20 years

August 20, 2019

The greater good

August 9, 2019

I ended up with a few black and whites. Only a few, but apart from liking them, I feel I need them to balance the prettiness of the colour landscapes. Although, how pretty they are is up for debate of course. From where I’m sitting, prettiness is more of a pitfall than something to strive for. So I made them part of the series*, these monochromes, although no travelogue has ever been less of a series than this one. So perhaps I shouldn’t even bother. But I do want to give each of those travelogues a place to exist, for better or worse. Not from a ‘look I’ve been there’ perspective, but because I want to properly face the photographic outcome. To better understand what it takes to photograph a series. To understand what it is that I want, really. What do various selections look like, what am I missing, what darlings need to be killed for the greater good, and, most of all: what is ‘the greater good’. What to do with different image proportions, with different scales – landscapes, close ups - what to do with black and white pictures when the majority is in colour. What does it look like in a slider, what if I would scatter them around on a page randomly. It’s like telling a story with a only very few words available, but with endless possibilities nevertheless.

*and then I didn’t.

These last two are from Gryllefjord. From wandering around the village for a bit before boarding on the ferry to Andenes. Above: view from that ferry.

Some shapes at last

August 3, 2019

When struggling with landscapes and how to photograph them, it’s no less than a relief to find one that includes a man made structure, something with rectangulars, straight lines, something that stands out from those endless plains and their flat horizons. Some shapes at last. Something I can walk around and look at from different perspectives. So yes, I took a few more pictures of this shelter than necessary. Even though it was freezing cold, a hard wind blowing relentlessly. The shelter was there for a reason.

Somewhere along the road from Lebesby to Mehamn, Finnmark, Norway


August 1, 2019
Enough said about the harsh light, the outrageous skies, the bright greens and my own poor judgement, that made the pictures I took in Scandinavia somewhat less than brilliant. I have a soft spot for these three though. The first I took somewhere on Lofoten. A soft sky, a glimpse of watery greens, some good lines and the perception of a slightly elevated viewpoint is all I need to promptly direct the car into the shoulder of the road and find my way through the bushes looking for a reasonably decent view. Which was hard to find, as usual. A camper is not a small vehicle. A lot of the times, when stepping out of it, the perceived view is gone, for no other reason than having both feet on the ground. Such exercises are failures 9 out of 10. This is one that I like though. The composition is a bit awkward, not-quite-right, not easy on the eye. It somehow shows that I wasn’t in the right place. It’s not even very much in focus I’m afraid. But for me it has a very strong presence and mood.

For the other two, I took all the time in the world. We parked the car for the night along a quiet road in the heart of Langøya, Vesterålen. I took several pictures of this mountain range in the course of the evening, its light somewhat fading but never disappearing.

New Town

June 4, 2019
Place des Sciences was a bit of a mess. A construction site really, the 'brutalist gems' behind fences, pavements closed or broken up. Worst of all though, it looked like the reconstruction plans included painting the concrete. That can never happen, painting bare concrete. I have no idea what a paint job tries to accomplish other than taking 'material' out of the equasion, only the bare essence of brutalism. Anyway, I had my doubts about these being gems to begin with. 

Moving on to brick then.
Louvain-la-Neuve is a planned pedestrian new town developed from 1968 on to house the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain). Following the linguistic quarrels that took place in Belgium during the 1960s, the institution was split into the Dutch language Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven which remained in Leuven, and the Université catholique de Louvain. The French-speaking university left the old town of Louvain (Leuven in Dutch) to acquire farmland south of Brussels in order to create a new town from scratch. 

The “Groupe urbanisme architecture”, responsible for the design, took its inspiration from university towns throughout Europe, and from the garden cities developed in Britain in the early 20th century. It relied on the experience of successful multifunctional cities and neighbourhoods, rather than that of a few decades of functionalism with its spatial separation of functions, generating the need for motorised transport to link them. Moreover, one of the main points of the urban design of Louvain-la-Neuve was to make it people rather than automobile centred. As a consequence, the city center is built on a gigantic concrete slab, with all motorized traffic travelling underground. 

The Founding and Development of Louvain-la-Neuve, the Only New Town in Belgium
Louvain-la-Neuve - A Traditional New Town in the 20th Century