News:

For the moment I have put all my other projects on hold so I can concentrate on “Shades of Grey”. All participants have been photographed and at present I’m preparing the images for their first exhibition on 5 May 2010 in Wageningen where they will be presented on a large screen during the big celebrations there. Also NOS television has asked me to take part in their 5 May broadcast and to exhibit the images either in a ‘Liberty Train’ or at the Railwaystation of Wageningen. And after that the work will need a more permanent place to stir the viewers’ thoughts.

Shades of Grey

After WWII all parties involved found their own way to ‘remember’. 
Now, almost 65 years later, many veterans have found the strength to re-establish their opinions. They have come to see that there’s no need to keep each other down in an everlasting struggle. The only way to move on is to let go, if only a little…. To reach this point the ones who have proved to be courageous and strong had to win an other, very personal, battle. I think it shows enormous strength of emotion and character to concur their pain and grief and come to a point where the future matters more then the past. New generations, our generation, can only borrow their memories and emotions to form our opinion. Because we don’t have such memories of our own, we don’t feel much need to re-establish them either. And if we forget to realize this, we will be stuck with an opinion that dates back to 1945. And all too soon there won’t be anyone left to put things in perspective. Except for the men who form the core of this photoproject “Shades of Grey”. It deals with the human capacity to make up our own minds. To weigh our own norms and values and to decide for ourselves. Of course the projects’ point of view refers directly to the men in the pictures. Each of them, before, during or after the war, was confronted with this question and their response to it was of enormous consequence. 
Men who once were each others opponents, Dutch and German, again found courage and look us straight in the eye, asking us what we think. What we really think. To take a moment and look inside, to reply with our own voice instead of that of general- or popular opinion.

Shades of Grey - The making of.

While looking for German and Dutch veterans who’d want to participate in this project I met up with two groups who have been promoting reconciliation for many years. One of them is the German-British “Lee-Baltser” group who have been meeting for over 40 years. A large part of this group is “Flieger Kreis West”, a Luftwaffe group from the Ruhr area who have volunteered for the project without exception.

The other group revolves around the annual commemoration in Haelen, Holland, where all nationalities who have crossed this area at one point in the war, come together to promote tolerance. I have spent a week with both groups and added a selection of images to create a background for the actual project.

In addition to this I hope to visit the Teutoburgerwald this year and witness the ceremony that’s been held there from 1946 until now between German and British soldiers who made their own truce before the end of the war. But more of that later.

News:

To prepare my projects takes a lot of time. Not all actual action, there’s so much to consider and investigate. And because I’m very often depending on the time and availability of other people I work at several projects at once. At the moment my main projects are:

Studio

Ow yes! As per 1 Feb 2009 I’ll be the proud renter of a huge mess! And after I’ve cleaned it up and fixed what needs to be fixed I’ll open my own studio in Veenendaal by the end of March!
There will be 4 sections: In the back there’s room for make-up and coffee. Then there’s room enough for a huge studio floor. Moving on to the front there’s a nice area for my computer and me and right in front of my enormous window is the PERfect area for a small gallery where I’ll exhibit the work of an international group of young and very talented photographers.

News

The doors wont open! Argh! Ow horror. The frontdoors operate on electricity and there’s a yet unidentified power failure. I hope they’ll fix it soon …

Shades of Grey – Faces of the Second World War.

After WWII all parties involved found their own way to ‘remember’.
Now, almost 65 years later, many veterans have found the strength to re-establish their opinions. They have come to see that there’s no need to keep each other down in an everlasting struggle. The only way to move on is to let go, if only a little…. To reach this point the ones who have proved to be courageous and strong had to win an other, very personal battle. I think it shows enormous strength of emotion and character to concour their pain and grief and come to a point where the future matters more then the past.
New generations, our generation, can only borrow their memories and emotions to form our opinion. Because we don’t have such memories of our own we don’t feel much need to re-establish them either. And if we forget to realize this, we will be stuck with an opinion that dates back to 1945. And all too soon there won’t be anyone left to put things in perspective. Except for the men who form the core of this photoproject  “Shades of Grey”.
It deals with the human capacity to make up our own minds. To weigh our own norms and values and to decide for ourselves.
Of course the projects’ point of view refers directly to the men in the pictures. Each of them, before, during or after the war, was confronted with this question and their response to it was of enormous consequence.
Men who once were each others opponents, Dutch and German, again found  courage and look us straight in the eye, asking us what we think.
What we really think. To take a moment and look inside to reply with our own voice instead of that of general or popular opinion.

News

Things are moving on fast now! Thanks to the help of Ria Schmieder of the Leudal monument in Haelen I finally found a small group of German veterans who are willing to cooperate.
As for the Dutch veterans … there’s the ‘Veteransday’ on 27/7 where I will be given the chance to photograph WWII veterans in a special ‘studio-tent’.
To make sure each and every one there knows about this there will be an article in the May issue of “Checkpoint”, a Dutch veterans magazine.
Then there’s the amazing General Hemmes who’s happy to help and see if and how we can set up a ‘photoboot’ at several reunions. He is very worried about the veterans who would not cooperate with my project. It’s not given to all to reach this point, sometimes the pain and the grief are too overwhelming. So he’s got me thinking of a way to side-track this harsh confrontation a bit. I haven’t quite figured it out but I wont let it got ‘till it’s ‘covered ground’.

Can you Survive Fashion – a joint project with Debbie Roozenboom.

What will you let fashion do to you before you die.
The shoot with Kim was great! She and Danny have been selected to be our models for this project. And Django Steenbakkers’ dress did well too! A stunning piece, clearly not made for skinny girls. Retouching, reorganizing, rescheduling too!

News

Finally we got ‘round to fixing ‘paperdoll Kim’ wont be long now ‘till we can send out our second call for ‘desiners attention’

The other side – of society. All our fears exposed.

Miss Electra didn’t win the crown last 22 November at the Dutch Drag Queen contest 2008. It would have looked so good with her princess-gown and to me she’s the Queen of Queens anyway! The shoot we did was short and snappy but looking the way she does it only takes a couple of shots to get it right. It will be a lot harder to get her ‘other side’.Next on my list is a 2 m tall kickboxing work of tattoo-art…
As soon as I have 3 or more combinations, I’ll put them up here… but that might take a little while!

Totems

actors and singers exposing their “inner animal”.

News

Marillion’s singer Steve Hogarth turned out to be a true Celtic animal. His intensity and vibe don’t need ‘tagging’. Very much ‘in the moment’ and a head and heart swirling with ideas, thoughts and magic plans. Wow!
Now lets try Huub van der Lubbe again! See if we have a Dutch equivalent.

Rats

The nasty streak of Redheads.

News

JJ was my first (and so far) only guy in this project and we did our shoot mid-january. A lucky shot that turned out nicely but we might try again once the studio is up and running! For Jolanda we’re looking for a rooftop with cityview in Nijmegen and for Amy we’re looking for a classy hallway … anyone?!