Bastiaan Woudt works in a wide range of photographic disciplines: landscape, still life, and portrait. He travels the world with his XF Camera System complemented by the Schneider Kreuznach 80mm f/2.8, 110mm f/2.8, and 150mm f/3.5 lenses. We caught up with him between assignments to ask a few questions about his inspiration, tools, and his minimalist lens approach.
The right lens for the moment
“Having the right lens is essential to my work. When a photographer starts to determine their signature style and workflow, they will start to find their favorite focal lengths to work with. In many cases, the choice of focal length and lens can really define the style of the photographer. For me, it doesn’t matter what my subject is. Landscapes, still life, or people, they all combine to form my body of work.
“I love to shoot portraits and work with people, but I don’t like to be labeled as a portrait photographer.”
A unique expression with a compact lens kit
“The focal length of the Schneider Kreuznach 80mm f/2.8 gives a natural look while letting me keep the subject close to me. It is the most versatile lens I can think of. I also find the 80mm focal length to be very helpful for landscapes. Wider doesn’t always work for me outdoors. I really love the fact that I must move to frame my images. If I’m too far away, I simply move closer. It also helps a lot that the amazing resolution of the sensor gives you the opportunity to do cropping when necessary in post. The focal length helps me find balance.”
“The Schneider Kreuznach 110mm f/2.8 and Schneider Kreuznach 150mm f/3.5 are used in my studio for portraits or when on commission. I really love the aesthetics these lenses give me. The main difference between the lenses is the shallower depth of field and the way they can add aesthetics. Sometimes it also helps to grab a different focal length during a shoot to see things with a totally new perspective.”
Balancing the technical aspects of the compositions
“The most important aspect of my images is lens speed and depth of field. I shoot everything at f/2.8. I never increase my f-stop. I love the way the Schneider Kreuznach lenses and the Full Frame Medium Format Sensor render the out of focus areas.”
“One of the reasons I chose medium format over 35mm is the depth of field aesthetic. It is unparalleled.”
Maximum portability and image quality
“Mobility is very important when I’m traveling. I am a photographer with a ‘run and gun’ style. Portraits are often taken in minutes and I usually do not have the time or patience to set up a studio.”
“Having a complete system that fits in a single backpack is essential. I’m always working with daylight, so I don’t need to bring any lights. And other than my XF Camera System, the only thing I always pack is a white cloth and clamps to create an impromptu backdrop. I love the minimalist approach.”
“Everything I do is based on my passion to create beautiful images that are filled with feeling. Other photographers are a big inspiration to my work, from the aesthetics of Pictorialism to the works of the great masters, like Man Ray, Irving Penn, and Richard Avedon. For me, there is an impressive level of dynamics and a certain feeling in their images that are no longer seen in the digital age. I’m trying to incorporate those dynamics and feelings into my work while still doing it my own unique way.”
The aesthetic of Full Frame Medium Format is hard to resist. Although the size may seem daunting for the uninitiated, as Bastiaan has found, with the right combination of lenses to meet your workflow, a minimalist approach is well worth the effort. The complete kit that Bastiaan uses combines the versatility of the XF Camera System with just three critical lenses, making it only slightly larger than the 35mm equivalent but providing so much more.