Fashion photographer Frits Schroeder, who was born in Haarlem in 1945, hasbeen an acknowledged expert in his field for nearly 40 years. The amazing number of clients he can boast – both in the Netherlands and much further afield (such as the United States) – is proof of his expertise and the recognition his skill has brought him. But Schroeder has other feathers to his cap!
He began his career in photography where all famous photographers start out: in the master’s darkroom. In Schroeder’s case, that master was Theo Noort, who taught him the principles of photography and gave him the opportunity to train in fashion and advertising photography. Schroeder set up his own business in 1969, specialising in fashion photography.
Although Frits Schroeder always strove to be original as a photographer, he also looked with a keen photographer’s eye at the stars of the era. “In the early years I was mainly inspired by the British photographer David Bailey, Vogue’s permanent fashion photographer. American photographers such as Bruce Weber and Herb Rits also inspired me.” As the French painter Gustave Courbet put it, “Unmistakable talent isn’t afraid of being influenced.” Schroeder illustrated the truth of this wise saying in his own individual manner.
Schroeder spent his youth in Zandvoort aan Zee. He says that his love of nature was already obvious from a very young age. His daily walks across beach and dune turned the nature-lover into a keen observer. He has a large collection of his own nature and landscape photos, and nature photography is another of
The diversity of his clientele is illustrated by the famous names which appear on his list of customers. There are major advertising firms, famous Dutch department stores such as Bijenkorf, V&D, HEMA and De Bonnetterie, virtually all the newspapers and a large number of magazines. The seemingly endless list also includes industrial companies such as Henkes Senefelder, which has published a calendar of Schroeder’s work.
In Frits Schroeder’s photography career, which now spans almost forty years, there is one further area where he excels: portrait photography. Not just the creation of commissioned studio portraits – passers-by in the street also attract his photographic interest. “They needn’t be beauties as far as I’m concerned,” Frits explains. “Age-worn faces in black and white produce attractive effects.” This aspect of his talent is also demonstrated by the collections of portraits that Frits keeps.