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Jeroen’s Story

This is the story of how Jeroen ended up finding his passion for photography, sold all his belongings and migrated to a beautiful, but cold, rock in the North Atlantic.

Fascination With the Arctic

Jeroen found his passion for photography very early on when he discovered an analog Canon SLR (the Canon AV-1) in his parent’s attic at the age of 10. Learning how to use it, caused him to be immediately fascinated by photography. Complementing that fascination, he was fortunate enough to travel with his parents to unspoiled, and sometimes distant, countries such as South Africa, Canada and Norway during his childhood. Those travels, together with the many National Geographic and BBC Earth documentaries he watched, developed his respect and admiration for nature tremendously.

In 2012, after discovering the raw beauty of the nature in Iceland through the Sígur Rós music DVD ‘Heima’, he travelled to Iceland for the first time with his local scouts group. After arriving to the country, the group stepped on a bus and started their journey by hiking the Laugavegur trail. This 4-day experience in the Highlands of Iceland deeply changed something in Jeroen. This change is very difficult to describe to people who have not experienced it themselves. It was as if he no longer felt at home in his own country. As if someone turned a switch in his head causing him to realise, he was not where he was supposed to be. It took him a long time to truly understand this new feeling. In search of an explanation, he kept travelling to Iceland again and again, hoping it would help him find his place.

Jumping Into the Deep End

After about a dozen trips, Jeroen decided he had enough of travelling back and forth several times per year. He kept wondering what it would be like to build a life there. Some time in early 2015, he decided he had to give it a shot and started preparing the next chapter in his life. This change in thinking came after he realised he would probably only regret that which he would not even have tried. After all, in his mind, the worst that could happen was that he would have had to return to Belgium. He didn’t want to end up being that person who had to keep wondering “what if” at a later stage in life. That same year, as if it was a jigsaw falling into place, he also met the person who he is now raising a wonderful daughter with.

In early 2016, he sold all his belongings and resigned from his job as an IT technician. Shortly after, he bought a one-way ticket to Reykjavík. He stepped onto the plane with a few suitcases and began his new life in Iceland. He quickly found a job in IT for a travel agency and picked up where he left off. To this day, he hasn’t regretted this drastic change in his life for one second.

Battling Photographic Creative Block

At the end of 2019, Jeroen began guiding for a travel agency with the idea he could one day start up his own company & continue guiding more trips. Unfortunately, in came COVID-19, which put all those plans on hold. A confluence of events caused him to lose his drive to go out and photograph. He didn’t shoot as often as he wanted and he couldn’t find the energy to continue on with the constant upkeep of his social media accounts. At the end of 2020, Jeroen felt as if he was in a kind of photographic creative block. It prevented him from pushing forward to his goal: owning his own photography-focused business.

An Eruption of Inspiration

And when Jeroen least expected it, his drive and passion for photography was reinvigorated by a series of events he had never thought possible. At the end of December 2020, he was treated to polar stratospheric clouds, which was something he had been wanting to see for ages. A month later, after carefully planning his shoot, he photographed one of the most incredible Aurora Borealis displays in years. And as the cherry on top, a few weeks later the wildest photographic rollercoaster of his life began: the eruption in Geldingadalir. All of these things combined, reinvigorated his lust for landscape photography.

Thanks to the Geldingadalir eruption, and his work surrounding it, 2021 became a milestone year in his photography career. Because of his dedication in photographing the eruption, he gained an increased interest in his work. This allowed him to finally take a big leap forward, one he dreamt of for many years. He started his own business in Iceland and became a full-time photographer. At the end of 2021, he also released my first book, which is called New Earth – a Photographic Journey of the Geldingadalir Eruption. In 2022 & 2023, he continued his work documenting the second and third eruptions at Fagradalsfjall. In June 2023, Jeroen received Icelandic citizenship: the culmination of his dream.

Today Jeroen is active as a full-time, independent landscape and wildlife photographer. His primary activities revolve around organising photography workshops in Iceland & Greenland, whilst also selling books and prints. Aside from those activities, he also organises talks.

What’s Important To Jeroen’s Photography

In his photography, Jeroen tries to go by a few personal guidelines which have become increasingly important to him:

  • It’s about the story. To Jeroen, photographs are strengthened by having a good story to support them. Photography is the art of capturing memories and those memories deserve to be told and shared. He tries more and more to tell people that story. He tries to tell them what effort goes into posting that single 4 by 5 image on Instagram for them to enjoy. To amplify this idea, he began writing “Behind the Shot” blog posts to share stories behind his photographs.
  • Nature is beautiful on its own. Jeroen spends little time editing his photographs. He believes in trying to do as much as possible in-camera. This goes hand in hand with doing only basic processing on his photographs. He enjoys the struggle of witnessing that beautiful moment more than adjusting photographs and compositing them.
  • Respecting that which he capture. Jeroen has the utmost respect for nature. He is a landscape and wildlife photographer to show to people that which should be protected. He always tries to convey that message to his audience and others he meets while being outside and photographing. In the age of social media, respecting nature, and conveying others that message, has never been more important. No photograph or video is worth damaging nature in any way (off-roading, recovering a drone by leaving marks on very fragile soil, …).
  • Gear is important but shouldn’t get in the way. The camera and lenses Jeroen uses are important as they are the one thing allowing me to create his work. However, he tries to stick to a minimal approach when it comes to gear. For example: Jeroen uses only two lenses. He used to be that person who had every single focal length available and carried around a variety of lenses. But he found that a lot of gear only got into the way of photographing. He ended up spending a lot of time deciding what to shoot with, instead of just shooting. Limiting his available gear has only improved his photography. In addition, he is always on the lookout for shrinking his gear: smaller lenses, smaller bodies, a more lightweight drone, …

Read More About Jeroen’s Photographic Ventures

On Jeroen’s blog, you can discover a collection of helpful articles, photography projects or travel stories about his ventures in the world of photography.


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