Wellcome to my world

A little bit about me

Welcome to the universe of the Belgian photographer, biologist Dirk Ercken. Here’s how I see the world trough my camera, an exciting world. Natural beauty from the smallest creature to the widest landscapes. The mystery world of old abandoned places and a whole lot more. Let me share the world I see through the eye of my imagination and camera. Join me on an exciting photographic journey. Lets explore the world!

The trigger

Where it all started

An early fascination in animals and the natural world determined my path towards biology. Ad a sense of adventure and an urge for physical exercise, and you understand that becoming an ecological field researcher was a destiny waiting to happen. I have been working in the field of aquatic ecology for over ten years. The job was quite diverse and a succession of a vast series of small projects with in between enough time to travel allowing me to explore the world. Every time I travelled I was accompanied by my camera gear. Even more, making pictures became a reason to travel. But I wasn’t doing very well in photography, every time I got back home I was disappointed with the results. I only shot my camera while traveling and during that time I was hard trying to get the best out of it. The problem was that I wasn’t making a lot of progress. As soon as I was back home I put down my camera gear, my learning curve stopped and dropped by the lack of continues practice.

The turning point

The need for a change

Some things had to change! At a certain point I got so frustrated that I decided to stop traveling. First I had to learn to create better images! I subscribed at the Academy of fine arts in Leuven and started a 4 year course in analog photography. Now I was shooting images on a regular basis and the analog system didn’t allow a lot of mistakes. This means I had to practice a lot! My learning curve was relatively steep and while I was studying analog photography and working in the darkroom at the academy, I did a lot of extra self study with my digital gear and photoshop. How to deal with light I mainly learned in the analog system and working in the darkroom was a perfect step towards photoshop, maybe the best. I a sense there isn’t a lot difference between photoshop and the darkroom. Only in Photoshop you can tweak a little more precise. And I’m not talking about cutting and pasting, it’s the feel and mood of the image that you determine in post production. It’s here that the images really come to live!

In the mean while it was getting more and more difficult to get the kind of jobs I really loved to do and I was unemployed for quite some time. I’m not made for a desk job, I need more action. Lucky I was getting more and more pleased with the images I created and was starting to get a small income out of it. Being unemployed also allowed me to invest a lot of time in photography. A couple of years later I took the step to become a full-time professional photographer. It was the best step I could take!

My inspiration

A little bit of my work

I’m a photographer with a focus on nature, macro, light-painting and urban exploration. Photography allows me to explore the world with different eyes. Our vision is limited, but with a little imagination and the help of a camera a new magical world appears. I love to experiment with different creative camera techniques. Long exposure, multiple exposure, shallow depth of field, light-painting, tilt-shift lenses are techniques I love to play with. In this the artistic aspect of photography plays a major role.

Being a biologist nature is my first inspiration. Before becoming a professional photographer I was breeding poison dart frogs and a lot of my travels were inspired by these frogs. This meant I was shooting a lot of macro images, and that’s where the focus lay in the beginning. Nowadays my subjects are more diverse. I still shoot a lot of macro including frogs and flowers.

Urban exploration or discovering the stories of old abandoned buildings where you can hear the sound of silence when nobody’s left, only memories in brick and stone. If you listen carefully you can hear walls talk and everything comes back to life.

Painting with light and guiding the viewers eye, wrapping light around the subject. Playing with light and shadows in a unique way. The trick not to lighten the whole scene. In light painting we use a flashlight for selective lighting to create a stylized and distinct look.