Last Updated on 04/14/2018 by Mark Beckenbach
All images by Stijn Hoekstra. Used with Creative Commons permission.
The first few times we had a peek at Stijn Hoekstra’s work, the spotlight was on the cinematic quality of his documentary and street photos of Cuba and Amsterdam. His latest series, however, show that the Amsterdam-based photographer and cinematographer also has a keen eye for detail. If you often find inspiration in the eye-catching details of your town, you’ll surely enjoy getting lost around Stijn’s abstract rendition of Valencia.
Photographed for an assignment with Amsterdam design agency BRANDNEW, Abstract Valencia is a delightful play of colors, textures, shapes, and juxtapositions around the Spanish coastal down. Sights-wise, Valencia is best known for its churches and other historic architecture, but Stijn kept his eyes peeled for the most stunning details scattered across the city. As a modern metropolis, there’s no shortage of striking sights to capture. Through the clever combinations of lines, textures, colors, shadows, and city elements, we see why a lot of street and fine art photographers find themselves drawn to the abstract approach.
It’s also interesting to note that Stijn’s affinity for cinematic visuals is nevertheless still discernible in this commissioned project. In some of the photos, there are some people caught in the frame, almost like characters in a minimalist abstract movie on pause. In others, the quality is present in the color treatment: nothing is blindingly vibrant or dizzying, as some photographers typically prefer when capturing or rendering abstract work. Rather, everything is painted in the relaxed, nostalgic palette we see in Stijn’s portfolio.
Overall, I find Abstract Valencia to be a beautiful take on abstract and minimalist approaches to street and fine art photography. It inspires viewers to seek beauty everywhere, in the tiniest details and the most ordinary spots. If you ever need something to help you train your eye to achieve this, this series is one of the works you can study.