John Been was born in 1970 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. For the last 8 years he has lived in Hoorn, a nice little city founded in the year 716, in the north of the Netherlands, situated nearby the largest lake in Holland, the IJsselmeer. There he lives with his wife Tonja and their cat Missy.
To counterbalance his hectic daytime job, John uses a lot of his spare time to explore his creative side, which gives him some peace of mind. At about 10 years old he became, partly due to his grandfather, very interested in photography. John has always been creative, pursuing hobbies such as drawing and painting, but the camera and all its possibilities have the largest attraction creatively.
John is a self-taught landscape photographer who is passionate about combining the outdoors with his lifetime devotion to fine art photography. Residing in the Netherlands, not blessed with a “backyard” with mountains, valleys, waterfalls and wild streams, has ensured that he has become skilled in finding the natural beauty of often small, undervalued areas, often overlooked by others. His goal is to make grand landscapes out of small ones.
His line of approach is to get very familiar with a location by returning there over and over again. He is often asked why he keeps coming back to the same places and why this doesn’t bore him. But by doing this at different moments of the day in different seasons, John becomes able to see the effect of the constant changing light on a landscape. This information determines where he will be and on what moment to try to capture the perfect light.
John admires the work of people like Joe Cornish, Hans Strand, Di Fruscia and Joseph Rossbach, but most of all he is inspired by the work and the approach of Ben Horne, a large format photographer who scouts American National parks in solitude for days and shoots only one or two photographs a day. His amazing video blog shows that it is never about quantity but about quality and that scouting is the key to an appealing end result.
John’s gear consists of both Canon 5d MkII and Fiji X-Pro1 based systems. He uses soft grad, hard grad, polarizer and full neutral density filters and measures the light with a Sekonic L-558 spot-meter. The Photographer’s Ephemeris app helps to familiarize with unknown landscapes and the effect of the light before even going there for the first time.