17 October, 2022

"If we do not feel free to say what's on our minds, then what are we doing."
I had not yet hit 'send' or a different perspective dawned on me.

The infamous Dutch directness, or rudeness, as foreigners tend to call it, is not alien to me. However, I think of myself as a modest, private person who is considerate of others. Who never comments on public news sites, and more generally does not necessarily needs to hear her own voice. I don't know why* in this particular relationship, and towards this particular person, I always feel the need to speak out. I should feel at liberty to say anything that’s on my mind, and he should too, because otherwise the friendship is unworthy and flawed. But is it? Isn't it precisely a sign of friendship to spare each other, to just ignore some things, to let go of them, biting your tongue if needed? To choose to keep communication going, rather than frustrate it? To do so requires empathy and understanding of the other person, and the willingness to put their interests above your own. It doesn't sound as if such a relationship is unworthy or flawed.

*Yes, you do know why.

Pictures taken in Öregrund, Sweden, and somewhere in the Basilicata region, Italy.

As it goes
02 August, 2022
Inspiration, be it from novels, photographs, traveling, people or work, doesn’t lead to a creative or artistic outburst, it doesn’t make you create better work, or work at all. Nor does it enable you to step out of your trusted framework. Inspiration, the way I see it, is nothing more than the will to live.

On nature - and the Dutch
09 July, 2022

Today's newspaper reported on a study into the perception of nature in the Netherlands – in response to the nitrogen crisis – how important we feel nature is, what we actually consider as ‘nature’ and what we are willing to sacrifice for its preservation. For most people, nature is the park they walk in, the plants in their backyard and a roadside full of flowers. Ecologists think of biodiversity and endangered and rare species. The younger generation tends to equal nature with climate (change), and farmers think of cornfields and meadows. For me the Netherlands is a country without nature. We have recreational areas, but hardly any nature. No other European country has such a low percentage of untouched nature and forests. Which brings me to another group that this study identifies: people who understand nature as wilderness, winding streams and mountain peaks. “This romantic and idyllic representation of nature is mainly found among highly educated city dwellers, who are in fact furthest removed from nature.”
I realize that I belong to that last group, as embarrassing as that may be. I never grew up with nature. I pay little attention to insects, animals, plants, fungi, etc. I enjoy having a garden (well, balcony) and surrounding myself with greenery, but I’m not a fan of gardening, and am not particularly interested in how things grow and flourish. Nature to me means natural landscapes. I love the space, the vastness, the outdoors, being away from people, from being noticed, the silence, atmosphere, views, the physical efforts needed to access a landscape. Eyes on the horizon, hardly on the ground. I never really considered that ‘romantic’, probably because the landscapes I visit (and photograph) are not necessarily romantic in the traditional sense of the word, and the photos are not glorifying their beauty. But I’m willing to accept that my own relationship to landscape definitely is romantic, in a sort of Rousseau-ish, nineteenth century kind of way. Relating this to being, in fact, profoundly detached from nature isn’t much of a stretch.
Two overproduced photographs of the Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina, 2012/2022

04 June, 2022

Some colour experiments on pictures from Fuerteventura, Tenerife and La Gomera. I usually do not go beyond colour ‘correction’, and I felt I went way overboard with the colour grading circles. But after a while, these landscapes start to fit into some kind of reality just as easily.

Ventura, fuerte
12 May, 2022
The world scares me, these last two years and the last two months in particular, but on that island I felt unreasonably happy for at least two days. It was 35 degrees when we arrived, a thick, white haze hovering over the island like smog, while a storm of hot wind raged over its dried out, treeless plains and hills. I couldn’t take my eyes off the landscape stretching out from the back of the house. A sort of gravel pit with a goat farm, that gradually turned from yellow to grey to reddish and deep brown, to pitch black. I took a shower to cool off, reluctant to put any clothes back on, in the comfort of warm air streaming into the house from the patio. The little house was barely holding it together. I didn’t sleep much, listening to the new sounds - roaring, squeaking, cracking - in this strange place that had yet to be discovered.

In the morning I washed away a fine layer of dust and sand collected on the dining table, and pretty much everywhere else.
Buen Paso, Fuerteventura, Spain. More pictures here.