15 Questions With… Sander Coers

How are you at the moment?

I’m doing great. It’s raining here right now, but I’m taking a vacation to Spain next week. So, I’m really looking forward to seeing some sun, eating good food and swimming in the Mediterranean sea.

What is your morning ritual? How does your day begin?

I wake up, roll over and give my girlfriend a kiss. Then I walk downstairs, make some coffee and put on some music. Sometimes, when it’s nice out, I drink my coffee on our roof terrace and sit in the sun for a while. After my coffee (or two) I take a shower and get ready for the day.

What, right now, can you see?

I’m at my table in the living room and sitting in front of me is my laptop, a plate with tomato soup and a vase with flowers. I was planning on going outside later, but today is quite grey and uninspiring so I’ll just stay inside and watch a movie.

What artist, project, book would you recommend we see/follow?

I’ve recently discovered the work of Bowei Yang, a photographer from Beijing / London. His project If Spring Could Feel Ache was featured in the latest issue of Foam Talent and has an elusive and mysterious beauty to it. I love how he uses analogue techniques to tell a story.

Tell us about your process when starting a new project

Every project begins with an image I see in my mind. That image could be something I’ve seen in a dream or it could be a particular memory or feeling I’ve experienced. It’s always something I need to unravel or discover. Something I must explore. Then I’ll start making photos to try and recreate or distort that memory. Over time the project begins to take shape and it becomes clear what my focus is.

What has been your favourite collaboration?

My girlfriend Vera is my biggest source of inspiration and is probably the person I’ve photographed the most. Working with her has allowed me to grow as a person and as an artist. We’ve been together since the first year of art school and photographing her feels so powerful and true.

What is your greatest achievement?

A week ago I was selected for Best of Graduates 2021 by Galerie Ron Mandos in Amsterdam. To see the culmination of four years of my life at the Academy in a big gallery is such an honour and a big opportunity to show my work to the world.

What is your greatest regret?

I always regretted dropping out of two studies and essentially wasting two years of my life, but doing so has led me here and I’m super happy with where I am in life. So honestly, I don’t have any regrets right now.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t spend your money on useless things.

What is your latest project about?

My most recent project is my graduation work Come Home, a visual study of the masculine lovescape. Through intimate portraits, sun-drenched stills, photos of flowers and sultry details I explore the way young men experience intimacy and express love. As a means of achieving self-acceptance and coming to terms with my own emotions, I’ve followed a group of twenty-something year old men over the course of 2020 and asked them what the search for love and intimacy means to them. 

What are you researching at the moment?

I’m still in the preliminary phase, but I’m starting a project on heritage and what role the place that you grew up plays in your life. Collecting memories and childhood stories from friends and strangers, I want to visualise those memories to get a better understanding of how my own experiences from my childhood have shaped me.

What can you not work without?

The sun.

What challenges have you faced working in your industry?

I feel as though it’s difficult to do new things once people get to know you for what you’ve done. Even though it’s essential to evolve and to grow, it can be quite scary sometimes.

What are you hoping for in 2021?

That the world doesn’t perish.

Share a song with us, what are you listening to at the moment?

I’ve been listening to an album by the Armenian artist Djivan Gasparyan, I Will Not Be Sad In This World, which makes you feel like you’re sitting on a rooftop in Morocco at night with a cool desert breeze flowing through your hair.