Forest dreaming

2009, Photography

A camera is there is there to capture a moment, it is a tool that should help you to interpret your vision. Not always did I had the feeling like recently that the camera became an extension of me to catch something within me.

My son has autism. Most of his symptoms deal with social interaction, restrictions in understanding communication (in particular non verbal communication), theory of mind, and very distinctive interests (like dinosaurs, trains and Lego). One particular symptom is his difficulty in prioritizing and picking up details. What he considers important will often not be of any significance to us. That can cause anxiety, fear, panic, enjoyment, and pleasure. His own world! A complex world hard to comprehend for us. My next series is my interpretation of this complexity, dealing with too many information.

Forest dreaming by Wouter Brandsma

Forest dreaming by Wouter Brandsma

Forest dreaming by Wouter Brandsma

Forest dreaming by Wouter Brandsma

Forest dreaming by Wouter Brandsma

Forest dreaming by Wouter Brandsma

Forest dreaming by Wouter Brandsma

Forest dreaming by Wouter Brandsma

Forest dreaming by Wouter Brandsma

Forest dreaming by Wouter Brandsma

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

18 thoughts on “Forest dreaming

  1. Great series, Wouter, and I completely get the idea you are trying to communicate! I teach philosophy, and for some reason, a number of my colleagues over the years have had Asperger’s syndrome. I once rented the house of one of these colleagues while they were on sabattical, and the obvious interest in amazing details was fascinating, if a little alien. I remember a drawer divided into compartments, in which screws and nails that had obviously been picked up from the street were arranged in order of size and design, and arranged into meticulous swirling patterns of strange and rare beauty.

  2. This can be an interesting conceptual approach- but if you haven’t told us where you were coming from, I would have still enjoyed these images a lot! I find them extremely fresh and exciting. The small sensor cameras have unique close up possibilities often used for the most mundane: bugs and flowers boring to death…These images are different. Abstract and surreal. Recently you have been trying so many different cameras and I am amazed how quickly you adopt to all of them.

  3. Let me continue from above (after the first sentence)
    A lot of artists (or I should say so-called artists) try way too hard to inject meaning to their work. I know that you haven’t woken up yesterday morning saying to yourself: Ok, I need a “project”. So what do I have? My son is autistic. Let’s do that. Ok, and I also need a catchy name for the work: Blurry Reality…blah blah etc etc…
    I am interested to hear the process that led you there, but I will speculate:
    You probably discovered the clues of your recent thoughts, worries and preoccupations about your son “hidden” somewhere in your work.
    I think this is what makes the conceptual meaning powerful. The sincereness and truth to actual emotions. Not a “project”. Maybe this is the ultimate form of empathy: father trying to understand the world from the eyes of his son…
    I should also add: The later you discover the relationship, the better for the work. I believe the best work would be the one produced during the unconscious phase. So I think you might have a problem now! But I trust your artistic integrity!

    1. Well Rondo, when I think of it I consider much of my work influenced by the fact that my son has autism. My landscape work was my attempt to relate back to less confusing times. I tried to appreciate the beauty around us. With the photographs with simple forms I tried to stay away from the daily complexity concerning the relationship we have with our son. I also started a long time project to photograph my son and capture his expressions (although I am not sure what I will do with those photographs or even know how long that project will take).

      But always were these photographs my personal feelings dealing with it. For long I had a project previsualized in my head after an incidental misfocused photograph. A project to express the chaos and information handling within him. I knew it wouldn’t take long since I have been taking these photographs for so long in my mind. Yesterday all pieces felt together.

      Sometimes you are not aware of it, but are you already unconsciously working on something meaningful.

      Thank you Rondo!

  4. Hum….”Sometimes you are not aware of it, but you are already unconsciously working on something meaningful.”

    Sounds not unlike something you might have said during our recent exchange of e-mails. And I think you may be on to something here…

  5. This is an outstanding series Wouter, so different from your usual work but of exceptional quality. The grainy b&w pictures work very well.

    I did not get round to comment more on your recent work with the different cameras and I know you are someone who likes to use one camera but your work changed in a positive way with every camera you used.

  6. Dude these are fantastic. I like all of them but I am particularly drawn to the last one (barbed wire). Such a simple object, but complex. Based on what I see in your pictures I can tell you understand and love your son very much. 😉


  7. Amazing set of pictures. It’s a different way to see the world because it takes effort to see the world like that and to be able to communicate what it is for your son to see through the use of these pictures is a great way to do it.

    1. And I still hardly understand his world. He almost never explains or describes it. His play, interest, fear, joy, and panicking gives us a preview of his life. Very unique. And most of all I am surprised how much my 4 year old daughter tries to understand him too.

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