Interview: The photo enthusiast who quit IBM career to become Instagram sensation
July 29, 2015
[Photo credit: Eelco Roos]
Netherlands photographer Eelco Roos is bathing in the media spotlight following coverage of his amazing story, which first emerged in an article on businessinsider.com.
Amateur Photographer (AP) caught up with the former IT specialist as he works on updating his website – which is yet to chart his fast-rising career as he’s not had time to post an online biography.
A passionate photographer since he was 16, Eelco quit his job at IBM in Amsterdam in April 2014, aged 39.
Before leaving, he managed to squeeze in some part-time commercial work for tourism agencies and brands. But juggling this with a nine-to-five job at IBM was ‘far from ideal,’ Eelco told AP.
Ditching a stable job after more than 10 years would be a scary prospect for anyone, and Eelco was no exception it seems.
‘I had some sleepless nights thinking about quitting and what that would mean for me and my family, for sure,’ he said.
‘The decision was not made lightly. I am the proud father of two boys my girlfriend and I have a mortgage, so there are loads of responsibilities.
‘After a lot of discussions with my girlfriend she eventually gave me the confidence to follow my heart and chase the dream.’
‘Typical Dutch photos of cows and cyclists’
So, what’s the secret to attracting such a vast number of Instagram followers – 453,000 at the last count?
‘I think I was lucky to be one of the first to embrace the [Instagram] app in the Netherlands. Because the Instagram audience was predominantly American in the early days, I guess my typical Dutch photos of cows and cyclists stood out, which helped me grow in the beginning.
‘After a good year or so, Instagram noticed my feed and added me to their suggested user list, which made me grow insanely fast.
For newcomers to Instagram, Eelco advises using popular hashtags because this is ‘usually a good way to get your work out there for others to see’.
Asked to share advice for anyone else thinking of making such move, Eelco stressed that his photography career had already taken off before he left IBM.
‘It got to a point where I had to buy vacation time to be able to travel for commissions. This was pretty stressful on my family – a nine-to-five [job], plus a lot of travel for my photography.’
Eelco (pictured below) added: ‘For anyone contemplating a similar move, if you feel you have a future in your field, go for it!
‘Make a plan on how you want to reach certain goals and work for it, hard.
‘Something that kept popping up in my mind during the decision-making process was, “am I going to regret not doing this later on in life?”
‘I came to the conclusion that I’d rather jump in head-first and fail miserably than regret not even trying.’
‘On Instagram it’s 99% iPhone, but I do shoot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III mostly for clients. I use a 24mm f/1.4L II for landscapes and a 24-70mm f/2.8L II during my travels. And Samsung sent me a mirrorless NX1 to play with, which I have grown to love. I also have some analogue cameras from years back I still use once in a while.’
To view Eelco’s work on Instagram visit http://croyable.com
You can also follow him on Twitter at @eelcoroos
[All photo credits: Eelco Roos]