The circle, maru in Japanese, is the most popular subject of calligraphy. When making an announcement in Japan, its best to paint it on a wall and surround it with a protective loop. The circle is strongly related to Zen Buddhism and believed to have magical properties – it can protect you from evil, bring mindfulness and purity to life.
I find this form of art highly aesthetic. In this photograph, taken in downtown Kyoto, you see a poster publicising a festival. I love that there is a bicycle parked outside, adding another layer of circularity. The viewers first sees the round poster, than turn their eyes to the bicycle wheels. The wooden house gives a feeling of cosiness. On the right, the viewer gets a glimpse of the obscure and mysterious entrance.
I used a Hasselblad 503CX, Zeiss Distagon 3.5/50 T* lens and Ilford FP4+ film.
Not surprisingly, the island of Norderney, keeps inspiring writers, painters and photographers. Its unique, because it changed very little since its settlement in 16th century and its strict environmental protection rules prevent the island from ‘tourist-induced’ alterations.
It’s flat, windy and stunning.
The area also stands out, on the global scale, as the second most productive ecosystem in the world, after the tropical rainforest. Wondering the empty beaches, it was refreshing to see no man-made infrastructure. You did come across huge trunks of trees, washed up on the beach, spiky seashells pinching your feet or vast flocks of birds, nesting on the shore, not even budging upon your arrival – they stay, you move.
The place is unusually food-rich, attracting thousands of animal and plant species. Grey seals occupy the sandbanks on the eastern end of the island of Norderney. Long stretches of dunes characterise the cost. I was told that there is one predator that is endangering this precious pillar of biodiversity, the bunny.
Back in the 19th century Prince Georg of Hannover, held court each summer on the island. During that time his female followers brought along bunnies for entertainment, probably also for consumption. Since then, the bunnies have settled on the island and form part of its habitat. They are also under protection, so no funny dinner ideas. In any case, they are the ones digging burrows in the dunes and endangering the fragile coastal ecosystem.
You’ll see in my photographs wind ridden trees, mudflats, salt marshes, sand dunes, birds and seals. Occasionally some people, gently blending into nature’s surroundings.
Did I mention Norderney is a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Car traffic is subject to strict regulations. Even bicycles are not allowed in certain areas. Take your walking shoes. Enjoy.
The Hague’s sandy beaches of Scheveningen attract the same carefreeness as you’d find on the shores of Spain or Greece. People didn’t mind my prying camera lens, too busy building castles and enjoying the sun. For these pictures, I used the Phase One digital medium format camera. Its perfect for dynamic scenery. The quality of prints and details captured is stunning.
I was going to Japan with high expectations, topped up with a sort of blend between samurai and hi-tech clichés. Unprepared for the travel, which was unquestionably too short anyway. The Hasselblad in my backpack was the only sure thing. First couple of days there, I was agitated then I let go. I came back with mixed feelings as to what exactly my impressions where. To my relief the real Japan unveiled before me in the darkroom. When I was pulling out the prints from the trays I finally processed what I experienced there.
Japan is beautiful in its everydayness, in its neatness, tradition, rules and soft mannered people.
This city is all about creativity. It doesn’t lack interesting subjects to capture on a film frame. I have some favorites in this catalogue. Have a look at the boy running in front of a brick wall or the late night picture with Peckham Afro Foods. London calling, no surprise.
As a photographer you hope for non-ordinary scenes that have something special. Walking the streets of Hong Kong I started documenting everyday life, fascinated by its simplicity and contrasts. What was striking was the ever present cycle of things, nothing goes to waste, new rubs shoulders with old, modern with traditional. This world is everything but linear. Its definitely special. My favorite picture – older man sitting with his back to the camera looking at the luxury cars passing by.