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Darkness in photography is often undervalued. Whereas photographer Pim Leenen’s vision is built on erosion, reflections, and shades of gray.

Pim Leenen is a Dutch photographer. His work has been widely exhibited around the Netherlands. As he notes in our conversation below, “I don’t like magic. It’s hard enough to try to understand reality.”

All images © copyright the artist, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

The Morning News:

What sort of light do you like around the house?

Pim Leenen:

Lots of sunlight. The more shades and layers, the more depth.

TMN:

What are you afraid of in nature?

PL:

The sky—it’s beyond imagination.

TMN:

Architect or musician you’re most similar to, artistically?

PL:

That’s a hard one. I think Radiohead. Their music is dark and sensitive. Nobody is really sure what kind of music they make—sometimes it’s called pop, sometimes alternative, but also rock, grunge, and more. They have created their own original sound.

TMN:

When you see three stripes, do you see Adidas?

PL:

I try to take a fresh look at things, like a kid.

TMN:

How does a new project begin for you?

PL:

My work is one big project, it’s always in progress and doesn’t have a beginning or an end.

TMN:

What does your studio look like?

PL:

My studio is where I live, so it looks like my home. But anyplace can be my studio. Don’t you think a kitchen or a bathroom is an interesting place for a studio?

TMN:

Favorite airport?

PL:

Schiphol, Amsterdam. Enough bars and stores to spend three hours waiting.

TMN:

Last time you stood in front of someone else’s artwork that you didn’t understand?

PL:

Last month, I went to the Hermitage in Amsterdam and saw some ugly works by van Gogh. I know you have to see his work in perspective, but I just don’t think his early works are all that great. When I saw “The Potato Eaters” I was very disappointed—it’s way too cartoonesque and looks better on the internet than it does in a museum. Though I like his sunflower still lifes a lot.

TMN:

Favorite household appliance?

PL:

The faucet. Instant water in a twist.

TMN:

Harry Houdini supposedly said, “My professional life has been a constant record of disillusion, and many things that seem wonderful to most men are the everyday commonplaces of my business.” Thoughts?

PL:

I don’t like magic. It’s hard enough to try to understand reality.

Rosecrans Baldwin co-founded The Morning News. He is the author of Paris, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down and You Lost Me There. His next novel is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. His Kindle e-book for The Morning News Editions, about visiting different American towns called Paris, was selected as a notable essay for Best American Essays 2013. More information can be found at his website. More by Rosecrans Baldwin