Shooting portraits is a ’thing’ for me lately. I have been experimenting from time to time but last week I got to do it for real! I just have a thing for a great environmental portrait and a headshot or an intimate portrait are photo’s I really love taking. I just love the concept of ‘bringing your own light’ and being abled to modify and adjust the setup at will to create an entirely different mood.

So after practicing on my wife and kids I set out to capture the instructors & friends of my Aikido Dojo for the website.

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After this I had gathered enough courage to photograph my Irish and Canadian Aikido sensei.

Henry Kono Sensei. Henry is an amazing man, born in Canada he studied Aikido under its Founder Morihei Ueshiba O’sensei at Hombu Dojo, Tokio, Japan in the 1960’s. He has a remarkable insight in the principles of aikido and has dedicated his life to share his unique way of harmony. Henry is currently 85 years old has lived a full life dedicated to over 40 years of martial arts practice and his eyes and face tell the story of his life long quest for balance.


John Meldrum Sensei. John is a wonderful teacher and friend. He has been practicing Aikido for over 25 years. His face although always laughing and full of joy was inviting me to try to capture the man behind all of this. Serious but witty. Friendly and strong.


Then for some more practice a selfie.


And last week I got an assignment for a couple of environmental business portraits. one of then was at the Binnenhof, The Hague. Where the Dutch Parliament houses. In the back you can see the Ridderzaal a special wish of the person in the portrait.

Ad Toet - KNV

1 comment

  1. Comment by Patrick McKern

    Patrick McKern Reply 10 juli 2019 at 03:07

    Hi Martijn,

    Nice work! I happened across this as I was looking to see what one might find about John Meldrum on the internet these days. My wife and I practiced aikido with John and the gang in the 1997-98 school year at UCC in Cork, going to the weekend workshops and mellowing out in the pub after evening sessions. Best part of our social life that year.

    I wasn’t expecting to find such excellent portraiture when I googled John, most of what you see being the awful snapshots people take at the workshops. It really is lovely stuff, and John really is an interesting character. At first I felt like the tone felt a little cold and dark for what I remember of him, but along with the humor, friendship, and peaceful spirit, there was always the toughness and the awareness of danger. Funny, that I have to make an effort to recall that, given that my early impressions of him were of a sailor, a boxer, a tough horseman (he did tell mention punching the horses when it seemed necessary, and I believe something about working as a bouncer, and about picking nettles barehanded with those leather mitts he has for hands. And I remember his encouragement to use our legs to escape danger rather than rely on martial arts skills to face it, and the pressure point on my shin that he’d put his thumb on if I spent too much time standing and thinking after putting him down on the mat during an exercise.

    He’s a wonderful guy, and if you are still in touch with him, I’d love it if you told him Pat and Renee say hello from Seattle.

    And once again, my compliments on your work. It’s the kind of thing for which I often wish I had more time and better gear, so that I might work my way up to that level of skill.

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