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The Unsuccessful Photographer

The Unsuccesful Photographer is a project of a guy with zero ambition or knowledge in the world of photography. A good starting point to become a very unsuccessful photographer! He takes, like everyone does, the usual holiday shots, selfies and anniversary shots. But -as a child of the sixties, not raised with modern technology- he does this very often with his finger (partly) on the lens of his iPhone.


Some years ago, he started to print a few of his ‘unsuccessful photo’s’ on high quality canvas, finished with a subtile wooden frame (wooden ‘baklijst’) that emphasizes the ‘artistry’ of a unsuccessful photo. An approach that gives every unsuccessful snap shot a feeling as if it’s painted. In addition to this photography with flawed beauty, he also started to experiment with orchestrated photography that’s beyond accidently photo footage -but still very unsuccessful.


The Unsuccessful Photographer got excited about various positive feedback he received on his ‘photo paintings’. Some called it post ‘Rothko-ian’.Others mention Japanese Wabi Sabi influences (the beauty of imperfectness). Some unsuccessful photo’s could even be Man Ray like. Whatever, beauty is in the eye of the beholder ;-)

Creating an Unsuccessful Photo

The creative process is simple but always involves strict discipline and structure. How does The Unsuccessful Photographer make a genuine Unsuccessful Photo? Once in a while, he makes a selection of unsuccessful photos from his iPhone photo library. For example, a holiday photo in Spain, beautiful messed up with 87% of index finger on the photo lens. A selfie with his daughter, unrecognizable due to his index finger. An accidental ‘pocket call’ photo showing a blurry index finger with flash light… Or he tries to make a new photo, taking his own unsuccessful photos as inspiration.


Then he makes the ‘un-perfect’ cropping of an unsuccessful photo. Always redefining the raw material into a square shape. Square…a compelling and challenging form language, perfectly fitting the zeitgeist.


In addition to photography with flawed beauty, he also creates orchestrated photography that’s beyond accidental photo footage. By experimenting with his index finger on the lens of his iPhone and using different types of light, indoor and also outdoor, around Amsterdam or abroad. All unsuccessful photos made by The Unsuccessful Photographer are pure & raw, without any form of manipulation.


To The Unsuccessful Photographer, making a piece of unsuccessful photography is an inspiring and fun journey. Selecting a unsuccessful photo, or experimenting in his ‘studio’ (just at home or somewhere on the go;) with a finger on the photo lens, thinking about size and frame, making the‘un-perfect’ cropping, having hilarious e-mail exchanges with the high quality prints-company making remarks about low resolution files…

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