Jan Stel (Purmerend, The Netherlands, 1970) started realistic drawing and to illustrate at a young age. He also experimented with traditional calligraphy. Stel pioneered with full color and realistic graffiti or street-art murals, ahead of his time, by regularly using no outlines and allowing the colors to blend into each other in an airbrush-like way. He also made drawings and oil-paintings inspired by the old masters of yore. This is where it is originated: the expression of realism transformed into his own unique photography style. Stel is always committed to creative processes and has worked with many different art materials, where photography is his core essence.
Jan Stel is known for having a sharp eye in identifying subtleties in composition, details and tone, the use of sight lines, vanishing points, perspective and overall composition. Stel pays close attention for the right moment to capture the magic play of light and shadow. He believes that the integrity of his shots is found in the pure and intriguing richness of natural light.
“Just before sunrise and sunset, the light is at its most beautiful. There is something magical about this short period of time. The cinematic feeling of industrial locations is what I capture. Their natural surroundings is where my eyes focus on. Photography for me is about to capture the magic moments of light, shadow and emotions." - Jan Stel"
ABANDONED PLACES Around 1998 he became fascinated by lost glory and started to capture abandoned places on negatives and slides. The intriguing photographs reflect the history of manmade created structures. Where today, the absence of people and lost craftsmanship play a prominent role, with his photography he brings them to light once again. In color and black/white. Many of the photographed locations are demolished or have found a new purpose as a museum or reconstruction into new work and living places. The abandoned places theme, "Manmade / no human" is bound in an exclusive book. Which is sold out. And in 2019 the theme was presented as a oeuvre solo exhibition in Museum aan het Vrijthof, Maastricht - NL.
INDUSTRIAL LANDSCAPES With the "Industrial landscapes" Stel only works in black-and-white. The stillness through the use of b&w photography provides an excellent balance in the rather busy environmental areas of the industry and our natural landscapes, I search for the expression between abstraction and reality, between the (no)human and the natural.