When photographer Rob Engelaar (37) grabbed his camera bag on Tuesday morning to drive to Heeswijk-Dinther, he did not know what he would find there, but he was prepared for any situation. In that bag is everything he might need during a job. So also the excessively long telephoto lens, which Engelaar rarely uses, but which is very handy when he has to photograph through a hedge, for example.
When the client called ANP, Engelaar was already in the car. As a freelance photographer, he keeps a close eye on the news, always on the lookout for events he can capture. This morning it was the raid by the police and the Fiod on a house, which, according to Omroep Brabant, would belong to Jumbo CEO Frits van Eerd. That house turned out to be so well hidden on arrival—fence, gate, driveway, hedge—that almost every activity was invisible.
‘Big news that needs to be visualized, but is actually impossible to grasp visually’, is how Engelaar describes it over the phone. In such situations, he knows that in addition to his full bag, he must also have two other tools with him. One: The Eye, also known as The Sight – something you can develop and train during your career, but above all you should have naturally. Two: a journalistic antenna, so that you are able to predict somewhat where the action and thus the photo opportunities will be on such a morning.
Top priority on arrival: forward an image to the editors. The first pictures he took were of the police officers in the driveway and of the brick column next to the wrought iron gate, with the (half) name of the house, the bell and… ‘Did you see that piece of paper under that lean-to? That’s a post it. There’s a camera underneath. Before the officers rang the bell, they first taped off the camera, so that the residents did not see that the police were standing in front of the gate.’
Then it was a matter of walking around the house, looking for the holes in the hedge. He photographed the roof of the house sticking out of the hedge (“Yeah, that photo looks mysterious, but I didn’t do anything with it. That’s how it was.”) And he found a place where he could cut through the hedge. could photograph. Tadaa: excessively long telephoto lens.
All photos, Engelaar emphasizes for a moment, were taken from the public road. Of course he felt like a paparazzo photographer for a while with that goof of a lens, but he was still very happy with that image of police officers on the terrace of Van Eerd’s house. “Then I came very close.” Unwritten rule: do not portray people who are involved in the criminal investigation, because you could harm both those people and the investigation.
His gut told him to quickly get back to the front of the house if he wanted another shot at a photo of the Fiod with boxes and computers coming down the driveway. That moment did not come, at least: not as spectacularly as he had hoped. He was on time for officers who came through the gate with bags and garbage bags. He photographed them taking the post-it off the security camera again.
All in all, Engelaar is satisfied with the result. ‘There are nicer jobs,’ he laughs. “But everything I could have made, I made. It is precisely in this kind of, photo-technically, uninteresting situation that you have to rely on the reportage form. There is never one image that says it all. The combination is important.’ His photos together tell the story of that morning in Heeswijk-Dinther.