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….
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…..
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.
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.