Licensing Contributor Jelle Canipel is a Belgian landscape and adventure photographer who connected with two other 500px Photographers—Michiel Pieters and Joris Put—to create an exhibition that combined elements of their heritage and photography, culminating in an interactive experience for their local community.
Q: You have been on the platform for a number of years now, when did you first begin uploading your images and what inspired you to submit your first image to Licensing?
A: In the beginning, as a starting photographer, you want as much feedback on your work as possible. You want people to see your work and give advice on what they like or don’t like. It is very useful to gather all this feedback for your next photo. A platform like 500px offers great reviews and also lets you see other work that can inspire you.
Submitting for Licensing is the real work—getting the opportunity to sell your work. I think every photographer wants to get to the point where people like their work and want to buy it. If you are commercially focused, it is worth saving money for photo trips and camera gear.
Q: You incorporate a lot of softer tones in your landscapes. How do you develop your images to achieve this overall look?
A: I’ve created my own presets in Lightroom, which I mostly use for my photos. [The presets that I use] depend on the type of photography—my wedding presets are different from the ones I have created for my outdoor or landscape photography.
I like the softer tones and not the hard tones. Most of all, I love setting a mood in my photos with light. Light can make a photo feel bright, and darker tones can shift the mood. The setting and mood are important in a photo.
Q: Your portfolio is very consistent, gravitating toward dramatic landscapes and an adventurous aesthetic. What entices you to capture this type of content?
A: Traveling and outdoor adventures are my main passions. I’ve been traveling for many years now with my wife, friends, and kids. I love traveling in the mountains, to have that experience and capture it without spoiling the moment is so special because capturing the photo does not interfere with traveling.
I like to seek little adventures like hiking via ferrata’s (protected climbing routes), climbing a little, or camping and sleeping outside. Cozy moments in mountains huts are great. I find my passion through telling these stories in my photography, trying to capture moments and inspire others.
I like a moody scene, so I find the regions that have that vibe. I also have my own little travel company to help people travel.
Q: What is your favorite destination you have traveled to? What are some things you would recommend seeing there?
A: Oh, that is a hard question and difficult to answer. I’m in love with the Balkan countries like Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Slovenia. I love these places for the natural landscapes and activities you can do, as well as the people.
I also like to travel to Asian countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand because of their culture, and their landscapes.
For moody regions, I love like the Scandinavian countries. Norway, the Farmer Islands, Iceland, and Scotland are great for these darker-toned images.
If you are looking for epic mountains, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Nepal, and the Andes in Peru are where you need to go.
And for bigger wildlife and jungle adventures, the Amazon and Peru are great places to travel to.
I think if other photographers are looking for similar adventures, these countries would be really great to visit, however, many other countries will be able to offer other amazing opportunities. I would love to visit Namibia or Botswana for the nature and wildlife you can find there.
Q: What are the top five items you bring with you when exploring a new destination to photograph? Why do you love them?
A: It depends on the kind of photography trip.
For an easy access location, you don’t have to pack light:
– Camera bag
– Camera and all the lenses
– Peak Design clip (for easy access to the camera)
For a more challenging location I would recommend to try and pack light:
– Trekking bag + a map of the region
– Camera with one 24-70mm lens and 16-35mm wide-angle
– Raincoat for me and the camera
– Small food
– Peak Design clip (for easy access to the camera)
Q: This spring, you and two other 500px photographers, Michiel Pieters and Joris Put, created an exhibition and talk on landscape photography located in an old mine in Belgium. What inspired the three of you to come together and create this show?
A: We have worked together several times and have done some small trips together. Joris and I climb often in the mine building, which is beautifully redesigned as a climbing hall.
We came up with the idea of the exhibition because we wanted to organize something for a local audience from our hometown. Nowadays, most photos are only shared via social media, so we thought it would be fun to exhibit ours and make it “tangible.” In this way, a photo speaks much more.
Q: What are some of the key points you covered in your talk?
A: Most of the topics were about how we started with photography and what we like the most about it. We discussed how we work together and inspire each other. We also covered some of our favorite shots and told the story behind them.
In the end, we gave some tips and tricks. It was not too technical, so the audience was able to take something away from the talk, regardless of their experience level.
Q: Why did you choose to show your work in an old mine? Is there significance behind this choice, and how did it enhance the visual experience when viewing your imagery?
A: There were several reasons for this. First of all, the location of the climbing hall fits perfectly with the outdoor scenes and the mountains that were featured in the show, so the genre of photography would feel at home.
Joris and Michiel’s grandfathers, plus many other families, have also worked in the mines. It was good to see our photos hanging among those impressive machines and the history it holds for us as well as the location.
Another reason is the fact that we all come from the town of Beringen and wanted to exhibit somewhere local.
Finally, you have the TRiS collective that not only stands for (The Road Is Smiling), and Tri as in Three, but also for the TRiS dialect word, which means mine-hill and fits perfectly with the mine buildings. It was not a clean white background exhibition, but a little rougher and the audience had to follow a path through the old building and machinery. There was an element of search, discovery, and adventure as well as symbolism in this location.
Q: What would you say was the highlight of this exhibition?
A: The highlight for me was being able to share our story with the amount of people who visited the presentation and the expo. There was a big audience, and everyone was really excited. So that was very pleasant to see and hear.
Q: As a photographer, having the flexibility to promote, sell, and exhibit your work through various channels is essential. The images you featured in the exhibition are also available in your Licensing Collection, providing an added opportunity for sales and exposure. How would you encourage other photographers to give Licensing a try?
A: I think it is a great way to get your work highlighted and help others who need your work. Also, it is a way to see which type of work is best to sell and it can improve your view on licensed work.
Learn more about Licensing your work here.