Fabulous February

The dutch writer Frank Bokern has written a fantastic book about the Stokstraatkwartier, a small neighborhood in the center of Maastricht and, without a doubt, the most peculiar victim of the industrial revolution. At first, around 1840, the neighborhood belonged to the upper class, but soon became a melting pot for the workers, beggars and prostitutes, Crapuul as they say in Maastricht. The palaces turned into ruins that continued to be inhabited by the less fortunate. It took Maastricht over a 100 years to finally intervene, its approach however being draconian.

The inhabitants were being forced to move to ‘residential schools’, meant to turn them into ‘decent’ citizens. Today this still causes a stigma around the former residents and this book has greatly helped rehabilitating them by telling their story through extensive interviews with them.

Transport Artspace, situated at the Landbouwbelang, organizes an exhibition around the theme Crapuul and curator Corina Karstenberg came up with the brilliant idea to have me photograph the interviewees using wet plate collodion Namely, the process dates from the start of this book. The results will be shown during the weekend of the Museumnacht Maastricht, and the two following weekends. There will be a sequel in June with the writer of the book, Frank Bokern himself, being present.

During those weekends former residents will share their experiences in person and have an interaction with the public. I am honored to be a part of this and share this incredibly fascinating part of Maastrichter history. Today I have taken the first portraits, and at least three more days of shooting will follow in the next weeks. You’re not going to get a teaser; just be there at the opening, during the Museumnacht 🙂

And, last but not least, GAVE fund Maastricht has admitted to support this project so for the first time of my life it’s not all coming from my own pockets, which is great!

Also, I have been debating working less at the photo store where I work to earn the largest part of my living for years now. I’ve always worked there full-time, but also as a freelancer on the side and on my own projects on whatever side is left after that. Meaning I have very little time, and most importantly too little time for my own photography. So I finally pulled the trigger and killed one day at Rembrandt’s. I now work 4 days instead of 5, yes! This has been a huge step for me and surely feels good. New projects like the one above fill in those gaps quite neatly already 🙂 It’s so great being able to plan this without using up my evenings and Sundays.

I have also worked to renew the contents of my website. I think textually it’s a lot more obvious now what my work is all about. Feel free to have a look and let me know what you think.

A selection of images I have been making the last few months, a mix of Wet Plate and Monochrom:

There is more to come but not all things are a 100% final so I’ll save some for a post later on.

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