“I did not even know it was a competition”, says Rich Theemling, a Media and Business master student, humble. He won this year’s Histartes EXPO which was themed ‘future is yours’ with his outstanding photography work.

“Winning feels really good. I have not entered any contests so this is the first time my work has won me a prize!” says Theemling excitingly. The work of almost 20 students was exposed in the L-building from May 20th till May 23rd. A range of different artistic interpretations of the ‘future is yours’ theme was exhibited in three different categories: 2D, series and photography.

Jury and prizes

The professional jury was made up of Rogier Maaskant, who is a teacher at the Willem de Koning Academy as well as a professional photographer, and Annick Woldring, a representative from the international hostel ROOM in Rotterdam. They chose Theemling as the jury prize winner. Theemling takes home a gift voucher from the art store Harolds and he may decorate a room in the hostel ROOM with his art work.

Theemling already has some ideas for the room. “I either want to go with a Rotterdam-theme or a Dutch windmill/countryside-themed room. But I still need to visit the hostel and meet with the owners so I can get a feel for the hostel’s overall atmosphere and learn about the owners’ interests.  From there I will know which direction I should take”, highlights Rich.

Combining passion and student life

Photography plays a huge role in Theemling’s life. “I am very much into creating and expressing myself through visual content.  Unfortunately, I have never been very good at some of the more traditional art forms”, says Rich, “photography is the medium that I am good at and I have developed an intense passion for it.” As a graduate student, Theemling is rather busy but combining studying with a passion is possible. “When I’m not studying or working on a university project, I am either planning or working on my next photo-series”, says Theemling.

Love for The Netherlands reflected in photo’s

Especially Theemling’s love for The Netherlands plays a significant role in his photography which was reflected in his submitted images, one was an image of the Rijksmuseum during twilight, another one was a night shot of Amsterdam, and the other two were of the windmills at Kinderdijk.

Theemling takes his passion for photography serious and not only has a Holland Photography Facebook page but recently also launched the Holland Photography website. These two platforms were created as a result of his love and passion for both The Netherlands and photography. “I would definitely say that photography and these two platforms consume my life. It is what I love to do and I am thrilled that I can share my work with others”, explains Theemling.

Everybody wins

“Histartes EXPO was not solely initiated to be a competition”, explains Annika van Putten, International Relations board member of Histartes. Histartes EXPO tries to make the generally grey-looking L-building look more alive. All submitted art work, unless the students want their work back, will be used to decorate the L-building. “We try to bring some color back into the building”, says van Putten. In this way, all participating students receive recognition and ‘win’. NdB