PETER BAAS, INTERIOR PHOTOGRAPHER

As a true autodidact, renowned interior photographer Peter Baas took up the photography profession and chased his boyhood dream. He travels around the world, sees impressive projects by designers such as Marcel Wolterinck, Bertram Beerbaum and François Hannes through his lens and is already working on the next book for Marcel Wolterinck. In short: Peter never sits still for a moment. Who helped him during his career?Text: Mical Joseph
Image: Peter Baas

What did you aspire to as a teenager?

“I grew up with my father working in the machine trade in Papendrecht. The original plan was that I would follow in his footsteps, but as a young adult I actually aspired to something completely different... In addition to high school and helping my father, I photographed HDR landscapes, animals and insects from the age of fourteen. After high school, I took metal training at a large shipyard and from there I worked at Hydrohammer. This company specialized in hydraulic pile hammers, often for offshore use.

At some point I went back to my father's company. As a hobby, I photographed more and more (old) buildings (urban photography). These photos often appeared in the photography magazines Focus and Zoom. one day I got a call from someone who said I should specialize in interior photography. He thought I had an eye for that and saw great potential.”

How did you end up in your current job?

“On my route to the company I passed DKHome every day, which then became Cravt. One day I walked in thinking I would take photos for them so I could build my portfolio. I didn't get any further than the door: they weren't interested. I didn't let myself be fooled and went back in the evening to take beautiful evening photos. The building was incredibly beautiful, covered with ivy and had beautiful high doors.”I was then invited to take photos for a day. Within a month I was working with Marcel Wolterinck, Erik Kuster and Axel Vervoordt; big names. In fact, I skipped ten years in one go in a short period of time. the confidence I received there allowed me to develop quickly. Around the year 2010, my father's company was doing very badly due to the crisis, I decided to quit my job to focus fully on photography. In 2012, at the age of 32, I started my own business.”

Who was your wheelbarrow in that?

“My role model is Hans Fonk from OBJEKT. In my opinion, he was the best interior photographer around at the time. Besides this example, I see myself as my own wheelbarrow. I followed my own path and did not let myself be driven crazy so easily. I also always listened to the customer's wishes, and in a sense customers have also contributed to my own development.”

What is your greatest passion in your profession?

“I have been able to combine my hobby with my work for quite some time now, which I think is fantastic! Through the lens I only see beautiful, interesting things and that makes my work so cool.”

What else would you like to photograph?

“I have always said Superyachts, but that is quite difficult to intervene. This is because the same, regular group of photographers is often used.” So I now focus more on Luxury Resorts or cool projects in America, I already have a few lines there, so who knows what great things will come my way soon.”

Basically, just like you did at DKHome, you have to photograph a superyacht. Who knows where you will end up next?

“Yes, haha, that could be possible, then I would have to go to the Monaco Yacht Show sometime next year, for example. Maybe something like that will get me into that industry. In any case, a nice trip!”

What has been the biggest learning moment in your career?

“I have never stopped learning, I learn something new every day, but what I do much less now than I used to is taking photos from different angles. Out of uncertainty, I used to photograph as much as possible, while now I know exactly what works and what doesn't. As soon as I enter a project, I immediately know what my positions need to be to get a good result. This works great for the customer and we can work quickly and efficiently.”

What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

“Choose the passion you have. Don't choose, in my case, to take over the company, because that's how it should be. I used to feel pressure to take over my father's company, even though my father did not literally ask this of me. That's why I say: chase your own dream.”

Have you been a wheelbarrow for someone?

“Photographer Monique Mathijssen is, as it were, a 'student' of mine. I met her in Ibiza and to this day I am her coach and give Monique advice where necessary. She may do very different things than I do, and is more into portrait photography, but we still know where to find each other.”