The Dutchman's path to becoming a full-time professional photographer, however, was anything but conventional. Born in Maastricht in the Netherlands, Pie's early ambitions lay in the hospitality industry. After completing degrees in hotel management, he set about climbing the corporate ladder, working for one of the country's largest food retailers. "I was making good money and my career was moving fast," he says. "I was in the middle of the rat race."