Raf Olaerts’ path towards becoming a professional photographer did not come by nature but instead through a long process of realisation through his neighbours. It was at the ripe age of 37 that Raf’s passion towards photography developed.
“There wasn’t any specific trigger,” he said. “I was doing a lot of photography projects on my own and posting them online. People from my neighbourhood started to notice and asked me to shoot at their weddings, kids communions and engagements, to name a few. At a certain point it was just logical to start a real business.”
With nature as his biggest desire to capture in photography, Raf leaves little else as his source of inspiration. He said surrounding himself with the calm magnificence of rough nature is what is most attractive to him. “Although nature can be wild and fearful, it’s always beautiful,” he said. “Even on a bad day when I do not get my camera out, I never feel time is wasted.”
Back in the days, Raf graduated as an electrician with a specialty in industrial automation. Since he realised his passion for photography, he went back to school and studied it for three years.
He says he loves going to mountains most when it comes to capturing his images. He recalled an experience at Grindelwald, Switzerland where he planned to camp out on a mountain at about 8,200 feet for two days. However, as the weather unexpectedly took a turn for the worse, he ended up staying at a cabin instead.
“From the cabin it was a 2-hour hike up to the lake where I wanted to take photos. We hiked two mornings and every time the beautiful sky went grey on us just before the sun came out. We almost gave up on the morning we were leaving. We were tired and didn’t feel like getting up at 3:30am,” said Raf.
Yet finally his efforts paid off and rewarded him with the beauty he sought after. “When we got up to the mountain anyway, the sky had cleared and the most beautiful light on the mountain had appeared,” he reminisced.
Raf has never experienced partnering up with someone in photography yet he is very much open to the idea. “I would love to, just never happened. I just assumed nobody was insane enough to get up in the middle of the night to ‘shoot photo pictures.’”
From his experiences, Raf says he always lets the environment inspire him rather than planning every detail beforehand. “I don’t really think about the shot I’m taking. When I arrive at a location I’ll let it sink in. I am aware of the beauty of it and what attracts my eye. I find it very intoxicating when you see a picture popping up on the back of your camera and it looks nearly like what you’ve imagined.”
As a creator, it is not a surprise that Raf wants to make something that he himself considers ‘great.’ He exclaimed that he does not know if he ever will be able to but he surely loves trying.
“I love the feeling when everything under my lens comes together just like how I imagine it…THAT feeling, that’s why I make pictures,” he said. “I wish to be given a grant by a huge travel agency and be sent around the world to shoot new adventure vacations!”
Raf Olaerts 成為攝影師的路並不是從一開始就清晰可見的 – 他透過他的鄰居發覺了並花費了不少時間終於發現了自己對攝影的熱情。當時的他，年37歲。
只要努力總是有回報的 – Raf的經驗驗證了這個道理。「無論如何，當我爬山到了目的地的時候，天空突然明朗了起來，然後我看見了我從來沒有看過的美麗光芒。」
作為一個創作者，Raf想創作一些讓自己滿意的作品的想法並不讓人意外 – 雖然他說他並不知道可不可能做到，但他會繼續嘗試。