Definition of done
20 March, 2022

Tuindorp is my first long term photographic project. Not scrambled together afterwards, drawn from multiple sources, but conceived as such from the outset. ‘Conceived’ perhaps is too big a word, since I never really knew what I wanted from it, or what story to tell. Or how to incorporate the concept of ‘time’ into the project. And ‘time’ is certainly something to consider. Not just because I shot these pictures over a time span of two years, but also, or mostly, because time is part of the subject: this neighbourhood is gradually being demolished.

I like many of these pictures, but I think as a project it’s flawed. There is no real sense of time passing. Surely you can see the seasons changing, but only if you are observant enough, because it’s all monochrome, and even the sunniest days are rather grey. And yes, it’s a garden village, so even in winter there are plenty of leaf-bearing trees and bushes. The state of these houses and gardens doesn’t tell you much either about any development over time, because there have always been parts deserted and parts inhabited since I first visited the area. 

Then what does it tell me? Or anyone else who is looking at these pictures. In fact I see a status quo, downtime, stagnation. I often felt that the seasons changed faster than the demolishing of the neighbourhood, that is slowed down by all sorts of procedures and lawsuits. The greens can’t be bothered by any plan or purpose though, they grow as they like, even in cleared out gardens. This is where life goes on against all odds, in this particular place and in a certain time frame, waiting for things to come. Perhaps this is what this series is about, intentionally or not. 
Is it enough? I mean that literally as well. When is a project done? I think it’s about now. When I look at the pictures, I still feel it needs a greater variety in terms of scale and distance. But after the last couple of visits, coming home with next to nothing, I don’t think I know how to pull that off. I feel I’m only repeating myself.

I was hoping for some snowfall this winter, a radically different atmosphere, to underline the changing of the seasons, when nothing else is changing much. That would be the only reason I can think of now to return to the area, but I don’t see that happening, not this year at least, and probably never.

I re-edited the selection here on the website. Added one or two photographs, dismissed a few others. Removed the hue and turned them into proper black and white. I suddenly felt that there was something inappropriately nostalgic about the slightly warm tone that I had put on top of the black and white layer.