband to London.
How did you get into photography?
My dad is a photographer so we had a darkroom in the house where I grew up. When we needed press shots and album pictures for our band I was the designated photographer I suppose. Around that time I also discovered that with a fake press card and an impressive looking lens you could go into gigs for free and stand right in front of the stage.
What is it about the medium that appeals most?
The medium has changed so much, technically. When I was really young I loved finding crazy dark room techniques with my dad, like the Lith processing that Anton Corbijn used to use. We had to import the paper and chemicals from London which was super exciting. And later I of course got into what photoshop and digital techniques could do.
I appreciate having that history with the medium but ultimately it's the narrative that drives me to be a photographer, not so much the medium itself or its technique.
Do you think you need a degree to pursue a career in photography?
No way! I dropped out of art school and traveled. I believe traveling is the best education.
Who or what inspires you?
As I said, traveling is always good; getting out in the analog world.
What's been your career highlight to date?
My introduction to the tunnels under the streets of Bucharest and meeting Bruce Lee and the Lost Boys down there has been an incredible experience. They invited me into a totally different world. I have published a book about their lives with Dust magazine and next year I will release the documentary that follows the life of Nicu (one of the Lost Boys) when he lived on the streets and in the tunnels with Bruce Lee from his 12th to his recent 18th birthday party.
Photography Joost Vandebrug