hl next level 2018: fashion photographer aart verrips

Trevor Stuurman
Starting out as a chef, then moving to Johannesburg and discovering a passion for fashion photography, Aart Verrips's new place behind the lens has given birth to a body of work that is clean and soulful. He counts his collaboration with Thebe Magugu as a career highlights, and has some moving images on his website that are otherworldly. His personal Instagram account of mostly self-portraits is also one of our all-time favourites.

did you always want to be doing what you’re doing now?

Well from a young age I always found myself in the kitchen and that was my first love, and I thought I would do that for my whole life, but as I grew up and worked in the hospitality industry I realised quickly that it might not be the place for me. And that’s why I’m now on the creative stills side, which I think is my true love.

do you have particular favourites among the works you’ve created?

For me there are a few projects that are close and dear to my heart as I think they have also been some of the pinnacle points in my career. I always boast about new work that I really love.

what’s been your defining career moment to date?

For me I think there has been a few, but if I need to just point to two of them I would have to say that last year I had the great opportunity to collaborate with Thebe Magugu, celebrating women and making his vision come to life. Plus it ended up being featured in Vogue Italia, one of my favourite magazines and a place where every photographer aspires to see their work. Then I also had the opportunity to be part of an exhibition in London in October 2017 – it was part of a group exhibition called Human Stories.

are there any artists or creatives you look up to?

I’m obsessed with a London-based photographer called Alessio Bolzoni; his style of shoot is amazing and his imagery is mind-blowing – effortless but yet so striking. And then there is my dear friend Kristen Lee Moolman, for whom I have a great amount of respect. She inspires me every day to push myself and my art.

what is your earliest visual memory?

I think I fell in love with visuals when I lived in France as everything there is just so beautiful; every moment in that sense for me was as they say a Kodak moment.

which single place would you recommend people visit, and why?

This might be corny in a sense and I know everyone says this but the only place on this planet I just adore is Manhattan, New York, as the vibe and culture for me there is just so alive, and it’s called the city that never sleeps for a reason. I love the small restaurants in the East Village not to mention Central Park and the number of amazing museums they have is insane. Every time I travel there I just fall more in love with the city. Just something about the aura and the creativity in the air there captures my mind.

Learn all about the game changers who are taking things to the Next Level in our #HLNEXTLEVEL2018  issue.