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Parkour: Urban Exploring

by David Vercammen |

DEW is made for the urban dweller. We represent the refined rebel, thestylish functionalist and the urban driven nature lover. We got to interview parkour specialist Simeon Van der Hoeven. 

 

What is your hobby? Tell us a bit more about that.

Starting off with a hard question! I usually don’t keep myself occupied with just one thing. Learning new skills is probably the biggest hobby I have! Some mentionable activities that stuck around throughout the years are photography, parkour and urban exploring.

How did you get into it?

The first interest set off a cascade of interests on the side: I first started doing parkour about 5 years ago. When I was younger I had been competing in trampoline jumping until the moment I got a knee injury. After that, the passion and trust was just gone. Around that time I started experimenting with parkour-influenced movements on my free time in the gym.

It didn’t take me very long to realize that I was enjoying the freedom and the process of learning each movement a lot! It was only from the first time that I met people that actually trained outdoors in the streets of Antwerp that it all changed for me! I rapidly started training outdoors on a daily basis pushing my mental and physical limits. Parkour just had that perfect combined factors of freedom, self-development, creativity and philosophy that most other sports I tried didn’t have and I was making fast improvements. On the side I bought myself a camera to record and that’s how I started taking photos. On the side of parkour I also started exploring the urban environment for different photo opportunities.

What are your hardest movements?

This is a hard question to answer since every outdoor situation demands different approaches and movements. The same type of movement can therefore take on completely different forms or goals depending on the situation. Most of the times we talk about “challenges”: a specific iconic movement on a specific spot in the city. I managed to tick most of them off in Antwerp and also set some new ones. The beauty is that you help push the level forward and everyone is motivated to improve.

What are your biggest fails?

It is important to say that most of my accidents weren’t parkour-related at all. When I’m focused and controlled, things rarely go completely wrong. My worst fail was probably when I hit my shin during warm-up, resulting in a big gaping hole and 7 stitches.

You practice this in different cities? Do you have a top 5? Why?

I think every city has unique opportunities and the biggest and best places often don’t make you most creative. The more you travel and train in other places, the more you also realize it’s about the people you encounter and not the urban structures themselves. Structures are there and present, people will always be dynamically changing and use these structures in a different way.

Some of my all-time favourites are Vienna, Hamburg, Copenhagen and Stockholm since they all share the same creative, easy-going, open vibe. I will always have a strong connection with Antwerp since I have seen most of my personal progress happen here and my closest training friends are situated there.

Which cities are you still planning on visiting? Why?

The next city on my list is Tromsø, Norway. I have always wanted the opportunity to capture the Northern Lights and hope to do so this February.

This summer I have a big trip planned through Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to experience some of the history and stories about the Cold War and capture them on photo. Highlights are Berlin, Warsaw, Chernobyl, Moscow and St. Petersburg. I aspire to complete this trip in about a month.

If you could travel without restrictions and had all funds to do so, what would you do?

I would do the exact same thing I’m doing! Travelling with just the basics, staying with locals, figuring out how to get from place to place and camping on the most impossible places is for me the most true experience of travelling! Every trip is life-changing and heart-warming. It restores my faith in humanity a little bit really. I would definitely invest in my own van-converted work- and living place to go on adventures with and to invite people in! 

Your Instagram-page is filled with cool pictures. What exactly are you looking for in a shot?

I’m looking for meaning in every shot! I try to give images a certain feel, idea or concept through framing, colors, expression etc. I want to portray the situation the way I perceive and process it, therefore I think every image is a very individual expression of my perception. I think people really appreciate the authentic feeling I try to put in it.

I suppose that you need to make a selection out of all pictures you made. How do you select your images?

It’s a very complex process and sometimes images that didn’t really portray what you wanted turn out to be exactly what you wanted in the editing process or the other way around. If an image doesn’t have this feeling for me, it ends up in the trash bin. Even though other people might think it is awesome, the most important part for me is that it satisfies me. It is interesting to come back to old images once in a while and sometimes I find a certain mood that fits and can still satisfy me, but those never are my favorite shots. My favorite shots are the ones that got frame, shot, processed and intended exactly the way I wanted it, like you re-live the moment!

What gear do you use? Any mobile apps?

I’m a big Sony fanatic and I personally shoot with a second hand Sony A6000, which served me well for over a year. My two lenses (12mm and 50mm) are the only ones I always take with me. Editing happens with Adobe Lightroom and I also use the mobile application of this program.

Thank you very much Simeon! 

>>> https://www.instagram.com/simeon_flips/