Friends that break your heart*
October 20, 2021
I woke up early. It was foggy and dusky, with a fine drizzle. The view from my window made me want to go out for a morning walk along the river, watching the ships disappearing into an infinite shade of grey. The weather was unusually mild though. I like the different sorts of light on an early morning, half day, half night, soft lights from street lamps in the mist, their reflection on the wet tarmac, the brightly lit building sites. On the way home I came across the fun fair. There was no-one there yet, all quiet. I expected closed gates but there weren’t any. Seagulls, never far away in this neigbourhood, were circling and preying on trampled plastic bags and paper cups. A bit sad, one would think. But I don’t. So-called sad usually makes me feel irrationally happy. I’ve stopped trying to explain that to people, or even mention it, but it does. Also: it’s where I live.

*The new James Blake album that I’m trying to listen to.

The democratic website
October 17, 2021
I sometimes fantasize about replacing the home page by the index page, and remove the top menu. No content is more important or more accessible than any other. A random thought is equal to a project that took me two years, is equal to a single image of a ragged exhibition wall. No directing of eyeballs, no highlighting, no seductive images. A democratic website.
August 09, 2021
I didn’t take this interior shot, the one here on the right. I wish it was mine, but it’s not. I don’t know who took it, it’s an uncredited picture from our archives, from the late 1960s I suppose. I’ve always wanted to photograph this building because of this particular image. During the lockdown in March, when all university buildings were closed, I had the chance to spend an hour of my time inside, on my own, when normally, hundreds of students would be running up and down the stairs. But the picture, the ‘remake’ is not as good as this one. That’s why it’s not here. It’s only acceptable on a safe distance from its original. It’s a mystery to me from which point exactly this was taken. I suspect it’s from where my view was hampered by a later addition to the building, a clunky elevator, a sort of black cage running through this lovely space. (It wasn’t just the elevator, many spaces were ruined by furniture, banners, room dividers and stored items). Or, this is taken in a part of the building that I didn’t have access to, but I don’t think so, considering the floor plan. It’s a bit daft, wanting to take a picture that’s already been taken. I didn’t care though, I wanted to anyway. 

But now that it is as it is, I'm not unhappy with how that old photograph relates to my own pictures, from half a century later. 

Aula of Delft University of Technology. Architecture by Van den Broek en Bakema, 1966. Art work 'Salami' by Carel Visser.
The threshold
May 08, 2021
Book design is ready. I had it sit for a while, although I was fairly happy with how I left it. I added another four pages though, because I wanted to see what including one more photograph would do. Not an awful lot to be honest, but it’s the extra space, and the changing of two pairs as a consequence that made me feel better about it. I prefer the idea of 24 pages. But that’s hardly enough reason not to have 28. It’s rather small in size, that’s the one thing I’m hesitant about, but I do feel it needs a sort of intimacy, so I’m gonna trust my instincts on this.

‘Had it sit for a while’ is a nice way of saying that I couldn’t bring myself to go to a print store and have 20 copies printed. I blamed it on the covid/lockdown situation, but that’s only an inconvenience in this respect. It’s about this: the inDesign file on my computer screen looks perfect to me. As long as it sits on my hard drive, it holds the promise of being perfect in print. 

Except it can only be less than perfect. I don’t have the resources to use the best print service I know, or to have my own printer. I don’t know anything about paper and what to use to what effect, or how to hand stitch a book. In short: I do not have the same control over the print process as I have over the design process. Within these limitations I have choices to make though, and as long as I keep looking at the design on my computer, I can’t make the wrong ones.

It wasn’t even supposed to be perfect. It was meant to get myself acquinted with the process and to learn how to work with inDesign. It was meant as an affordable give away to friends, family or who else might be interested. To bring something digital into the physical world and see how (if) it holds up. I liked the idea of a ‘zine’ being an easy accessible way to achieve all that. But it doesn’t take away the threshold.

I received an email the other day from a Spanish digital platform that was interested in publishing either this series or Take me someplace nice. I chose the latter. It might have been my only chance to get Monotone published, and I’m partial to this series simply because it’s new, but it didn’t feel quite right. I didn’t think it is a particular good match with the context and the layout of the platform, and I also realized that this series is primarily conceived as a printed object. If it ever appears on a website that is not my own, I would like to complement it with print. Not that this lowers the threshold in any way.

Temporary homes

April 06, 2021

The houses in this vacation park are part privately owned holiday homes, part semi-permanent homes for immigrant workers. Others were vacant, since the park is about to be ‘discontinued’ within a couple of years. It wasn’t too hard to tell them apart, going by garden furniture and decorations, vehicles on the drive way, and the curtains and blinds in the windows. I wanted to photograph them though as if they could have been any of those houses. Or at least allow some ambivalence.  

Het Roeckenbosch. Blitterswijck, Limburg, The Netherlands.