A true story…

I can still remember like it was yesterday. I was walking down the street and suddenly a black cat crossed over. Although I’m not superstitious, I do not want to tempt fate. I tried to stop the cat before he reached the other side. Afraid for the unlikely but nevertheless very real chance that I would be struck by lightning or any other uncommon but lethal accident. A flower pot could suddenly fall from the sky on my head. Or I might stumble into a manhole without a cover. Actually, I can image lots of these ‘accidents’ with unfortunate endings. So why would I take a chance with destiny?

I started running like crazy. To try to reach the other side before the cat did. A matter of pure speed and agility on my part and (hopefully) sheer surprise on his part. The cat was so shocked by my sudden movement that he stopped in his tracks wondering what the hell I was doing. But before he realized what was happening, I had reached the the other side already.

My mission was successful. I outwitted the black cat and I outwitted fate. And there we were, standing like statues, looking at each other .

And this is the part where most people walk away because they do not believe me. But on the grave of the cat, I swear this is a true story!

This is what happened. The cat looked straight at me and beckoned me with its paw. At first I thought it was a pure random movement, but there, he did it again! Come here he signaled me….

At the risk of of sounding like a compulsive neurotic idiot, I believe that if you walk up to a black cat, it does not have the same effect as when one crosses your path. You are namely the one that takes action instead of the cat. The laws of accidental fatal events do not apply in this scenario. Anyway, I’m not superstitious, so I walked to the cat.

I should have known better. I was less than three footsteps away and I was already hit by a passing car. I was stone-dead.

I was told later that I was still conscious for a few minutes, but it didn’t last long. They took me with the animal ambulance to the vet, but I had already given up this earthly life before the vet could reanimate me. I was just another stray labrador that was hit by a speeding car.

Life and death, seem unfathomable. I expected that my light would extinguish and disappear into the big black nothing. But instead, my life-spark traveled through the great unknown.

After a journey that spans vast oceans of time and space, I ended up as a reincarnation of Edgar Verhoeven. Artist, bon vivant and professional dreamer.

I can remember everything from former self, but apart from that, I’m doing fine. Sometimes I have the urge to cry to the moon, but that’s it. Life’s been pretty good to me. Meanwhile, the cat and I have grown inseparable. Friends for life. Although he actually killed me, I’m still grateful for his presence.

My name is Edgar Verhoeven and this my world. If you are doubting any of my adventures  (and I do not blame you if this is the case), you can always have a look at my photographs…..



In Dutch:

Ik kan het me nog als de dag van gisteren herinneren. Ik liep over straat en daar stak ineens een zwarte kat over. Alhoewel ik niet bijgelovig ben, wil ik het lot niet tarten.  Ik probeerde de kat ervan te weerhouden zijn pad te vervolgen. Bang voor de onwaarschijnlijke doch zeer aanwezige kans dat ik door een toevallige dodelijke gebeurtenis getroffen zou worden. Zoals een bloempot die opeens vanuit de lucht op je hoofd valt. Of een putdeksel die los zit en zodat je meters diep naar beneden valt. Ik kan me nog een heleboel andere toevallige gebeurtenissen voorstellen die akelig aflopen. Dus voorkomen is beter dan genezen zeg ik altijd?


Ik zette het op een sprinten. Ik probeerde voorlangs de kat te komen, voordat hij de straat over was. Een kwestie van pure snelheid en behendigheid mijnerzijds en pure verassing zijnerzijds. De kat was zo geschrokken van mijn plotselinge spurt dat hij stokstijf bleef staan, zich afvragend waar ik in hemelsnaam mee bezig was. Maar voordat hij doorhad wat er aan de hand was, stond ik al aan de overkant.

Ik had het gered, mijn missie was geslaagd. k was ‘m te slim af.  Triomfantelijk mag ik wel zeggen.  En daar stonden we dan, aan weerszijden van de straat.

En dit is het gedeelte waar de meeste mensen afhaken, omdat ze het niet geloven, maar op het graf van de kat, ik zweer dat dit werkelijk waar gebeurt is.

Hij keek me recht aan en wenkte me met zijn voorpoot. Eerst dacht ik dat het een pure willekeurige beweging was, maar hij deed het nog een keer. Kom dichterbij leek de kat te wenken.

Op het gevaar af dat ik als een dwangmatige neuroot overkom, geloof ik erin dat als jij naar een zwarte kat toeloopt, dit niet hetzelfde effect heeft als een zwarte kat die je pad kruist. Jij bent namelijk diegene die actie onderneemt in plaatst van de kat. De wetten der toevallige dodelijke gebeurtenissen gelden volgens deze logica dan niet meer. Maar goed, ik ben niet bijgelovig, dus ik liep naar de kat toe.

Ik had beter moeten weten. Ik was nog geen meter onderweg en ik werd al geschept door een voorbijkomende auto. Hij heeft me morsdood gereden.

Het schijnt dat ik nog wel een paar minuten bij bewustzijn was, maar het heeft niet geholpen. Met de dieren ambulance werd ik naar de dierenarts gebracht, echter voordat hij me kon reanimeren, had ik de geest al gegeven. Ik was gewoon de zoveelste loslopende labrador die was aangereden.

Het leven en de dood, blijken ondoorgrondelijk. In plaats dat mijn levenslicht uitdoofde en verdween in het grote niets, ben ik als een vonk door ruimte en tijd gereisd, waar ik na een ogenschijnlijke eeuwigheid

ben terechtgekomen als reïncarnatie van Edgar Verhoeven. Kunstenaar, levensgenieter en dromer pur sang.

Ik heb nog wel eens de aanstekelijke drang om naar de maan te huilen, maar verder dan dat gaat het eigenlijk best wel goed met me. De kat en ik zijn inmiddels onafscheidelijk.  Vrienden door dik en dun. Ik denk wel dat er bij de kat een soort van schuldgevoel aan ten grondslag ligt bij onze vriendschap. Maar goed, ik ben toch dankbaar voor zijn aanwezigheid.

Mijn naam is Edgar Verhoeven en dit is de wereld waarin ik leef. Mocht je enige twijfel hebben aan de dingen die ik mee maak (en ik neem het je niet kwalijk als dit het geval is), heb ik altijd de foto’s nog als bewijs……



A website that is going to publish an article about me, asked me for a biography and I realised that I didn’t have one!

So I wrote one and here it is….

Early childhood

I was born in 1970, in the Netherlands in a town called Dordrecht.

When I was about 11 years old, I can remember that I ‘borrowed’ my fathers 8mm film camera. I tried to make a sort of special effects ‘movie’. The idea was that a friend of mine would act as if he was a magician casting a spell. He was waving his hands around an object in a mysterious way. I would stop filming and my friend would stay completely still. Like a frozen statue. Then I would remove the object and started filming again upon which my friend started waving his arms again. When you looked at the complete scene it would appear that the object vanished into thin air.

It was magical….. Well at least to me, because when my father found out that I had messed with his expensive film, he wasn’t too happy.

The lost days

Fast forward ten years into the future…..I was studying physics. To be honest, I wasn’t too happy back then. It took me a year to find out that physics wasn’t just for me. I was looking for the ‘secret’ of the universe, for the wonder of it, but somehow studying physics didn’t give me the answers I was looking for.

After quitting physics, I really didn’t have a clue what I should be doing next?

So, I took a psychological test that evaluates who you are and what you would like to do as a profession. It turned out that I should be a photographer or a painter. I couldn’t believe it! That was something I never rationally considered. Sure I fooled around with a camera as a kid, but that was just playing. I thought it was ridiculous. Not only me, but my father expected me to study something ‘significant’. Art wasn’t significant in his opinion. An artist has no money, has no future. His idea was that I should succeed in life. Be a businessman or somebody important. It was okay to do photography as a hobby. But I should get a serious job. A responsible job. Fun was something for on the side.

So I ignored the results from the psychology test. I ignored my intuition. And most crucial of all I ignored having fun and went on to study…… psychology.

At this point you might ask, why psychology? I’m not sure if I have an answer. Perhaps on a subconscious level I was seeking for a meaning in life. An existentialist undercurrent perhaps.

Once in a while my creative side took over. So I took another sharp turn and studied electric guitar at the Conservatory for a year. But finally I finished my psychology studies and went on to work as an……..ITC consultant.

Sounds logical right? Those were the lost days…..

Finding Meaning

Fast forward another fifteen years. I was having that career that is supposed to be the holy grail of modern times. I wasn’t still too happy though. I just couldn’t figure out why? I was successful in life after all? But that’s a matter of how you define ‘success’.

Luckily things started to come together when I met the love of my life. Not only did I fall in love with this wonderful woman, she also happened to be a hobby photographer with a real SLR camera!

Still attracted to the medium, I ‘borrowed’ her camera. First I borrowed it occasionally, later on this became indefinitely. I was feeling like a kid again. I was having such a good time that I frequently lost track of time. After a photography course, I decided to follow my intuition for once and follow up on that advice that was given to me so many years ago. So I went to the Photo Academy in Rotterdam.

It was here that I ‘rediscovered’ my true ‘meaning’ in life. The lost days were over. I realized that it has to do with following your heart. Do the things that you love to do. It also has to do with being a child again. You see, when I was young I wasn’t dreaming of a career, a mortgage or a judicious paycheck. I don’t think any kid dreams of these sort of things. But fore some reason or another that’s what you’ll end up doing. Chasing money.

But……although I was studying photography, it was still not completely what I wanted to do. You see, as a photographer you are more or less expected to take photographs of the ‘real’ world. But I soon found out that I wasn’t interested in reality. I was interested in the exact opposite. I wanted to catch that feeling of childhood wonder again.

Photography alone could not satisfy my needs. I mean, how do you take photographs of something that doesn’t exist?

Here’s where the computer comes in. It is this combination of photography and 3D computer imagery that makes it complete for me. It’s not only a matter of retouching a photograph or making a collage in Photoshop. It goes much further than that. It’s creating something that doesn’t exist in the first place and as real as possible.

Finding form

I have graduated from the Photo Academy in 2012. It’s here that I developed my own way of photography. My own way of looking at the world. But graduation is not the end of it. Quite the contrary, I have just begun my exploration. Thankfully it’s a vast universe to be explored.

What I have come to realize is that making a good image is staying true to yourself. It’s your own experience, imagination, fears, dreams and contemplations that make up an image.

Come to think of it, I’m not sure if what I’m doing can be considered photography. Not in the traditional meaning of the word anyway. Not only because I combine photography, image manipulation and 3D computer graphics. That’s just a technical thing. More importantly it’s because I place reality in a different perspective by creating a ‘hyperreality’ of sorts. A place where a sense of wonder is still allowed. I question reality, I question our usefulness and artificiality in our lives. It’s an existentialist journey perhaps. It’s about finding meaning.

So I have come full circle now. It took me some time to figure it out…. but finally I’m at that same ‘place’ when I was eleven years old. The only difference is that I have a few years of life experience that I can put into an image. My search for wonder continues, but now I have a medium to accompany me on my inner travels.

Young contemporary art

I think it was a year ago, that I stumbled upon a book called “The Upset: young contemporary art”. I didn’t know it then, but it was going to have an impact on what I was doing with photography.

I was just walking in this bookstore, heading for the photography section, because I wanted to buy a book on photography techniques. While I was making my way through the bookstore, my eye caught this glimpse of  a tree trunk with an eye in it. It took a few seconds, before this image got processed in my brain, but when it did, it made me stop. I walked back to where I saw this tree trunk and  this is what I saw:












Mark Ryden – The Apology


It was the cover of the book I just mentioned.

I don’t know why it made me stop, but it did. I’m trying to think of a rational explanation, but it was more of a feeling than anything else. Something started to ‘ resonate’, but what?

First of all, I think it is beautifully painted. But what struck me was that it has this child like quality to it. Almost cartoonish. Perhaps because you see a young girl, but it also evokes a sense of wonder and mystery you’d normally wouldn’t see in a piece of art. It’s almost fairytale like, but with a darkness commonly not associated with fairytales (at least the Disney version of it).

Also I normally I don’t associate figurative paintings with contemporary art. But here it is,  a ‘strange’ image in my hands  and something is shifting in my brain.

According to the book, Mark Ryden belongs to this art movement called “lowbrow” or “pop-surrealism”. It’s a movement that has it’s roots in the underground scene. In street art, Graffiti etc. It’s called “lowbrow” because it is the opposite of “highbrow”, meaning fancy, sophisticated, elitist or intellectual. It’s an form of art that developed outside the ‘academic’ world of the arts. To me it sounded more basic, more primal. Perhaps in a sense more real.

This book was like some sort of catalyst for me. A year and a half ago I was thinking really hard on what sort of photographer I wanted to be. Is it commercial photography? Art Photography? Documentary? Fashion? I was really looking hard for an identity. And here I was confronted with highly skilled artists that make all of these images filled with a sense of wonder. Artists who are still in touch with that ‘magical world’  we inhabit as young children. They still have that ability to see wonder around us.

It wasn’t a grand revelation or anything. But slowly I realised that I really had to follow my own dreams and visualise them. In part their work made me focus on what I wanted to do with my photography.

So instead of buying this photography techniques book, I bought this book, with all of these wonderful artists. Perhaps one of the best buys I ever did.

I have added more pieces of art by other artists in this book. You can see them below. I  hope you enjoy them. If you want to see more work you can find these here:






Martin Witthfoot - Occupy











Martin Witthfooth – Occupy


Ray Caesar-DayBreak

















Ray Caesar – Daybreak


Femke Hiemstra - Line Of Faith












Femke Hiemstra – Line Of Faith





I have a dream

The early days

I’m a dreamer. I’ve always been one. I can remember, when I was a kid, I would play in the woods with a friend of mine. We imagined that it was an ancient dark forest with all sorts of otherworldly creatures lurking in the dark awaiting to be slain by our skillful hands holding self-made wooden swords.  After a day playing outside we rode off into the sunset on our magic bikes, back in time for dinner. Oh yes, there was something called “school”, but we did that on the side so to speak. That was something your parents put a lot of emphasis on for some reason or another. But aside from that, it was a great time. The world was full of adventure. You just had to look and pretend it was there.

Somewhere along the line we seem to loose this ability.  When you grow up, the world is slowly revealing itself for what it is. Before you know it, we are stuck with the mundane reality. “Keeping you’re head in the clouds is not good for you”, my father used to say. Somehow you are implicitly expected to leave that magical world behind.  Fantasies are not serious and it’s a serious world out there. I had to prepare for the future. So eventually play made way for work, career, mortgage, responsibility, a pension, etc.

Present day

So where are we now?  We are living for the most part in a demystified world. But that’s not because there’s no mystery left. It’s because we don’t allow ourselves to see it. We have replaced it by a 24 hour economy. You see, we live pretty comfortable lives. But in order to do so we have to be productive. At least 40 hours a week and probably more. Our economy is based on growth. This means that in order to grow, our society needs to work harder. We have to be more efficient and systematic. Therefore the pace of life speeds up tremendously. It’s a pretty demanding force. So here we are, running around like crazy. Consuming like there’s no tomorrow. But eventually somethings gotta give.

De-rationalize yourself

Somewhere deep inside there’s a voice. It’s very weak at first, almost inaudible. I didn’t realize it was there and it took me a while to be aware of that voice. But when you really listen it’s starts to grow. Louder and louder. Until you cannot ignore it any longer. This voice is saying that there is something missing. That there’s no room for wonder and amazement anymore. It is confined to the realm of childhood. Myths and legends belong to the past. You can blame society and progress, but it starts within ourselves. With a different way of looking. Perhaps a different way of experiencing. In a way you have to  “de-rationalize” yourself. Stop running around and stop consuming to fill that hole. It starts with getting in touch with that ability that we have lost.

So that’s what I’m doing. I have a dream. I have many dreams in fact. I haven’t forgotten. I can see them as clear as day. I don’t know where it is taking me. But I have to ‘catch’ these images and show them. Hopefully people will stop for a little while with their hectic lives and perhaps I can make them remember too.

I’m a dreamer, I’ve always been one………and always will be.

Dreaming with the camera

The following is a post written by Rommert Boonstra, a Dutch photographer and poet. He is known to be the one of the founders of imaginative photography in the Netherlands.

The post below is written in Dutch.



Over de wereld doen twee geruchten de ronde. Het ene luidt dat het einde der tijden nabij is en het andere dat we een gouden toekomst tegemoet gaan.
Een gouden toekomst vol ondergang en verval zou misschien een goed compromis zijn.
Blijft de vraag- Is er vooruitgang? Of gaan we met bekwame spoed achteruit? Lopen we hard of lopen we dood?

Er zijn in de geschiedenis van de wereld 39 Ferrarari’s 250 GTO geproduceerd. Ze gaan een stuk sneller dan de strijdwagen waarin Ben Hur zich verplaatste. Dat zou vooruitgang kunnen zijn. Behalve als je door zo’n Ferrari op topsnelheid geschept wordt. Voor de paarden had je misschien nog weg kunnen springen.

Ik heb ook bij de plofkip naar positieve ontwikkelingen geïnformeerd, bij een depressieve wegsmeltend ijskap, bij de glorieus oprukkende Sahel woestijn en bij een geleerde die net duizelig uit de deeltjesversneller tevoorschijn kwam. De antwoorden waren zeer divers.

Het grote voordeel van ondergang en verval is in ieder geval dat ze heilzaam zijn voor de kunst. Zie het prachtige werk van Edgar Verhoeven. Het sombere en het hilarische gaan hand in hand. Als we ten onder gaan, dan gaan we in ieder geval vol vrolijke verbazing ten onder.

If you are interested in Rommert Boonstra’s work, see the following link:


You’re a fake….part 2

Here are the results from last weeks’ Blog.

The question was if you could tell which images were photographed and which images were ‘ fake’ or computer generated images (CGI).

Well I’ve been cheating a little bit. Actually all images were generated by the computer and none of them were photographed! I’ve included some images that had an overtly processed look and included some that looked realistic (to me at least).

If you could tell that all the images were fake, you have to tell me how you did it….Some of those images are so convincing to me, that it opens op some philosophical discussions about the nature of reality.

There’s a saying: “the camera never lies”. The use of Photoshop has changed this perspective on how we look at photographs and the manipulation of photographs. But what if the photograph isn’t manipulated at all, but wasn’t taken in the first place? What does that say? I’ll save this discussion for another time.

But for now, I promised to tell you who made the computer generated images. And here’s the list:


Image 1:

Artist: “Abner”

Software: Blender/ Yafaray

Image 2:

Artist: Andrew Price

Software: Blender


Image 3:

artist: Hervé Steff

Software: Maxwell Render

Image 4:

Artist: “Sadaj72”

Software: Blender/ Luxrender

Image 5:

Artist: Dan Abrams

Software: Maxwell Render


Image 6:


Artist: Linus Schneider

Software: Maxwell Render


You’re a fake….

Lately I’ve been experimenting with 3D rendering and how to combine this with photography.

I use an open source program for my 3D experiments called  ‘Blender’. I have to say this is a really wonderful program. Although I cannot compare it to other professional 3D packages out there, because I haven’t used them, it’s a really powerful tool that can produce photo realistic images.

Photo realism you say? Well yes……if you are really good 3D rendering that is. This raises some philosophical questions, that I will discuss another other time, but for now I’d like to present you with a quiz. Can you determine which of these next five images are real photographs or are 3D renders? Which images are the fake photographs?  I will give you the answer next time, but for now:


Image 1:


Image 2:


Image 3:


Image 4:


Image 5:


Image 6:


If you know which images are real, post the answer in a comment below. Next week I’ll give you the answers and the people who made these images.