Mr. Polaroid is an alias for Ferry Van Der Nat, an Amsterdam based controversional photographer. He started as a make-up & hair artist, and then he discovered the polaroid. We are oh so glad he did! “It just all started to show the beauty of natural men” ..”Always have loved the feel of Polaroid, its just a little bit better then reality, reality is just reality!” Read our interview with Mr. Polaroid! Interview by Lauren Raaijmakers.
KALTBLUT: Hi Ferry, Thank you for taking time, how was your day?
Ferry: Most welcome, I’m flattered, thank you. My day was good, just two meetings with very good coffee.
KALTBLUT: Can you tell us what is your recent project is about?
Ferry: Well, I’m just finalizing a 60 page story for a magazine, and also in the middle of shooting portraits about male beauty for a totally new beauty magazine and I’m happy to say in the early stages to produce a MrPolaroid book.
KALTBLUT: How long are you photographing? Did you start at a young age or did you grow into that?
Ferry: Just a few years quite seriously but as a kid I always was playing with cameras as well but never could figure out how it works with the mrs etc, still its a bit of a mystery to me, but I do love it so.
KALTBLUT: Where does your love for polaroids come from?
Ferry: Always have loved the feel of Polaroid, its just a little bit better then reality, reality is just reality, i like to escape it and love to make things just a little bit more perfect then they are.
KALTBLUT: Why so much men?
Ferry: Recently I have worked with a few girls too, which was absolutely fantastic and really would love to shoot more, (funny enough they all are dressed just a bit). Men are just so easily beautiful once the light hits there face and body, apparently I prefer a girl to be a Madonna and a boy a Adonis.
KALTBLUT: When came the moment “I need to photograph this”?
Ferry: Now I can see in retrospective it was always there in someway or another, I just took a very lone road leading to it, not to say thats a bad thing, it all have lead to where I am now.
KALTBLUT: Where do you get your inspiration from?
Ferry: Really from all things around me, but if I notice something specific a few times in a period of time I follow that feeling and work it out, but of course it all started with my all-time idols Andy Warhol, Jean Cocteau and Robert Mapplethorpe to name just a few.
KALTBLUT: Do you want to show something specific with your picture’s?
Ferry: Always a pleasure to read back what people see in my work but it just all started to show the beauty of natural men, not forced to shave their body hair by silly girlfriends or society. But then was struck by the neccesety to show and beauty of it, so I continued shooting which after a few years led to an exhibition at The Ravenstijn Gallery in Amsterdam and later at Hotel Jules et Jim in Paris.
KALTBLUT: You started with dancers, because they’re used to using their body. Where did you find your boys?
Ferry: First I have started with models and friends but when I was asked to shoot a dancer and mostly his brilliant body parts I was intrigued by a dancers physique and mentality so I was eager to shoot more, not so easy in the beginning cause they are very strict and busy but once the first one was shot more followed, I guess they also talk to each other about it and once they know it not so scary and serve tea and cookies.
KALTBLUT: After the dancers, you got in touch with Select models, did you notice any difference between the dancers and the models?
Ferry: From the years I was a hair and makeup artist I’m used to be around models so I know even they are very beautiful they’ve also their insecurities etc but we as the viewer don’t want to to know because they have that incredible beauty but they really feel just like the rest of us and not to forget: they only see us and we see them on the set, such a different view. So, its different but its a good difference, I like both in different ways.
KALTBLUT: How is your connection with the boys?
Ferry: Most of the time there is a very good connection quite fast with the models I shoot, lot of fun and easy going so they feel comfortable and just be as they are. With dancers and nude men is a bit different, usually there is a longer period of time to get them convinced and reassured etc but its all clear what is needed and expected from them so it immediately great.
KALTBLUT: What was the greatest moment you experienced during your work?
Ferry: Hmm I have to say when I travelled to Paris to shoot Arthur Gillet, we met and connected instantly, shot the next day at his Marais appartment and it was magical, he has such a beautiful mix of features and combines stunning beauty, a god-like alabaster body with oozing sexuality but also a pure innocence and openness, its just irresistible, he is my Parisian bunny boy.
The very first polaroid of him will be always my first in Paris and was also the invite for the exhibition later on.
And also when a good selection of my work was framed and hanging on the the wall for the exhibition I could see the beauty and the severeness of it and that was a good feeling and made me realize I really am a photographer.
KALTBLUT: What is your favourite thing to do? Making editorials for magazine’s or being busy with your own project?
Ferry: Sometimes I wish to experience some guidelines and boundaries from a magazine but as I go along with the production I quite strongly follow my own instinct in what I find interesting or beautiful in the model or shape so it tend to go my own way which doesn’t always go well with Magazine editors. So its perhaps better just to try and get my own projects published.
KALTBLUT: Have you ever been to Berlin? Did you notice any difference between the photographing scene here and in Amsterdam?
Ferry: Shamefully I have to admit that I have never been to Berlin but would love to stay there for some time and shoot the Berlin men there. Surely their must be some difference like in comparing Amsterdam boys to Parisian boys, there’s quite a stronger difference in confidence and even in sexuality I find.