PHOTOGRAPHER JAN PIETER VAN VOORST VAN BEEST will address street photography at the First Light Camera Club in Topsham.

PHOTOGRAPHER JAN PIETER VAN VOORST VAN BEEST will address street photography at the First Light Camera Club in Topsham.


Photographer Jan Pieter van Voorst van Beest will deliver a slide talk on the topic of “Street Photography” for the First Light Camera Club on Thursday, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The program takes place at the Topsham Medical Building, 4 Horton Place, Topsham and is free for FLCC members; $10 for guests. The talk will include a brief history of street photography, a discussion of photographers’ rights, a look at what to do and what not to do, and examples of the artist’s work.

Van Voorst van Beest arrived from Holland in Maine in 1970. Throughout the 1970s, he enjoyed photographing cityscapes and people interacting on the streets. He enrolled in a photography class with John Eide, who started the program for Portland School of Art — later, known as Maine College of Art. Eide currently has a show of work entitled “Land Sea Stone,” Jan. 18-April 2, at the University of New England’s Art Gallery. Van Voorst van Beest also studied with masters such as Arnold Newman and Joyce Tenneson at Maine Media Workshops.

Van Voorst van Beest has always loved photographing people and specializes in portraits. He shoots both color and black and white, usually works without a tripod on the street, and uses focus — whether sharp or softened — to accentuate certain features. He cited the current trend of using high dynamic range (HDR), a photo technique used to capture images in high contrast with sharp focus, as something he’d rather temper. Van Voorst van Beest feels that tonal range in such images can become homogeneous causing the result to look “almost like a painting.” Instead, he admires the shadows and imperfections he sees in reality. He shoots full frame and does not crop afterward, preferring to capture the image as much as possible in the camera. He shoots both digitally and with film, still processes large bodies of work in a darkroom, and enjoys experimenting with Polaroid film and transfers (for their “wacky alternative way of printing”). He learned early on to stick with his strengths and with his interest. “One cannot do it all,” he said.

“During my many years in photography, I have found the whole spectrum of emotions,” according to work Van Voorst van Beest.” Joy, hate, sadness, love, war and peace. Photographs are small pieces in time. I take them home and have ownership. They are particles of history and a record of life on earth.”

Van Voorst van Beest also loves to photograph when traveling. He returns often to Holland, and has photographed in Paris, Italy, China, South America, Mexico and the West Indies. Some of his self-assigned “projects” involve New York subways, “Urban Street Shots,” nudes, documentary subjects, and immigrants.

Upon his retirement in 2006 from working in the trucking industry, he created a book entitled, “New Mainers: Portraits of Our Immigrant Neighbors,” published by Tilbury House. He has also exhibited work at the University of Southern Maine, Fryeburg Museum, Maine Historical Society, Danforth Gallery, Susan Moss Gallery, Bowdoin College, Three Fish Gallery, and Addison Woolley, to name but a few. He once photographed artists in their studios and exhibited the resulting works at Galeyrie Fine Arts, Falmouth.

Projects, portraits and examples of his work can be found on his website at Photographs from the “New Mainers” book will be on display in the Picker Room at Camden Public Library during the month of February 2017.

First Light Camera Club hosts workshops, photo outings, and tech nights all year long. Upcoming programs include: a tech night workshop with Rob Smith on “Macro Photography,” February 25; Wilfred Richard on “Cold Climes Photography,” March 2; Mike Leonard leading a Digital Critique on March 30; and photographer Ben Williamson, date to be announced. The club seeks new members—from beginners to advanced—for a fee of $35 per year and offers a chance to participate in Project 52, where Club members shoot to a different theme every week of the year.

To learn more, visit; email: [email protected]; or call (207) 729-6607.

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