Friday, May 23, 2014

Project Scouted photographer profile: Jerome Stoffels

Describing him as a photographer with a twist is an understatement. He’s a photographer who is interested in art, travelling, exploring and cattle farming. Yes, cattle farming. Jerome Stoffels is full of surprises and takes with him an easy smile and welcoming demeanour everywhere he goes, which is probably why his images of the people he shoots are always intimate and intriguing. This will be the third year that Jerome is back to a part of a Lee Folkard Photography Project and, through the way he has with people, especially those he shoots, this definitely won’t be the last. And now you can get to know more about this cool guy.

Lee Folkard Photography: Who is Jerome Stoffels?
Jerome: Hi, I’m Jerome Stoffels and I like taking and making images. Photography is like another language that I speak and I'm using it to say something!

LFP: What was your inspiration to begin photography and how did you start off in the business?
Jerome: Inspiration comes from everything around me – my family, colours, thoughts, emotions, dreams and travelling. I want people to relate to my work. For me, photography is about the stories – the lives I get to inhabit. And I attempt to capture these and then share them. Photography is like a relationship to me. I think it all started in Europe with the different architecture, cultures and spaces. I knew I would one day leave so I decided to document everything I saw with photography. I fell in love with the art and photographic galleries in London. I also joined underground photography clubs. But my first real break came when I was booked to shoot a Mercedes Benz Fashion show and it just continued from there.

LFP: How did you become involved in Project Scouted and what motivated you to be a part of it?
Jerome: This is actually my third time collaborating in Lee's Projects. Following the success of the last Projects, I jumped at the chance to be involved again. I also really enjoy hanging out and meeting new folks at the shoots and events. Project Scouted is probably the biggest one so far; which is an indication that everything has been organised in a very professional way. The calibre of the photographers involved and the ladies that have been scouted is like BOOM! I'm a massive fan!

LFP: What is ‘beauty’ to you?
Jerome: Beauty – Everyone is created differently. I embrace that uniqueness and celebrate it. Everyone should do that in their own way.

LFP: If you could photograph any person, alive or passed, who would it be and why?
Jerome: Wow, there are so many! But one that is at the top of my list right now is the legendary Bob Marley. He is an obsession to me, really! As much as he was a musician, he liberated people through his words. No matter what mood I am in, I can always listen to his music. I was actually doing some research on him recently and I found out he read palms when he was really young. His mother was overwhelmed with the strangers turning up at their home to have their palms read so she asked him to try something different. And that's when he started playing the guitar. A conversation and couple pics with him is all I'd ask for. But not forgetting a selfie with him too!

LFP: What would an advert advertising you, for any purpose, say?
Jerome: #TravelArtPeace

Having been born in Durban, grew up in the Eastern Cape and lived the UK, Jerome carries with him a wealth of stories and experiences; all of which he brings to his photography. His identity is made up of these places and he has been working to create images evoking the experiences of the stories, beauty, energies and emotions he has been witness to over the years. Be on the lookout on the Lee Folkard Photography Facebook page to see Jerome’s inspired images of the girls in the coming stages of Project Scouted

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