Interview with Jurgen Onland


Winner of UPR Amsterdam 2017

As we count the days to both our very anticipated events, we take the time to look back at some of the previous editions and showcase our past winners. We hope that this inspires you to get out there in full competitive mode.

Our guest today is Jurgen Onland, the winner of last year's UPR Amsterdam edition. He's an avid UPR participant, having done all 3 events last year he racked up awards in both AMS and RTD.

Theme 1 - "I finally became an old guy" - Anton Corbijn

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am Jurgen Onland, 47 years old en living in Heeten (small village near Deventer) with my wife Dianne and 2 sons Gideon en Boudewijn. I work as a freelancer on several IT projects. Besides working on IT-project or taking photos I like to be outside, walking or doing sports (mountain biking).

What is your relationship with photography and for how long have you been doing it?
Photography plays an important role in my life. I use photography as personal development; my photos often reflect my emotional life or emotions. I learned photography in a self-taught way. This gives me the artistic freedom to experiment.

Theme 2 - On track

How would you describe your photography style?
There are three areas in photography, which I like: travel, street and documentary. My photography style can best be described as anecdotal, high-contrast black & white and surprising compositions. I like to create images with a story: just a single photo but also a series of photos.

Who serves you as inspiration? What other photographer's work you admire?
I get inspiration from music, films and of course other photographers. Work of photographers I get inspired from: Carla Kogelman, Niki Boon, Isadora Kosofsky, Wouter Brandsma, Eli Dijkers. If you look at all the previous Urban Photo Races, I like a lot the work of Ferry Verwijk. It's amazing Ferry won UPR Amsterdam 2 times!

Gear wise… what do you carry on your bag?
My favorite gear, I started with a Fuji X100 7 years ago and Fuji is still my favorite camera. Right now I use a X-PRO 2 with 3 primes: 28mm, 40mm and 75mm. Most of the time I like working with 28mm and the 75mm, the focal length gives me the best way to document my story!

Do you participate frequently in photo competitions? Do you think that helps you to keep a fresh eye on photography?
Not really, but I will participate with all the Urban Photo Races this year (including London).

Theme 5 - Body Language

What helps you keeping a fresh eye on photography?
Reading and watching work of other photographers helps. Sometimes taking a short break from photographing. 

You have registered, however not participated in two previous UPR Amsterdam events, before finally joining in all the cities in 2017 with a great result. Can you share why did you wait?
That's a good question. Well, I fooled myself thinking I was not good enough with my photographs. Looking back that was of course a stupid thought. Of course Urban Photo Race is a competition, but you also meet other photographers, visit nice places and you will be challenged by the themes. I think it is a great event for developing yourself as a photographer!

Was the UPR challenging enough? Did it serve to trigger you in any new way of doing photography? Was it motivating?
For me the UPR was challenging. I am not really a street photographer, but more a documentary photographer. Most of my photo projects last more than one year. So the limited time (12 hours) of the UPR challenged me in a way that I had to produce a story per theme.

What would be your one advice to the next group of UPR participants?
Well, I had an interview at Café Obscura a couple of weeks ago. In this interview I gave several tips & tricks for the UPR. Watch this video and take advantage of it! You will find the video at:

You can check out the rest of his winning photos and visit his website on the links below.

Luis Monteirointerview