VOLKSKRANT MAGAZINE 13-2-2016
SO 2014 HONOURABLE MENTION

 

 

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By building a studio in a henhouse I entered a new world. The world of hens and roosters. I was immediately captivated by the way they walk and talk, look and behave. Dressed in beautiful feathers with a great variety of colours and patterns they walk gracefully as models on a catwalk, dance delicately like ballet dancers and move acrobatically like gymnasts. I was overwhelmed by what I saw and soon hens and roosters became a new source to refresh me after 25 years portraying people. Although I have changed subject my intentions are the same, I still want a portrait with a soul and fortunately hens and rooster proved to be very usefull in that respect. What at first felt as a disadvantage turned out to be an advantage, because hens and roosters can’t be directed they don't act, hide, mask or pretend either. Hens and roosters just simply show themselves naturally and beautifully, and photographing became unexpected, exciting and out of control. I was impressed by these little feathered creatures who had the power to tell me to be patient and to wait for the right moment. Although their beauty was within reach, it wasn’t easy to catch in a portrait. The first obstacle was that hens and roosters fly away, and shit and piss during a photoshoot and I had to chase my model regularly or clean my set. The second was, it all happened so quickly and their movements were so unexpected that I pressed frequently the shutter release button to late or to early. Or the flash and digital back were not ready when I pressed. The third barrier was the manual focus which caused a lot of images with sharpness in front of or behind the subject. A fixed working distance was the solution and I followed their movements as if I was attached to them with an invisable thread. Moving forward and backwards, to the left and right, the shoots looked like a dance accompanied by flashlights and the rhythm of the sounds of their cackling and crowing. Thinking back I had a great time with hens and roosters. Their presence is enchanting and refreshing and as often as I could I drove to the countryside and found peace in a henhouse. Hens and roosters have been very generous to me and I am very gratefull to them. They taught me the most important lesson in life: who I am. And they supported me in a photo portrait series in which everything falls together in the right place and time. They made me the happiest photograper on earth and this is only the beginning...
I have photographed 'Hens and Roosters' with the support of the Dutch paultree society and the Dutch Pautry museum in Barneveld, the Netherlands. I owe my sincere thanks and gratitude to the paultree breaders who warmly welcomed me and patiently supported me during the photoshoots, Gerrit Simmelink, Wim Diepenbroek, Robert Hoornstra, Piet Kroon, Ad and Wilma Taks, Rolinka Snijders, Ruud Kaasenbrood, Karel Fentsahm, Henk Fennema, Jo Otten, Adri van der Heijden, Joost Kaper and Rolf Ruiter.