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Indonesia, 2018

[Continuation of project done in Morocco]

With striking compositions I try to capture the esthetic essence of various urban landscapes. I started my project in Amsterdam and currently travel around the world shooting mostly modern architecture in the crowded cities in which brick and cement have almost completely replaced organic shapes from the landscape. With my pictures I try to reflect on urban society, and a global future in which more and more people live in the concrete jungle on a daily base. With my camera I do not judge society or our modern age, but try to find beauty in it’s shapes and colours. A light touch, hard shadows and bright pastel shades are characteristics for my work. I’ve always been fascinated by abstract painters like Mark Rothko and Barnett Newmann and in some way try to capture a similar abstract essence with my photos. However, my pictures always show signs of human presence and for me, are about finding beauty in everyday street corners.

Morocco, (2018)

With striking compositions I try to capture the esthetic essence of various urban landscapes. I started my project in Amsterdam and currently travel around the world shooting mostly modern architecture in the crowded cities in which brick and cement have almost completely replaced organic shapes from the landscape. With my pictures I try to reflect on urban society, and a global future in which more and more people live in the concrete jungle on a daily base. With my camera I do not judge society or our modern age, but try to find beauty in it’s shapes and colours. A light touch, hard shadows and bright pastel shades are characteristics for my work. I’ve always been fascinated by abstract painters like Mark Rothko and Barnett Newmann and in some way try to capture a similar abstract essence with my photos. However, my pictures always show signs of human presence and for me, are about finding beauty in everyday street corners.

The Bijlmerbajes (2017) 

In this series I depicted the infamous Dutch prison Penitentiaire Inrichting Amsterdam Over-Amstel, widely known as the Bijlmerbajes. The series was published by Creators by Vice on the 19th of januari, 2018. I worked as a guide for the Tijdelijk Museum, a contemporary art museum inside the prison, which closed on the 1st of januari. Because I was intrigued by it, I tried to capture the raw spirit of the building with my camera, before it will be partly destroyed and then transformed into an apartment building somewhere in the next years. The former prison, build in 1978, has housed a lot of (in)famous Dutch criminals. For example: Willem Holleeder, who was responsible for the Heineken kidnapping, has spent time inside the Bijlmerbajes.
However the prison was often nicknamed ‘The Hilton of Amsterdam’ in the seventies because of it’s design and comforts, the dated building had a grim atmosphere which you can experience through my gritty black and white pictures. The intriguing history of the prison speaks through small details and through the claustrophobic spaces found inside the building, no longer accessible to the public. The main goal of this series is to pay the notorious prison one last honor before it will be demolished.

Young Travellers – Goa, India (2018)

In December 2017 and January 2018 I traveled through Goa in the south of India. The province has been a popular destination for young travelers from all over the world since the 1970s, mostly because of the tropical temperature, the beautiful beaches and friendly atmosphere. In the past year, Goa has been gaining popularity among American and (Western) European backpackers, particularly from the United Kingdom. Encouraged by the social development in which more and more people in their twenties decide to make a long and far journey, I decided that I wanted to make portraits of the traveling millenials that I would encounter in Goa.

I used a Polaroid camera because of its simple use, compact size and symbolic value. Inspired by Sofia Coppola’s Lost In Translation I developed a stack of cards with Japanese symbols for descriptive words (eg difficult, beautiful, confusing). I asked the travelers I met on my trip to choose one. Because the meaning of Japanese symbols cannot be recognized, the travelers had to rely on the aesthetic value of the card to make a choice. Some chose a symbol on the basis of the shape, others on the basis of length. After the choice was made I gave the translation of the symbols and then I asked if the chosen word related to their lives. For example, if a traveler chose the Japanese symbol for ‘sad’, I asked whether he regarded life as sad. The question resulted in a conversation, after which I took a portrait of the traveler with my Polaroid camera. In exchange for the photo, the traveler was allowed to take the card with the Japanese symbols, as a simple souvenir and symbol of our short encounter, in which we came closer together in a strange place.

Back in the Netherlands I selected a few sentences from the travellers’ answers and placed them under their photo and the chosen card. The result gives a diverse picture of the wisdom, but also the problems faced by young travellers from the US and Western Europe. The project has become very personal to me. It is as if I have immortalised the short encounters with all those special people through the project. There is always only one of a Polaroid; it is one of the few analogous processes in which there is no film negative, and therefore no copies. The Polaroids thus symbolise the special individuals that I have recorded on my journey. The chosen cards represent personality and destiny.