Tom van der Leij (Amsterdam, 1975) is a Dutch photographer who has traveled over hundred countries in the last 15 years, collecting pictures of all kinds of people, with diverse ethnic characteristics, religions, social conditions, habits, values, believes and social and natural environments. The most important element in his portrait work is the human kind. By shooting persons during their daily life and doing their daily activities, we can reflect ourselves and think about many of our habits, attitudes and ideas from a different perspective, with a global mind. We can ask ourselves about our environment and activities, by seeing how different they are in other parts of the world. This makes his work extremely important in a multinational world.
The human and personal approach of Van der Leij’s pictures stand out. He knows how to capture the image in a natural way by getting an instant relation with the subject. He has a gift in letting things happen and be able to photograph that moment. Genuine, real and action are the keywords he describes his way of photography.
In times of extremely manipulated images and when we get used to see pictures of unreal landscapes, Vander Leij's photography turns out to be very special because of being natural and reflecting items which are impossible to replace and modify with editing techniques, as the beauty of humanity and the diversity implied by the stunning diversity of our planet.
Due to his work as a photographer and travel editor for well known newspapers, travel magazines, travel books and for NGO’s, Tom traveled the most remote areas in the planet with a photography purpose. Among them are the most remote places on earth. From the tropical rain forest of New Guinea, Colombia and Gabon, to the inlands of Madagascar, to the deserts of Niger, Peru and Libya and the glaciers of Norway, Alaska and Patagonia. He was also hired for important and specific events in some of the main cities in the world. This makes his photo stock not only very big in quantity and quality but also relevant because of its diversity.
Part of his work was displayed in diverse national and international, individual and collective exhibitions and also awarded because of its originality and quality.