We are glad to welcome our first artist in residence at Haven. Two months from now on we will have the honour to take you on a walk through his art and thoughts, accompanied by personally picked tunes. We are very curious on which paths he is going to take us, but first let’s get a quick view of the person behind the lens. We are proudly introducing to you: Fabrice Van Besien.
Fabrice is a 25-year-old Belgian photographer from De Haan. He spends his working days as a trained chef and barista in Gent. 3 years ago he got into surf photography, of which he will be sharing some work with you. Other spare time he likes to spend surfing, climbing and hiking. Smells adventurous, let’s hear him out.
We are glad to welcome you at Haven. In the coming months you will present to us a selection of your photographs. When you started three years ago, was photography relatively new to you or have you been behind the lens for longer?
I was always into photography. When I was younger, I started trying out my dad’s 40 years old analog camera. Later I started experimenting with Polaroids, but I didn’t take it to the next level until 3 years ago.
What gear are you using? I took a look at the photos on your Instagram page and I can see many different approaches. Is there a setup you are most comfortable with?
I use the canon 7D with an EFS 35mm F/2.8 macro lens. This is also my favourite setup. For water shots I used to use the Fujifilm XT-20 16–55mm with a Meikon underwater housing but I have some new gear that I will be testing for future projects. Last but not least I use the DJI Mavic Pro for drone shots.
Of course, we will be focussing on surf photography. Has this always been the main subject you felt yourself drawn to with your lens?
I started taking pictures from everything in the nature and the sea, of my friends skating, food, just things I like.
What made you decide to share your passion through your art, what feeling do you want to bring to people?
I think every photographer wants the WAW-factor but I like people to recognize the moments in my pictures.
Photography was never my main purpose in life, but I do hope I can work with passionate people in the future and be part of cool projects. That would be my goal in photography.
Your working life is also about creating and sharing. We all love food and good coffee. What part of being a trained barista and chef attracted you the most?
The best part is working with all the fresh beautiful products, creating flavours and making people happy with my food and coffee. The work is amazing.
Carte blanche! What do you serve us?
It’s hard to choose one thing but at the moment I would serve you soba noodles with a secret Asian sauce we made, soy eggs, freshly pickled vegetables and fermented red cabbage.
So, let’s talk about the water. Surfing being part of your life, we are curious where this started for you. You grew up by the sea, tell us if there was a surfing community you grew up in - whether it was very present in your life or when you got really into surfing.
It started by renting a surfboard from the surf club when I was 15. A few months later I got my first surfboard and from that moment, I was hooked. I started competing and when I got fourth place in the BK longboarding, surfing became a big part of my life. When I ended up getting the sixth place on the Euro Junior longboard competition in 2012, I started to get sponsors and results.
I grew up in between surf communities. I was always surfing with the older guys from other spots but at the same time I went training with my friends who were part of the Young Guns surf team at the surf club.
Does surfing your home breaks satisfy you or are you often dreaming about perfect long waves somewhere else?
The best feeling is to see clean conditions at your home spot. I love surfing here in Belgium, but like al surfers I’m always dreaming about the perfect wave. It is a dream for me to go surfing in Iceland and Norway.
So far, my favourite spots surfed are Uluwatu in Indonesia, Ponta Ruiva in Portugal and ‘t Ooster in Oostende.
I did hear something about your preference for longboarding. What boards do you ride? Do you have a favourite size and shape?
At this moment I ride a 9’6 single fin with pintail from Brainfloss Surfboards that we designed. When it is getting bigger, I ride a 7’0 single fin shortboard. For my favourite size and shape I always say: the bigger the board, the bigger the fun.