This guest post features some wonderful work from Mitchel Lensink, who shoots very creative urban landscapes in his hometown of Amersfoort, The Netherlands.
I’ve known Mitchel for a while now, through speaking to him on Twitter and seeing his work posted on Instagram and Unsplash, and have a great deal of respect for what he’s doing.
I’ll go more into the reasons why at the end of this, as it’s best if Mitchel himself talks you through his work first.
Hometown reflections, Amersfoort
“My name is Mitchel Lensink and I am a photographer from Amersfoort, The Netherlands.
I mostly shoot cityscapes and portraits but a specialty of mine that people recognise me for most in the city is my reflection photography.
After rainfall I always run around my city looking for puddles, trying to find angles I haven’t already shot.
This last thing can be a particularly difficult feat, since my hometown is (for Dutch standards) average size with about 150,000 people but with a rather small old centre.
It just so happens to be that I focus my attention on this area since it is by far the prettiest and interesting for non-locals to look at and, conveniently, because I live right in the middle of it.
Bringing my Amersfoort photography to the world
A few of my reflection shots have already caught the attention of the people around my city and it has been more than once that I saw them popping up in different contexts.
I really enjoy it when people find good use for my pictures and I have always had an interest in finding ways to expand my work.
It was a friend that came up with the idea I should go and make postcards out of my Amersfoort photographs as a way to give my work a wider purpose.
She works at a shop that’s always interested in giving local artists a platform and I absolutely loved the idea of having a physical product for sale in a prominent place in the city.
Amersfoort has seen a major increase in tourism the last few years and I could perfectly provide the increasing number of tourists with a typical ‘Amersfoort photo’ without them needing to resort to some generic image.
This is also one of the reasons I like to focus on my hometown as my subject. The city is small enough to have a significant influence on but big enough to support a vibrant creative community.
Amersfoort postcards series 1
I had a good look at my Amersfoort photography, picked out eight shots I liked the best, and made two postcard series out of them.
For the first series, I settled on all landscape-orientation shots of the most well-known locations in the city.
Three of the shots are of our central square but each taken at slightly different angles. The fourth shot I added – the church – is from one of the prettiest locations in the city.
Together, these shots form my first collection of reflection photographs that I am selling at the shop.
The second series is something I already curated but will hold onto for now, until the time is right to present these too.
An important thing I like to point out, is that I still don’t care too much for the money I can make from this but rather am excited about the possibility of people all over the country (or even world?) receiving one of my postcards.
I mean, sharing something that I can be proud of like this is a real dream.
The secret behind my images
I get messages every now and then from people asking me how I get these reflections into my shots but there really isn’t a big secret to it.
I don’t do any digital manipulation to my images other than adjusting some colouring and exposure levels like everybody else shooting their images in RAW.
So if you wish to achieve similar results, all I can tell you is to don’t get discouraged when it’s wet outside but to instead embrace it and keep a real close eye out for any puddles.
Even the smallest ones can be sufficient.
And that’s also a metaphor for the grander things in life, by the way.”
There’s a lot to like about Mitchel’s Amersfoort photography, but here are a few reasons in particular why I’m happy to feature it here.
Using limitations rather than complaining about them
It’s very easy to look at wherever you live and decide there’s nothing there to shoot. It’s also very easy to use bad weather as a reason not to go out with your camera. I do it all the time.
However, Mitchel has taken both of these things and used them rather than complained about them. You could even say he’s not just used them in his work, but he’s used them as his work.
Getting photography off the screen and into people’s hands
While I do have this website, I’ve never really made any attempt to get my photography out into the real world. I do have prints available from a print-on-demand website, but so do thousands of other people.
Making postcards and getting them in a shop is on another level of getting your work out there, and Mitchel being pro-active enough to do it has to be admired.
Being different, (if) not better
I don’t think Mitchel would claim to be the best urban landscape photographer in the world, but I do think I’d recognise one of his Amersfoort photographs if I saw one. I also think the latter is a better place to be at with your work.
You’re probably not going to be the best at whatever photography you do either. Neither am I. So work on developing your own style and, as Chase Jarvis says, be different, not better.
Having an apt name
Seriously, what better name could someone who takes photographs and prints them have than Lens-ink?
Want to get your work on My Favourite Lens too?
Go here and see how you can. 🙂