A keen eye into imagination
It takes more than a keen eye and well-trained craft to stand out amongst the vast array of gifted photographers the world has on offer. A unique sense of imagination. A willingness to dip into unknown territories of the mind. An experienced view upon both the realistic worlds we live in and the colourful surrealistic universebeyond. A drop of humour, perhaps. And style and guts.
All of this is exactly what Jean Van Cleemput has been displaying during almost four decades since he graduated as a photography student in his hometown of Antwerp, Belgium. Launching his career as a much solicited magazine and fashion photographer Van Cleemput – an art and music lover – soon sensed the world has much more to offer both himself and his passion and started poking borders. Literally, with a string of well acclaimed shoots for international clients that led him across the globe and thoroughly expanded his vision and ideas. But also on a personal level, liberating himself from any restraining limiting mind caps and gently forcing him to dwell into new realms.
It's the latter, ever ongoing quest for new visual flavours and professional challenges that spawned his first of many photography books, Beluga in 2004. Van Cleemput's endeavour to blend seafood with a range of beautiful nude models in a surrealistic, mind boggling setting of kitsch with a gentle touch of humour. It gained him raving reviews across the globe and paved the way for more.
While exploring new grounds to plant his proverbial flag Van Cleemput was drafted as one of the leading names in worldwide nude photography international publishers Goliath and Taschen, enabling him to share a taste of his unique vision and craft in bestselling works My Favorite Model (Goliath, 2007) and The New Erotic Photography (Taschen, 2007).
Next was a fresh and very ambitious individual project: Diana, Goddess of the Hunt, a bold venture into another new and exciting thematic area. Together with a Michelin starred chef Van Cleemput created a unique high end coffee table book in which both artists succeed to pair the unpairable: haute cuisine, taxidermy, erotic nude photography, Roman mythology and surrealism. You have to see it to believe it.
Merely a year after publishing this astonishing work of art, Diana, Goddess of the Hunt won the exclusive prize of Best Cookbook Design at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2009, Van Cleemput was invited to be part of the Mirrors of the Magic Muse expo in Monte Carlo, Monaco and featured on Spanish television. Talking about crossing borders. That same year a selection of his pictures were also included in Benelux culinary compilation Heet (Minestrone, 2010), as well as in the humongous erotic photography release Super Sex Plosion (Goliath, 2012) two years later.
To this day, Jean Van Cleemput continues to defy his own artistic limits and those of the illuminating world of photography and visual design.