week 47 | 2011

2011, Photography, Project, weekly project


When things get dark, everything we generally know and consider pretty much normal can become very odd. It can give such an eerie feeling which I do find quite fascinating. Sort of an alienating feeling, I presume.

In these dark days I always start to wonder how the next year will be.

The photographs do echo my feelings right now. Not depressing, but somehow full of uncertainties.

And sure, economically speaking things don’t look that great here in Europe (even not in the Netherlands). But I do know a lot of places have seen so much worse.

It means adapting to the new situation and not knowing where it ends. Although my feeling says it won’t be pretty.

Live by the day instead and focus on my family.

The photographs of this ongoing project will also be updated here.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

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30 thoughts on “week 47 | 2011

  1. Thanks for these Wouter. I agree on your comments with these photos. I am feeling much like you about our current economic realities and how important a strong family and friendships can be!

    1. There are certainly more important things in life. We kind of forgot the importance of family and replaced it with consumption and ultimately loans. Now we pay the price for that.

  2. Hello, Wouter:
    Your posting each week is a breath of fresh air for me–gives me a feeling of starting again–seeing the world a different way. I hope the holidays will revive happy thoughts for you and your family.–Best wishes, as ever, John Gregory
    ———————————————-

    1. I am filled too with happy thoughts and these thankfully are closely related to my family. And you can easily get caught in the negative spiral of bad news everyday.

      I do believe this financial/economical crisis is necessary. It is like a bush fire, that clears out the deadwood. Eventually it will all be better again.

  3. Pics #1 and #4 capture your sense of foreboding, Wouter. #4 with its eerie and slightly sinister feel is a masterful capture.

  4. These are utterly astonishing Wouter, and they echo a similar feeling that I have had growing in me for some time now…
    And I must just say that I also find the dark a fascinating place, how everything that’s so familiar suddenly transforms into something else, something a bit alien, and slightly warped. Yes, it’s a surreal place all right.

    Brilliant post.

  5. Oh my, what a strong set! I love the repeating shapes of the house and the fence and the mystery of the figure in #4 (coming or going?), and six is just amazing, like an illustration out of Dante or Goethe. Is it a reflection? I wonder if I would see the expression of the man with the dogs or the distortion through the eyeglass lens the same without the gravitational field of the other images. Great stuff.

  6. Hi, Wouter!
    I like your photos and your words. The photos show always a deep and strong inner view, which makes them very personal. And the words are a perfect match. I´ve been passing by your blog for quite some time but I´ve been to in a hurry or to lazy to write a comment… But this insightful text about the economic collapse of europe and the need to put priorities in the correct order, giving atention to what is realy important, catch my eye because it is exactly what I think in these troubled days. In Portugal, where I live, is certanly worse than in the Netherlands. The general feeling is that a war is about to begin (war for survival) that will send us decades behind. Anyway, I´ve recently give up watching the news to avoid beeing depressed… And I value and enjoy family time much more nowadays.
    I´m building a photoblog of my own for quite some time (it´s not open to public, yet because I want to get it right, and I´m not easily satisfied…) and you, I must say, are an inspiration!
    Thank you, and congratulations for you work.

    António Marques

    1. Hi António,

      I most certainly realize that I live in the currently still more fortunate site of Europe and can hardly imagine what people in Greece, Spain, and Portugal (and soon Italy) have to deal with. But this entire situation is a bit strange. I personally believe in a strong Europe and that it is the best for all of us. We’ve realized more prosperity throughout Europe after WWII. We have tragically witnessed some civil wars in Europe, but thankfully nothing compared to WWII. We saw the Cold War end and East and West Europe unite.

      But truth is that an united Europe comes at a price. The EC started to avoid the risk that one single country could pursue all resources in Europe, but one of those former “risk” countries, Germany, holds the key to Europe now.

      Within these uncertainties I have great respect for the Portugese. They face greater challenges now than we do in Northern Europe. But they take it. And family is important in such situation.

      And it is important to counterbalance everything. Photography can be meaningful as such. Keep me updated on your blog progress. All the best.

  7. 4 is your best work I’ve seen for a while. You’re at your best when you capture mood and emotion. Technically perfect shots lose everything that matters.

    1. #4 was a very interesting moment. There was this thick fog and this man with a head coming towards me (people don’t often wear a head here). The camera struggled to focus, but I really didn’t want to miss this moment. No matter what, I just wanted the silhouette. When I took the photograph I didn’t think I had it. Too slow shutter speed, not in focus, the movement.

      After a couple of days it kind of felt so different. Everything that would normally make such photograph useless, now kind of made it for me. I am usually not proud of a photograph, but I feel this way about this one.

  8. “No future is the new future,” I read somewhere today. That might be too cynical, but I do have my concerns about times to come. Not just economy wise, but also about the way people interact in Dutch society nowadays. Intolerant. Disrespectful.

    Luckily, we’ll always have our photography. To express our feelings, or as a welcome distraction.

    1. The past decade was in my opinion not the best political climate in the Netherlands. Many had become intolerant toward foreigners. Since the crisis the sentiment towards an united Europe has declined. I think it happens elsewhere too in Europe, but it is very noticeable in the Netherlands ’cause we used to be so tolerable and open-minded.

      I think however this process is unavoidable. History sort of always repeats it self. Prosperity is often followed by barbarian. We are a society in decline (not alone the Netherlands, but the entire West) and have to face the fact that other countries will take over our place.

      1. This situation provides us with the opportunity to take control in our own hands instead of large institutions. Family and friends are at the base I believe. We need to help each other instead of using money for that.

        And there is more to life than only worrying.

        1. It’s not just intolerance towards immigrants.

          Peope who are dealing with health issues for example, are seen as lazy parasites. Not just by “ordinary” people, but also by the authorities (and believe me, I know what I’m talking about).
          And what to think about the manager of our National Tax Office, who was overheard saying that he finds his older employees useless, a “lost generation”?

          The survival of the fittest. Of course, this is no new phenomenon. But the difference is that the current Dutch government legitimizes this way of thinking, by making it its official policy. And I do think that’s something to be worried about.

          1. The people currently in power define everything in terms of costs, but only for personal and short term benefit. And as long as people are not affected by it, they also won’t be bothered by it.

  9. I loved the shots, especially #4. Your thoughts about the economy resonate here in the USA too. Between the Occupy Wallstreet, and so many people losing their houses and jobs, it’s a mess over here. I’ve noticed over the course of this year the Zombie and Survival-disaster movies being played over and over again. It’s almost like the 1% would LOVE it if the 99% would all kill each other in mass hysteria while they hide in their mansions with their stolen billions. Personally, I’d rather have the 99% JOIN together to go against the 1% wealthy to redistribute the wealth to the many who lost everything. If we join and direct the fight towards the rich and take back our power from them and the government, the sheer numbers of human beings can’t be stopped by the very few rich. I am moving all of my remaining money out of the big banks and going to a credit union. I know well-adjusted professionals who are starting to store food & water supplies. That’s how little we trust our government and its elitist rich.

    1. I know some who are struggling in the US and my thoughts are with them. I my opinion money is not only stolen, but we are not only victim. We all live on credit. We try to live a dream and we all created these monsters eager to seize more wealth.

      I respect those who made a fortune building there own companies, they (or at least most) certainly earned it. They worked hard. I do have a problem though with many of the corporate ceo’s and managements who earn salaries as if they own the company. And in this drive towards generating more income and shareholder profitability they defined employees as costs instead of capital.

      On top of the economical crisis we have the problem here in Europe that countries are not prepared to give up our state sovereignty (something that exists less than 200 years here). This fear can only provoke a turmoil here in my opinion.

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