Olaf Blecker

Posted on: February 15th, 2008 by: Zack Seckler

Written by T.K. Dalton
Edited by Jesi Khadivi
Diagrams by Gil Andrei Fontimayor
Final image

Olaf Blecker has antennae, but don’t think that makes him special. “I think everybody has these antennas. In German you would say, menschdenken, which is the knowledge of man.” He uses his powers to take breathtaking portraits for commercial shoots for AOL and Sony, among others. His editorial work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Details and Wired. Countless actors and models have found themselves opposite his lens.

Like Richard Avedon, Blecker appreciates the candid snapshot but believes that portraiture must have higher standards “[it’s] much more interesting if people are aware that they are being photographed”. The young Berliner is developing a reputation, and not just from his images. “Some people say I’m not nice,” he says. “I don’t want to be nice. I was told that everyone was talking about who they would want to be photographed by at my agency in New York. One person instantly said, ‘Not by Olaf Blecker’. I think that’s quite funny. I don’t take it personally. I am good at making people more intense, but I’m not good [at] making them look beautiful.” Blecker is a perfect match for Phillip Roth, the subject of our featured image, whose Zuckerman saga hurt a few feelings in its day.
This gorgeous, calm image photographed five years ago emerged from a shoot fraught with logistical snags. “It was a mess,” BleckerOverhead view of lighting admits. It was also his first work in the U.S., and both the crew and the equipment were radically different for the young photographer. Blecker was shooting with Profoto lighting equipment for the first time and had to deal with assistants that needed constant direction from him – difficult for a photographer who was used to lighting everything himself. Despite the loss in translation Blecker managed to finish the shoot outside the office of Roth’s press manager and wrapped in 30 minutes. He shot on chrome film using a Mamiya RZ Pro 2 with a 100mm lens. The exposure was f/22 at 250th of a second. He used two Profoto strobes, one equipped with a magnum reflector and Lee white diffusion and the other aimed through a translucent umbrella. In post Blecker started out in Photoshop by increasing the contrast of the image, followed by desaturation, then he lightened up the highlights and darkened the midtones and finally removed any blemishes and unevenness in skin tone. This image captured the essence of a powerful man, he says, and is the sort of thing his stateside clients covet. “American magazines know exactly what they want. They Side view of lightingwant you to create an image that follows their own ideas about the person. It becomes less of a portrait and more about illustrating,” he says. “You’re making the clients ideas and opinions about the subject legible.”

People like how Blecker shoots skin, but perhaps that’s because of his constant search for what’s beneath it in his subjects. Disdainful of makeup and soft boxes, he says all his apparent stubbornness is based on a philosophy that is about the true character of his subjects. This doesn’t win him many friends though. “Many people don’t like themselves in my images. I admit, I wouldn’t like to see myself like that.”

Blecker was interviewed by our Editor Zack Seckler about his career and his craft:

F STOP: We’re featuring an image of Philip Roth you took. Tell me what the assignment was and how you approached it.

Blecker: The image was shot for .23 magazine in Switzerland. When I got this assignment I didn’t know who Philip Roth. I heard much later that he’s one of the most important living writers from the US. The image was shot very early in my career and was the first time I traveled to the US to shoot. It was challenging at the time because I liked to work with my group of assistants and regular lighting set up. It was my first time using Profoto lighting. I didn’t like the idea of changing my routine because I feared that things could slip through my fingers. Luckily they didn’t. Still, it was difficult because they used completely different equipment than in Europe. I had a good assistant, but the guy was always screaming, ‘What do you want? Just tell me what you want!’ The shoot was a mess because I didn’t understand the different flash equipment. Also, it was the beginning of my career and I was used to setting up the lighting by myself. It helped me see and understand what I was doing.

F STOP: So what is it like to work with assistants in Germany?

Blecker: Well, the Roth shoot was five year ago. Now I work the same way in Germany and America. Because the shoot was so early in my career I needed to light myself and see what the modeling light was doing. It helped a lot. Now I explain to my assistants what I want them to do. If they worked with me before I remind them of past shoots.

F STOP: What was it like working with Phillip Roth?

Blecker: He was really easy. But it’s different to shoot celebrities in America. In Germany some of the people do not really understand that this is a job. They try to be a little more posh in Germany. They try to act cool. In America celebrities are nice people who understand that it’s their job to make everybody like them.

F STOP: So it’s easier to shoot celebrities in the States?

Blecker: Yes, Absolutely. The scene isn’t as professional in Germany. In America everyone has a PR person and a publicist, which is not as common here in Germany. In Germany you could shoot really important people and none of the actors would know your portfolio. My experience in America is that they have already seen your work and approved of you as a photographer.

F STOP: What kind of retouching was done on the Roth portrait?

Blecker: It was shot in chrome – the best thing for me is to have the chrome and the light table. If it’s just right, not too dark or light, then it’s like beautiful. If you scan the chrome there always need to be gradation and some light color corrections. Saturation will pop when I increase the contrast; orange and red tones will come out a little more intensely. Then I reduce it to a point where I think it looks interesting.

F STOP: How did you get into photography?

Blecker: I went to an after school program once a week when I was about thirteen. I was fascinated even by doing pictograms. There is something so mysterious about the darkroom; I fell in love with photography. Unfortunately, hobbies were not supported by my family. I started shooting pictures for a musician friend when I was seventeen. He wanted to be a pop star and made tapes every month. I borrowed a camera and equipment for the lab and shot his covers for him. At this point it clicked that photography was something I wanted to be doing professionally.

F STOP: What attracted you to portraiture specifically?An image from Blecker’s portfolio

Blecker: It’s what I am best at.

F STOP: Do you direct your subjects a lot? Do you give specific directions or allow for more improvisation.

Blecker: It depends. My photo of the German foreign minister was one of my most important shots in the last few years. Pressure can make things interesting. The foreign minister it took about three minutes. It was a big day for him, so the whole thing could have been cancelled. I didn’t talk; I took him as he came. My work was more subtle a few years ago. Five years ago I would have said that my job is to do the best lighting that I can and the rest needs come from the camera. I was not doing so much advertising then. The foreign minister was a powerful image. Advertisers want to have that kind of feeling in their images, but if I book a professional model and take him as he is I won’t get the same result. When I shoot portraiture I prefer to talk with my subjects, usually quietly, and take them as they are. For advertising you often need to push a lot to make something happen in front of the camera.

F STOP: Is the level of direction you give dependent on whether it’s editorial or advertising?

Blecker: Yes. The question is whether my client wants a portrait or a life size image. You could say it’s between editorial and advertising. American magazines know exactly what they want. They want you to create an image that follows their own ideas about the person. It becomes less of a portrait and more about illustrating. You’re making the clients ideas and opinions about the subject legible. Of course, when you shoot someone like Philip Roth, it’s a portrait. It’s much more interesting to see what happens if you just let a person be.

F STOP: Do you ever sit your subject sit down and say, ‘Do whatever you want’ and start shooting?

Blecker: No, it’s not the way that I work. I just do it. The person is sitting there and I have a light meter in front of their face. I like the idea of taking the talent by surprise. They don’t always know that it’s the real shot.

F STOP: Your images range from people crying and laughing to making really goofy faces. How do you get your subjects to emote in front of the camera?

Blecker: Most of the time those images are advertising or editorial. Sometimes I make a fool out of myself because I show them how I want them to do it. I ask them to imitate me; It’s the easiest way for me to get the images that I want. I always shoot actors in New York, I never shoot professional models in the US. In America you show the layout, explain what you would like to see and direct very slightly. In Germany the budgets are really small and I mostly shoot semi-professional models. You can’t just say, ‘Okay, cry.’ It will be terrible. It’s difficult to work here. I found my personal technique by pushing models in Germany to reproduce what they saw in my face. Sometimes it looks quite funny.

F STOP: When they’re crying in front of the camera you’re crying behind the camera.

Blecker: I’m just trying to push them, you know. Some people are quite shy and it’s difficult for a semi-professional model who only does a shoot every three to six months.

F STOP: How long do you usually have your subjects for? What’s the range? How long does it take you to get a good frame?

Blecker: It can be very quick. I try different things when I’m shooting to figure out what is best, I just try as many things that I can do. If I have one hour, then I’ll use one hour. I prefer when I shoot celebrities to have about twenty to thirty minutes, so I have the option to try different things. I had thirty minutes or so with Phillip Roth. With advertising you have more like two or three hours per image.An image from Blecker’s portfolio

F STOP: Do you adjust your lighting to a large degree while you’re shooting? Do you try different lighting style with a longer shoot? Or is it more about different facial expressions with the subjects? What’s changing in that three hours?

Blecker: The lighting does not change very much. The background may change. For example, I did two different shots with a house in Iran. One with the house in the background so you could see how the person was living and the other was set in front of a white bed sheet. I like using a seamless, but it can be just a blank wall in the house. The image Philip Roth was also taken just in front of a white wall in his press manager’s office. With advertising I like to figure out what the art director likes. I follow the layout and give them as much variety within the expressions they are looking for as I can.

F STOP: Tell me more about your lighting. I want to know how you came up with it and also how you modify your style to match the person’s face.

Blecker: When I first started shooting I didn’t think the images were sharp enough. At some point I was making a light test and I said, ‘OK, I want to have sharp images, so now I will never, ever shoot with less than f-stop 22’. People like how I shoot skin, but it is less about seeing every single pore and more about wanting to have a sharp image. The images are also sharpened with a reflector. The Philip Roth shoot used Profoto lights and one umbrella. I often need to clean up the skin a lot because I usually do not like to use makeup. I hate it. I had a shoot in Paris last week and it was the first time that I said to a makeup person, ‘Use as much makeup as possible.’ It was product advertising, but I wanted to make it look more like fashion. In the earlier years I needed to take the makeup off later. The makeup person is trying to do a good job, but if it’s not done perfectly you see it. Then you need to take the makeup away in retouching which is something I don’t like to do. What I want to see is eyes. I like when women wear mascara or a little bit of lip-gloss on the lips. It does depend on the subject. Obviously if I am doing a beauty campaign there needs to be make up.

F STOP: Do you have a makeup artist on site at all?

Blecker: For advertising of course there’s always makeup on the set, but they are just there to make it look pretty. I don’t want to see any powder or other products on the skin. Maybe moisturizing creams because they give a nice glow.

F STOP: Do you have a general message that you’re trying to communicate with your portraiture when you have more creative freedom? Or is it always specific to each person? You mentioned before trying to capture the person as they are.An image from Blecker’s portfolio

Blecker: There is no general message. I work as an amplifier. Often I will not know much about the person I am shooting. I have a photographer friend who does a lot of research, but I think, ‘Why should I read anything?’ I have antennas. I feel it anyway. They just have to sit there. I think everybody has these antennas. In German you would say, menschdenken, which is the knowledge of man. Some people say I’m a little bit beastly. Not evil. I think evil is too much. Some people say I’m not nice to people.
I don’t want to be nice. I was told that everyone was talking about who they would want to be photographed by at my agency in New York. One person instantly said, ‘Not by Olaf Blecker’. I think that’s quite funny. I don’t take it personally. Many people don’t like themselves in my images. I admit, I wouldn’t like to see myself like that. It’s not beautiful. I am good at making people more intense, but I’m not good into making them look beautiful. It’s not my goal to make people as beautiful as possible.

F STOP: Right. You’re trying to show them as you see them and amplify those qualities.

Blecker: That’s right.

F STOP: Is it generally a pleasant experience when you work with a subject? Do you chat with them while you shoot and try to loosen them up?

Blecker: I try to be as nice as possible when I shoot advertising work because I need to deliver. In that instance I need to make the people do what I want them to do. With editorial work I don’t think my personal opinion is that important and usually I am not working with a preconceived image in mind. It can be just as interesting not to talk at all, but it’s also interesting to talk with them. It’s kind of a trick to act like little things are very important. For instance, a man is sitting in front of you and you say, ‘Okay, sit straight, sit straight, Put your chin down a little bit, up a little bit. Look a little bit over here.’ Then the people follow because they think that this is really important. They forget to pretend and pose because they think it’s really important that they sit straight, even though I don’t care. It’s not so important that they sit straight; I just want their attention. I just want that concentration on this that we’re doing here. I like when people are aware of what they’re doing (in the studio). I read this once in an interview with Richard Avedon. He said that snapshots can be nice, but he finds it much more interesting if people are aware that they are being photographed.

F STOP: When you’re asking them to straighten up or move their chin, you really want to bring them into the action of being photographed?

Blecker: Yes. It also comes from working as a graphic designer. For five years I pushed logos and lines from there to there. Now I experiment with the graphic aspect of the image. Focusing on this helps people forget to do other things to pretend. Everybody has thousands of masks. Some people want to be sexy. They will give you their sexy face and their sexy laugh. It’s boring if people give me their own interpretation of themselves.

F STOP: The last thing I want to talk about is lighting. What lighting modifiers do you use?

Blecker: Most of the time I only use Profoto equipment. The reflectors are magnum reflectors; it’s my all time favorite with an umbrella or two. I use grids a lot. While shooting in France this month, I found it was really beautiful to use just one beauty dish with a grid inside. It was perfect. We didn’t even use something to light up the shadows. I almost never use a soft box. When I was studying and also when I started up with my own studio I thought was important to make people beautiful, so I used soft boxes. Everybody knows soft boxes make everybody look beautiful. I hated these pictures. The soft box is totally not for me.

Guy Neveling

Posted on: February 1st, 2008 by: Zack Seckler

Written by T.K. Dalton
Edited by Jesi Khadivi
Diagrams by Gil Andrei Fontimayor

Final image used in adCompared to the monkey, everything else was a cinch, says Guy Neveling, when asked about the production of our featured image, an advertisement for Volkswagen. “The monkey was all over the studio.” That is, until the time came for something rarely heard of in stateside shoots—his afternoon nap.
A skilled photographer working in a small market like South Africa has to be versatile enough to let the monkey sleep, says Neveling. “They’ll give you an animal shot one week and then next week, I’ll be shooting a car,” he says. His range serves him well in a region where work is plentiful and photographers are in short supply. “It’s like the Wild West,” Neveling says. “There is violence [in Johannesburg] but people are open to new things and new people.”

Violence is not new to the man who began his career as a photojournalist covering the country’s frequent civil unrest during apartheid’s dismantling. Even then, though, Neveling kept a commercial set-up in his apartment, persistently seeking out freelance work while paying his bills with journalism. “I took my portfolio around and justSide view of lighting made a nuisance of myself. Eventually I got my break,” he says, adding that he prefers shooting a new set of images than relying on old work. “I’ve seen people here with the same portfolio for four years. They hang out at restaurants or bars and they get work that way.” This is not Neveling’s style. Pounding the pavement has landed him accounts with heavyweights like Nike, Levis, John Deere, and Guinness. He’s won awards from Cannes and has been featured in the 200 Best Advertising Photographers Worldwide. Aside from persistence and pure skill, he also stands out as a 35 mm film holdout. “I’ve probably done about four digital shoots in my life,” he says. “People hire me because I’m one of the last guys who still shoot on film.”

In this shoot, Neveling used his Mamiya RZ camera with a 65mm lens and 160 NC film and shot crouched in a fabric-draped box beneath scaffolding that supported the glass pane on which his monkey posed (when not grabbing for the equipment itself). Neveling used Profoto lighting equipment andOverhead view of lighting raised the shades, to calm the animals’ nerves and minimize their attention to the flash. After the shoot, he experimented with photo filters, color balances, and curve densities in Photoshop until the his composite clouds were seamless. The clouds were necessary to his vision for the shoot. The car advertised featured an entirely glass roof. Instead of the periscope effect of a sunroof, Neveling wanted to create something more panoramic, visually suggesting what was new about the car. One of the other three photographers bidding on this project had pitched doing the animal shoot on location with a 35mm camera—a page from Neveling’s book–and with animals actually running across the car’s path—something Neveling says he would have done earlier in his career. With experience and confidence guiding him, Nevling won the bid, perhaps, by turning his lens toward a sky of his own making.

Neveling was interviewed by our Editor Zack Seckler about his career and his craft:

F STOP: How did you get your start as a photographer?

Neveling: In the 70s and 80s in South Africa everybody had to go to the army, navy or air force because the country was basically at war. I spent about two years at sea in submarines, then off to the photographic department. I learned everything in the navy darkrooms and began freelancing as a press photographer after I served my time. This was the 80s in South Africa, so I saw a lot of action. There was a lot of urban terrorism. After I tired of that I started my own studio. I’ve been doing advertising since.

F STOP: There’s quite a difference between newspapers and advertising. How did you make the transition from being a photojournalist to doing advertising work?

Neveling: When you ask anybody why they became a photographer they say, ‘National Geographic.’ I love traveling. I just like being out there shooting pictures.
Advertising came along because every day is different. Every assignment is a challenge and you make good money. I can’t handle the same job every day. That’s why I love advertising.

F STOP: Did you create a new book specifically for advertising? How did you get that first advertising job?

Neveling: Yes. In my free time I’d be make small setups in my lounge and bedroom. I shot what I thought the advertising industry would want to see. I did freelance journalism in the meantime just to pay the bills and shot my personal work constantly. I took my portfolio around and made a nuisance of myself. Eventually I got that break.

F STOP: Where are you based?

Neveling: I’ve been based in Cape Town for 14 years. We get a lot of European work in the summer season. Europeans come because the exchange rate is so good in favor of European ad budgets. Plus, we have great locations and weather. I’m trying to get into the American market. My portfolio isn’t specialized enough for the US. I think people get confused about what kind of work I do.

F STOP: It is a specialized market here. The European market seems more open to having a diverse range of styles. You work with local clients as well as big international brands. Are those specifically to run in South African publications? Or are they international campaigns?

Neveling: Most of the time they are specific to South Africa and Africa. The local stuff I do purely for the African market.

F STOP: What are the pros and cons of working in South Africa?

Neveling: South Africa is a great training ground for young photographers because you can pull out the portfolio and great clients see it quickly. There is so much work in Johannesburg and it’s quite easy to break in. A lot of people come through here and start working on big accounts after a year or two.

F STOP: Why is it so easy? Are there not a lot of working photographers in the area?Image used in final ad

Neveling: Johannesburg has become quite a violent city. A lot of people are leaving, especially people my age. It’s like the Wild West up there in all senses of the word. There is violence, but people are open to new things and new people. It’s not clique-ish.
It’s not who you know. It’s what you can be up there. In Cape Town, it’s about who you know and what school you went to.

F STOP: Your personal work is obviously different from your advertising work. When you approach clients with your portfolios, for example the assignment that we are discussing in this article, are they really interested in seeing more of your personal work? Or in your advertising tear sheets?

Neveling: People are interested in seeing personal work. They get a kick out of looking at pictures of exotic places or pictures where there is some kind of story behind them. You can really entertain people with anecdotes about a trip. Africa is a small market and you need to do everything if you want to survive. They’ll give you an animal shot one week and then next week I’ll be shooting a car.

F STOP: You’ve won a lot of awards. How has that impacted your career?

Neveling: It opens up doors. You get a free ride on the award and the greatness of the ad. It’s nice winning awards but I don’t think it’s the be –all end-all of photography.

F STOP: Tell me about your personal work a little more. How do you like to shoot?

Neveling: If I’m on a shoot, I have truckloads of stuff. I load the lighting budget. It’s like a kid walking into a candy store; you get all the little toys, gizmos and gadgets delivered to your studio. IMonkey being prepared for the shoot love it, but I also like to grab just one camera and a lens and take shots without all that stuff. That’s me relaxing. No Polaroids, no anything. You get the shot, and it’s purely for yourself. Self-indulgence. I am comfortable with both scenarios.

F STOP: Where do you come up with the ideas for these series and what are you trying to achieve with them?

Neveling: I’m just trying to do a great shot that makes me feel good. There’s no hidden meaning or anything. If I get a good feeling in my stomach about the shot then it has worked for me. I don’t care about naming pictures. As long as the picture hits you in the stomach, then I’ve done my job.

F STOP: Do you shoot with camera equipment when you’re doing personal work?

Neveling: I’m not big into equipment. I’ve been using an old RZ67 since 1988. Most of my stuff is done with the RZ67. I have two 4x5s which I pull out now and again.

F STOP: Do you still like to shoot in film a lot?

Neveling: I’ve probably done about four digital shoots in my life. With film you really make something work, but it’s just a personal preference.

F STOP: Do your clients request that you shoot digital? Has it been a problem at all, you wanting to shoot more film?Set where the monkey was photographed

Neveling: People hire me because I’m one of the last guys who still shoot on film.

F STOP: Do you feel like you have to do a lot of convincing to tell the client that you want to shoot film?

Neveling: No. If they want digital, I’ll give them digital. I don’t think digital is faster than film. You still need to go back and process all the images. It’s the same amount of time processing all the formats.

F STOP: Did you have any creative freedom with the featured images?

Neveling: I gave the client a treatment before the job and told them exactly what I think the look and feel should be. What you see is purely from my treatment.

F STOP: What was it like working with animals in the studio?

Neveling: I’ve done it before. You can control the situation to a certain degree, but with animals and children there’s always a surprise element. It can be nerve-wracking. God, the night before you go on a shoot like that you actually have a sleepless night because anything can go wrong. On the day of the shoot I get excited. We had two animal handlers on the shoot. They assured me that the monkeys would be fine. While we were shooting I looked up at one handler and he was actually sweating. At the end of the shoot I asked him if he was nervous. He admitted he couldn’t sleep the night before because he was nervous that the animals wouldn’t behave themselves.The photographer on set

F STOP: How long did it take to get the monkey to pose the way you wanted it to?

Neveling: The monkey got there at 10:00 am and had to be at the airport at 4:00 pm. We had a half-day to shoot him and he had to have a lunch break and a nap. You don’t want to overwork him for the monkey union.

F STOP: This was a triple bid situation. Why do you think they chose you over the other photographers?

Neveling: Purely because of the treatments. I understand a concept and take it further. This concept is grass roots, so it needed to be a simple, uncluttered shot. I treated it like a landscape with just this animal.

F STOP: How do you like working in the studio compared to being on location? It seems like most of your advertising work is in the studio using artificial lights, and your personal work is all on location.

Neveling: The first five years of my advertising career were spent in the studio. The studio is easy because it’s controllable and everything is there. So much can go wrong with the elements on location. On the actual shoot day in a studio you’re basically just putting the whole thing on film after doing your scouting and set ups. It’s a rush being on location. The studio is more relaxing, and location is more stressful. But for me it’s more exciting.

F STOP: The VW is a composite image. Do you find it as fulfilling to do a composite image as compared with when everything is done in one shot?

Neveling: A couple of years ago I’d brag that I could do everything in one shot. I’d say about ten years ago I did another campaign for VW. It was similar to the old Diesel campaign with a lot of people in the shot doing different things. We had about thirteen people in the shot in a backyard barbecue scene all doing different things. I practiced and got all the positions worked out the day before and got the whole thing in one shot. We shot about ten rolls of film. If I did the same shoot today, I’d shoot everything separately and drop it in. So I’ve kind of swung the other way. Different shots are quite different things. Another photographer proposed shooting the VW animal shoot on location with 35mm. He wanted to have animals actually running across the route in front of the car.

F STOP: Did you do the sky and cloud images in Photoshop?

Neveling: I made a few layers at different densities and photo filters. I duplicated the clouds and flipped them to emphasize the reflection of the car. I love playing with densities and color palette. It’s like painting.

F STOP: You just did that using color balancing?

Neveling: Color balances and photo filters in Photoshop CS2.

F STOP: Do you do a lot of retouching in your personal work as well?

Neveling: I would never composite in my personal stuff. I play a lot with colors. I like my personal work to be free – one lens, one camera.

F STOP: How does marketing work in South Africa? Do you send out mailers and email promos? Does the advertising work go out in books?

Neveling: It’s the same as the US, but on a smaller scale because our market is small and everybody knows each other. You need to pound the pavement with your portfolio in the beginning. When I first started out, I’d shoot a portfolio and do the rounds for a month. At the end of the month, I’d shoot a new portfolio and hit the streets again! I’m a bit shy and not into small talk. It’s easier for me to shoot a new portfolio and show some one new pictures than to call and talk about the weather. It’s different now. I get a new portfolio about once a year and send out emails every month or so.

F STOP: When you were doing portfolios every month as you say, was it just a series of images that you were shooting, like a different concept each time?

Neveling: I would add ten new shots. I love shooting, so I’d rather take pictures than work the phones. It shows people how busy you are. It’s easier for me to walk in with pictures than come in with nothing and ask for work. To this day I still can’t ask people for work.

F STOP: It’s probably not the best idea anyway. It’s better to show people new work than to beg them for work.

Neveling: I’ve seen people here with the same portfolio for four years. They hang out at restaurants or bars and they get work that way. Their portfolios, however, are really old.

F STOP: Is it difficult to get appointments with art directors and art buyers now?

Neveling: Now I can phone them with new work and we meet for a beer in a bar. I know in America it’s a lot different.

F STOP: That sounds like a dream to me.

Neveling: It’s relaxed down here. America is a different league; people are so serious over there.

F STOP: Are you thinking of moving here?

Neveling: Yes. I plan to spend a longer time in the US early next year.

F STOP: Are you going to modify your portfolio for the American market?

Neveling: I have a few portfolios there already and they’re doing well. I just need to go and show my face. People want to work with me, but they need to meet me and get to know me a bit first.