I remember buying my first camera when I was around nine years old. It was a simple silver-plastickish compact camera with fixed focus. I think I got it at our local drugstore for 10 guilders. I don’t recall why but I really wanted it and felt very content once I had it in my hands.
For some unknown reason this wasn’t the start of my glorious photographic career. And even when I would often grab my dad’s Minolta X-700 to hear the magnificent sound of its shutter and mirror, it did not came to my mind, neither my parents’, I might really really like photography in such a way I could actually do something with it.
In fact, it wasn’t until after I finished high school, photography came on my path again for real. At the end of high school I was clueless about what I wanted to do. I loved painting but sucked massively at it. Couldn’t get on paper what I had in my head. Quite frustrating. My parents took me to this guy with a pendulum who helped people choosing and switching careers. I had to write down all sorts of professions (housewife was one of them..guess how that panned out..) only to find out that it was photography I had to make my life’s purpose about. So, a leaflet about a study in photography fell in our mailbox and off I went; to Syntra Hasselt to make my first real encounter with photography.
I started out with black-and-white film photography, developing and printing until I bought a digital SLR somewhere in 2003. I lost myself in Photoshop only to find it got boring and I was missing something in my photography. Not just regarding the look and feel of the images, but also in the process of creating them.
Per accident I then stumbled upon the wet plate collodion process, where you make images on glass using a self-made light sensitive emulsion. It was love on first sight.
The lith printing process seemed like a good alternative to traditional darkroom printing. Van Dyke printing followed later on, using digitally enlarged negatives to make contact prints on paper, also using self-made emulsions.
These historical processes appeal to me because they make you go back in time where nothing is to be taken for granted and a slow pace is warranted. This slow pace makes you live each moment more intense, as opposed to the volatile character of modern society.
I also wander a lot. It’s like getting lost but then on purpose, in order to flee from society and the world, or more precise, its compulsiveness. The melancholic feel in my images is inherent to the processes I use and aesthetic choices I make to create them. They articulate my feelings of sadness this world gives me, combined with the inability to make myself feel at home in it, besides the place I live in. The Germans have the most beautiful and comprehensive word for this state of mind: Weltschmerz.
Feel free to visit me at the following places: