Meet Your Maker | Jonathan van der Knaap

Date: 06 Apr 2016

Written by Peta Mount

Jonathan van der Knaap’s interest in photography developed while he was living in Tokyo from the mid to late 2000s. It was during this period that he discovered the work of Daido Mariyama. Known as the father of street photography in Japan, Mariyama is celebrated for his grainy, monochromatic work capturing the harsh realities of city life. Inspired to take up the medium himself, van der Knaap spent his weekends shooting the city before returning to Adelaide where he has established himself as a sought after commercial photographer.

Van der Knaap regularly works for City Mag and The Adelaide Review, has done assignments for Monocle, German Vogue and the Wall Street Journal, and can often be found around Adelaide shooting fashion, food and interiors. He describes the travel and access this kind of work affords him, alongside pleasing his clients, as the most enjoyable part of the job but is motivated by the process of discovering, capturing and editing a shot, particularly when working on personal projects.

Image: Mirror Image, 2015, Luxury Magazine, Photographer Jonathan van der Knaap

Van der Knaap credits Trent Parke as another source of inspiration and, alongside his commercial work, is building an impressive body of street photography. Clearly influenced by Mariyama and Parke, this work is a candid and gritty exploration of the urban environment through which van der Knaap seeks to find the interesting in the ordinary.

Image: 1st Year Series, 2015, Photographer Jonathan van der Knaap

A new father, van der Knaap recently produced a series documenting the first year of his son’s life by photographing various items that represent this new role. The resulting visual narrative includes a collection of three positive pregnancy tests, a dummy, a clock and a teething toy. Shot in isolation, on richly coloured backgrounds, the work references the vivid hues of childhood while alluding to the solitude one can feel as a new parent.

In his own words, van der Knaap is ‘available for assignments anywhere’.

The Adelaide Review is a proud media partner of Well Made. First published in The Adelaide Review Issue 434.

Banner Image: Tokyo record II, 2015, Photographer Jonathan van der Knaap