Nathan Reinds: “I captured the moment Måneskin realised their victory!”

You wouldn’t necessarily be familiar with Nathan Reinds, but you’d have seen his pictures. He immortalised the moment Måneskin understood they had won the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam. He’s the guy with the camera and whether it’s up in the stands, the control room, or right there in the eye of the storm, Nathan has captured both the public and private occasions that made up the bigger picture of the competition.

Ahead of the release of his self-produced companion book, The Bigger Picture, ESC Bubble shot off a text to host broadcaster NPO’s house photographer to find out what the experience was like, while a pandemic had the rest of us staying home.

Nathan, thanks for speaking with us. What forces of nature led you to this role?

Before Eurovision came to the Netherlands, I’d worked as a Content Strategist for radio station NPO 3FM before I became a full-time photographer. So NPO was already familiar with what they could expect from me, and I already knew the way they worked. But you can imagine waiting for the call was still nerve wrecking!

What was the atmosphere like in Rotterdam to be hosting Eurovision after 2020 was cancelled?

Most of the crew members had a rough year with almost no work, so everybody was extremely excited to produce a big event for 2021. You really felt the solidarity throughout the whole venue, like ‘Let’s show the world how we do it in the Netherlands!’

What were some of the COVID-safe protocols you had to be mindful of?

Well, everybody got tested every 48 hours. Besides that, everybody had to wear a face mask all day, and of course all forms of physical contact should be avoided.

You got to be there way before there was even a stage. Tell us about that experience.

It was fun to capture the whole process from the beginning until the end. Normally I work a lot on behalf of technical suppliers or producers during concerts and events, and many of those clients were also suppliers for ESC 2021.

Knowing each other prior meant I was given a lot of trust and permission to move around the venue and capture what was happening. I had access to areas like the TV-compound, Delegation Bubble and the main stage.

What do you look for before you take a photograph?

It’s hard to explain because a lot of my thinking process is automatic. I made a schedule for where I had to be so I could capture all the important moments. Normally, my work is like taking a sprint: you get in before showtime, you do some last preparations and then it’s showtime and you run around and capture as much as possible. Eurovision was more like a marathon, spread out over several weeks with a lot of possibilities to try different things.

How quickly did you need to deliver your shots?

I delivered most of my work the same day or the night after. After a semi-final for example, I’d run to my MacBook to quickly edit the pictures of qualifiers and send off some show photos. Then I’d go to my hotel and do the rest overnight. I like to start the next day with a clear mind.

Everyone has cameras in their pockets these days, what sets you apart as a ‘Photographer’? 

Mostly the quality of the image. A  smartphone has a tiny sensor compared to a full-frame camera. A smartphone can make fun and nice images in daylight, but can’t handle the low-light conditions. A professional camera gives you a lot more options, except you can’t take a call with it! 😉

You’re so early in your career and you’ve got the biggest song contest in Europe on your resume. Have new opportunities arisen as a result? 

I’m grateful that I got the change to shoot Eurovision this year, a production that was on top of my ‘Shows-I-Want-To-Shoot’ list. I hope it opens doors to amazing new productions, or maybe another Eurovision in the future.

Tell us about the process of making your book The Bigger Picture, and why it’s important to present your photographs in this way?

Going home after this amazing adventure felt like going home after a cool summer camp or something like that. I definitely fell in a black hole when it was over, so I made the book because I wanted a physical memory of Eurovision Song Contest 2021. I thought it was a shame to leave the photos on a hard drive–more had to be done!

And I wanted the photo book to be a project of my own. I have a background in marketing and I’m familiar with graphic design, so I saw it a nice challenge to self-produce it.

How did you choose what images to include?

During the whole ESC I took 25,000 pictures. Of these, around 2500 photos were selected, edited and sent to my clients. The amount of pictures in my book is partly determined by the cost of printing, where I was looking for the perfect balance between ‘wanting a big photo book’ and ‘what’s a fair price for to pay for this book?’. I wanted 350 pages, so with 2500 photos I still had to ‘kill a lot of darlings’, you could say. Eventually, 650 photos have found their way into my book. I’m constantly making comparisons between photos to choose which one I like best.

Is there a particular photograph you feel proud to have taken?

Yes, the photos I took after the audience had left the venue during the Grand Final. When realization kicked in for the Måneskin band members, they called home, let some tears of happiness flow and celebrated their victory with each other.

Måneskin win Eurovision Song Contest 2021. Photo: Nathan Reinds/NPO/NOS/AVROTROS

Sietse Bakker (executive producer of ESC), Chantal Janzen (presenter), Marnix Kaart (co-director) and Richard van Rouwendaal (stage manager) all contributed testimonials. Did you just text them and ask?

Haha yeah that’s how it went. But of course, I had already met and spoken to them during ESC so they were immediately enthusiastic!

Will you hand-sign and package each book for delivery?

Hell yes. And everybody who orders the book, will get something extra with the package!

What sort of feedback have you received so far?

Someone bought my book with the money she made on her first paid photo assignment–that’s so amazing to hear!

Where can we buy The Bigger Picture?

Everybody around the world can order the book, via or 🙂

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