Ron Van Dongen

Early Life

  • Ron Van Dongen
  • Born in 1961 in Venezuela.
  • Raised in the Holland.
  • He is currently resided in Portland, Oregon.

Education

  • When Ron was younger, he didn't have much interest in photography.
  • When he wasn't studying, he was in his family's green house.
  • His family's house was located in the middle of a tulip field.
  • He attended a private college in Chicago where he studied liberal arts.
  • He studied at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco.
  • His visual aspect of his life was very important to him.
  • He ended up going back to Holland to study and get his degree in biology and public health.

Interest in Photography

  • In college, Ron took a black and white photography class for fun.
  • He realized it was very interesting.
  • Photography became only a hobby.
  • He now grows his own flowers that he photographs.
  • While taking the class he said to himself, "Wow this is really interesting, and there's much more to it than I had ever imagined it to be."

Style/Trademark

  • Close-up, intimate pictures of flowers.
  • Black and white photographs.
  • Color photographs against a painted background to control light and tonality.

Fame

  • In the year 2008, Ron gave an exhibit of images in Portland's Garden to Gallery.
  • Ron was awarded The Pierre-Joseph Redoute Prize for the French version of his book The Tulip Anthology in 2010.
  • In 2011, Ron's photos were featured in Foto Art Festival in Poland and Williamette Week's Richard Speer reviewed Ron's exhibit.

What Ron Says About His Work

"I don’t really look at other photographers. Of course, we all know Karl Blossfeldt and Robert Mapplethorpe, the classics, but I have not studied their work consciously or deliberately. I really feel that my main focus is the fact that I have a different relationship with the plants because I’ve literally grown up with them. Not to say that I am a botanist or landscape architect, and my scientific knowledge of the plant world is limited. But just my everyday experience with the plants is very extensive, and I think the images are a result of that experience."

-Quoted from an interview in 2009


"I feel proud of the fact that I’ve been able to have this consistent career. I have never been someone who’s hoped for big highlights or star appeal or fame or anything like that. I like a quiet existence, and I’m extremely fortunate that I’ve been able to do this 100%. I have very loyal customers, clients, and galleries — and that’s all I can hope for. I have no big name I can put on my resume, maybe other than one of my biggest clients is Ralph Lauren — they’ve been very supportive and loyal to me. They buy the original work, which I think is pretty unusual. "

-Quoted from the same interview in 2009

What Other People Say About Ron's Work

"Ron's photographs are portraits; plants and flowers his subjects. After nurturing them from seed or spore they pose for Ron's lens when he deems the moment right. The results are a deeply personal intimate recording of architecture, life, frailty, resolve, emotion and sensuality."

-Quoted by Ralph Lauren

What I Appreciate About Ron and His Work

  • I appreciate that Ron didn't even start out knowing about photography and after he took one class, he realized that it was a lot more fun than he suspected.
  • I also appreciate that he didn't grow up as a totally known person, but his photos have impacted many people and he has many loyal customers like Ralph Lauren.