The Moment I Rediscovered My Passion

Introducing Henk Fliek, Senior Manager Testing Services and Innovation at Accenture Netherlands.

  • Man on stand by with his camera

Henk Fliek is quite a well-known name at Accenture, as the inventor of the Test Assessment Framework, a testing measurement and improvement methodology that is used throughout Accenture globally. But his name is also connected to one of the best-read articles ever to appear on ‘Spotlight on Accenture’. Of course the feature itself played a big part in its success, but it mostly gained traction thanks to the photograph that accompanied it: that of an Alaskan fishing bear. Shot by Henk Fliek himself.

  • Bear running on water

© Henk Fliek

The Moment I Rediscovered My Passion…

‘I first developed a passion for nature photography when I was about 16 years old, marveling at my father’s Minolta X-500 camera. I was fascinated by this secretive, highly complex device that that merged technology and creativity. In 2009, I was working in South Africa as a test architect for a large global SAP implementation project, and I spent many weekends visiting the fantastic game parks in the area. It didn’t take too long before I rekindled my passion. For me, photography is the ultimate way to let go of work completely, due to the simple fact that your mind and body are solely focused on something else.’

"For me, photography is the ultimate way to let go of work completely."

Consultancy For Free, Anyone?

‘Creating something beautiful is the best thing in life. One of the biggest advantages of modern cameras is that you can instantly see whether you took a great picture or not. As soon as you see the images, you’ll instantly know whether you did it: if you created something beautiful. If you have, it’s a great feeling of satisfaction. What’s even more satisfying is sharing that fantastic, unique shot with like-minded people. I do this with people around me and through my website, where I blog about my pictures, talk about how they were taken, give advice on equipment and how to best utilize it etc. I’m often surprised to find my articles being referred to by bloggers from all over the world who find the information useful. It’s basically free photography consultancy!

  • Snow owl two images

© Henk Fliek

Continuous Learning Process

‘Sharing knowledge is one of the key reasons why I love working at Accenture as much as I do. And the fact that the learning never stops: day in, day out, every week, every year. The fact that people can learn from their lead or manager regardless of whether you’re managing 2, 20 or 200 people is fantastic. Of course, it’s a reciprocal process as well.

"Even though ‘the perfect shot’ does not exist, the search for it is never-ending."

The continuous learning process is definitely the primary reason why I still work at Accenture. It’s the same in photography, too: you are constantly learning and discovering new things. As soon as you have mastered a new skill, you’re already on the lookout for a new learning challenge. Even though ‘the perfect shot’ does not exist, the search for it is never-ending.’

Sometimes 80% Is Okay

‘I’m a perfectionist. Luckily, it’s something I am aware of. I have what they call an analytical driving style; I try to do everything perfectly – a presentation, report, project deliverable, a picture. It took me a few years to realize things don’t always have to be 100%, sometimes 80% is okay too.’

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The Most Breathtaking Places on Earth

‘It’s not only my photography that brings me to most breathtaking places on earth, but my work requires a great deal of traveling too. Which is fantastic, since it’s one of my passions. My first job was in The Hague – not too exotic, but after that I worked for longer periods of times in countries like Belgium, Israel and South Africa. As SAP software test manager for Accenture Technology, I have traveled extensively between South Africa, Colombia, Ecuador, South Africa, Panama and Britain. My current client requires me to be in France and Spain, and by the looks of it – New York sometime soon.’

Scared to Leave My Equipment

Does my camera equipment travel with me? Well, it did when I worked in South Africa, but that was mostly because I was scared to leave the equipment worth €10,000 in my hotel. These days I don’t travel with it as often, unless I know there’s a great park in the area where I’m heading to – then it’s a no-brainer.’

  • Snow owl front view

© Henk Fliek

It’s All About the Chase

‘People often seem to think that photography is all about pressing a button at the right time. Wrong. Shooting the right picture is only part of the process. Do you know that Discovery TV show Chasing Classic Cars that’s about a guy buying and selling vintage cars? The opening slogan of the show reads: ‘It’s all about the chase’. It’s the same for photography: it’s the whole process that makes it fantastic. Deciding on the location, planning the trip, finding yourself in the middle of nowhere and then waiting to see if you can get the perfect shot of the animal in the right context, moment and light is exhilarating. It’s the mysterious aspect, trying to reveal what hasn’t been revealed yet.’

"No matter what, I will always try to capture the moment with a picture."

Always Take a Picture

‘I am at my happiest when I’m somewhere in nature discovering and experiencing remarkable landscapes. It’s all about that moment when I realize: ‘Wow, this is an extremely beautiful place on earth!’ And even when I happen to not have my full camera equipment with me, I can still enjoy it just as much. And after all, there’s always my iPhone at hand… No matter what, I will always try to capture the moment with a picture.’ 

Henk Fliek (1967)

Studied: MSc. Information Management, Leeds Beckett University (2000)

Started working at Accenture: May 2001

Relationship status: Single

Loves: Friends, family, friendly colleagues, interesting work, nature and good food

Gets annoyed by: Short-sightedness, ignorance

Favorite food: A perfectly grilled South African steak (medium rare)

On my nightstand: A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle

Listens to: Muse, Moby, Iron Maiden, Radiohead, Deep Purple, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Philip Glass

Last purchase: Nikon 200-500mm zoom

Would like to sit next to in the plane: Albert Einstein on my left; the Dalai Lama on my right

Life-changing event: I still hope to experience one

The best lesson life has taught me: Everything is relative

The best advice I was ever given: ‘Take it easy’

Most beautiful place on earth: South Africa

Hobbies/passions: Photography and traveling

What nobody knows about me: That I was training for my brown belt in Kyokushin Karate-do (‘the way of the empty hand’) in 1986 before I started traveling.

Life motto: Nothing is what it seems to be…

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