Although we had initially hoped that the existing product photos from our partner factories would be sufficient, unfortunately, the images did not hit the mark.
“So, we decided to do it ourselves”, explains operations director Anton Leurs.
We selected a space in the ICA building especially for this project. Next, we purchased the necessary equipment and contacted photographer Walter Sietinga, who was introduced to us by another top photographer, Judith Keessen. Walter specialises in product, event, business and medical photography in studio or on location. He replied and, to his astonishment and surprise, the assignment was confirmed on Liberation Day.
And what an assignment it was. At the start, we had thought about 1,000 images, but it ended up being close to 2,300 photos with the official counter still running.
Taking a few high resolution photos is easier said than done. The tiles had to be selected, unpacked, arranged, cleaned and shot. They then had to be placed back in the boxes and returned to the correct locations in the warehouse. In addition, some of the ranges have various prints and required up to six photos each. Of course, there are also the special items, such as metro tiles or hexagons, that presented a few challenges of their own.
Walter Sietinga: “The colour density is paramount and the detailing must be just right. Light is also a factor because a few tiles have depth or relief. An added complexity is that the colour seen on the screen must precisely match the colour of the tile, which requires much time and thought. You therefore have to know a lot about light, for instance. Since the shoot, I tend to look at tiles in a very different way!”
Sietinga says that, although he did not underestimate the assignment, he no longer takes the complexity of tiles too lightly: “I originally thought that I could quickly take a few photos, but, in practice, this wasn’t the case. It looks very straightforward, but it isn’t. And that’s what made this job so much fun. I have learnt a lot about hand-shaped, treated and untreated or tumbled tiles. And you know, my interest goes so far that I’ve even been browsing the websites of tile manufacturers to research their product photographs.”
In closing, an interesting fact about Walter (shared with his permission): in June 2018, he became a certified medical science and forensic photographer, adding to his skills.