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Oct 07, 2016 02:53 AM EDT

Maarten de Boer, Celebrity Photographer And Webster University Alumnus Talks About His Career

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He is not a paparazzi, his career is more professional and targeted. Maarten de Boer is considered to be an in-demand celebrity photographer. And he is honored at the recent Homecoming event at Webster University with the Distinguished Alumni Award.

When he attended Webster University, he took special education as a major. Photography education was only a minor elective course. He did not know at the time that his background would lead him to success. And would lead him to photograph the likes of Tyra Banks, Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCaprio.

De Boer says that the award given to him by Webster University is the highest given to an alumnus. Only a Webster alumnus that has made specific contributions to society through his profession and involvement in charitable, cultural or civic activities can get it. "It's so exciting to be recognized in that way," de Boer tells Webster.

Photography was a hobby for him when he was in high school. He took photography classes but admitted he was never good at it. He chose special education when he moved to the United States to attend Webster U. He wanted to major in special education in order to give back to others who struggled with learning disabilities. He admitted that he was diagnosed with dyslexia.

When he reached his senior year, that was when he realized that he wanted to pursue photography as a career. At first, he didn't even think it would make a good career.

It is interesting to note that he pursued two of his passions. One, the special education major to help others. Second, his love for photography. His advice to aspiring photographers? "He said that not every photographer is good at absolutely everything," Liautaud, a former student said. "That really inspired me."

Maarten said that for aspiring photography students, they should assist other photographers after graduating. In that process, they will figure out what kind of photographer they are.

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