week 16 | 2012

2012, Photography, Project

Since two years I am member of a local photography club. I appreciate the conversations, the interactions with others, and the diversity. This year, the club exists 50 years and the year will be full with celebrations, lectures, and an exhibition. Last Wednesday the members were provided a change to show their general photographic development from their start till now with at max 5 photographs. It was quite fascinating to see how people developed their style, preferred genre, and vision. Some where resistant showing their photographs when they became member of the club. Too scared for critics. Others where excited when they learned about getting a mentor.

Last year I gave the members an introduction of my work in a 20 minutes presentation. Most of the preparation time was filled with organizing and selecting photographs and thinking about an accompyning story. Since I already had my retrospective work of like 20 years of photography (20 years since I feel work became a bit better to show others), this time I had more time to think about the changes that evolved in my photography.

Even though I still have no clue whether I am on the right track or doing things properly, I have learned though that everything has been my own effort. I have never asked advices, I never got directional advices either. I am totally self taught and not technically trained or art educated. While I love photography, as a teenager I actually preferred to draw, to make sketches. And for long I searched for something similar in photography. Part of the reason why I like compact cameras.

The first time I shared my photographs with my late grand father, a former professional photographer, he felt the need to tell the horror stories of his photographic endeavours and business failure. He accentuated the negative sides. And I don’t blame him and I fully understand it too. He started photographing for completely different reasons. His father became a professional photographer in the early 20th century and my grand father was trained to take over the business. It was hard working and when cheap film development appeared on the market late Seventies he lost a lot of his customers. Photography was not a passion. It was a job.

Maybe I took photography too serious and maybe I tried too hard to be good. I too much wanted to change, forced my photography in something else I wasn’t. With the turn of the millenium I almost gave it up, until my son was diagnozed autism. I know I have said it before, but it was a changing moment. What mattered to me was photographing the things in my own life. My family, my daily routine, the mundane, the ordinary. Sketchy, like a scrapbook.

Photography, like any art form, is a powerful tool to express yourself and to reflect who and what you are. Becoming aware of that is probably one of the most significant things to learn and can finally add meaningful substance to art.

It brings me back to last Wednesday night when I started my introduction with a Agfa Click that I got from my grand father some 15 years ago. I played with that camera way before I started photographing thinking Agfa was a toy brand. These were the times that everything was simple. One of the reasons why I still like to simplify some of my compositions underneath the multi-layered personal context. One of the reasons too why I still focus mostly on the mundane, the ordinary, ’cause the ordinary is often not so ordinary after all.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

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24 thoughts on “week 16 | 2012

  1. “I am totally self taught and not technically trained or art educated. While I love photography, as a teenager I actually preferred to draw, to make sketches. And for long I searched for something similar in photography”… dit zouden mijn woorden kunnen zijn… ik heb ook alles zelf geleerd, uitgevogeld, geprobeerd… vroeger veel getekend… en ik doe nu wat ik leuk vind om te doen en dan blijkt ineens dat er heel veel mensen zijn die het nog eens leuk vinden ook wat je doet! … lekker belangrijk, maar stiekem toch goed voor je ego 😀
    Bij jou was het de diagnose bij je zoon die de ommekeer bracht… ik denk dat het bij mij de werkdruk was en het gevoel ‘mezelf kwijt te raken’ Met de camera in mijn handen ben ik in een heel andere wereld en dat geeft me enorm veel energie… en dat pakken ze dus ook niet meer van me af !
    En over je foto’s… tsja wat kan ik zeggen… ze zijn geweldig als altijd… degenen die er voor mij deze keer uitspringen zijn de eerste, vijfde en laatste.
    Fijn weekend!

    1. De camera is afleiding, maar ook een geleider. Je kunt er veel mee kwijt, maar er ook veel mee duiden. Bedankt Joanna, en ook jij een goed weekend en mooi licht.

  2. Mooie plaat Wouter van de gitaar geheel passend in het idee wat je had afgelopen week qua muziek! Vooral het detail van het instrument vind ik goed in beeld gebracht!

    1. Ik wou eigenlijk meteen al aan de slag met het muziek onderwerp. Ik zal ook eens kijken of ik deze week op meer suggestievere manieren muziek in beeld kan brengen.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. Your words are as inspirational as your photos. This week’s photographs are wonderful. I especially love the photo, “boy with dog.” I like it so much I would like to put it on my wall, would you please contact me with information on how I can purchase a print.

  4. Hi, Wouter: I was moved by your comments, and wanted to tell you that a man in my town in Massachusetts, USA, who had been a great American football player, a quarterback, has an autistic son. He has started a foundation, which you can access at: http://www.facebook.com/flutiefoundation. You might look it over to see if anything helpful to you is available!–Best, As ever, John

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  5. i always wait for your weekly post as the ones from Jorge, learning for me is a daily experience and your words make the difference for those who started on photography right now or the ones with more years on it. There are to many answer to the same question as stares to the same place or situation, what make the difference is our inside vision and perspective. Thanks for sharing your insides

  6. Excellent images, Wouter! I love the bicycle wheel with the countryside and dark clouds, and the one above bottom is really striking, as is the guitar shot! Adrian

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