photography, photograph, wouter brandsma, light, shadow, light and shadows, stroll photography, ricoh, ricoh gr


2013, Photography

photography, photograph, wouter brandsma, light, shadow, light and shadows, stroll photography, ricoh, ricoh gr

I have been sick during the Christmas days and seriously had no time to come up with a look back at the year 2013. No list with my favorite photographs, no list with best read blog posts. No, none of that. Not even a list of photographic resolutions for 2014.

You see, I have no clear expectations with my photography. I prefer to get in a flow. Less is really more, it is all I can say. I don’t work with projects in mind and when I read descriptions of art I might do it all wrong. Thank God that there are no rules to obey in art. Maybe art isn’t or shouldn’t be self-expressive, but I think that without not understanding and able to express your own personal feelings how can you be able to add subtense to an ongoing conversation?

Just search the web for ‘is art self-expressive’ and ‘is art not self-expressive’ and you get tons of opinions. I really wonder how much an image maker should be worried about these artistic discussions. Did Vincent van Gogh really care about the on-going conversation that art supposed to be when he cut off his ear and made his well known self-portrait? When I get the feeling that this painting was really a cry for help. And remember that Van Gogh likely sold one piece during his life and became acknowledged after his death as an artist. I think it is perfectly fine that the artistic intentions of the maker may be completely different from the observer point of view.

I absolutely believe that pretty much everything is evolutionary. And studying and understanding the past and what previous masters did can help with that. It sure makes a lot more sense to read books, visit museums than keep buying new gear in the hope that it improves your photography. But when we keep copying the copied it looses the original intent and it becomes just a hollow shell. A conversation won’t be everlasting and sometimes you have to start new conversations with different companions. I think this is where personal knowledge, experience and intuition can make a difference.

I might have it all wrong though. It may be a big “No” for others, but the number one reason I make photographs is because I do it for myself. I do what I like to do. My work is based on my own knowledge and personal feelings. There are my photographic sketches, trying to leave room for interpretation. Light, outlines and dark spaces.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

40 thoughts on “No

    1. There is often the desire to see our work within the big picture, but I prefer to keep it small and close to myself. Who am I to judge my own work and its legacy. Way too soon for that and not even my task.

  1. Light, outline & these amazing dark spaces that took me out of my tiny little world never knowing where it will lead to me. That was my ride with in 2013. And I got so used to your kind of looking at the world & it’s interpretations, I got so used to your flow that I wouldn’t want it any other way. You kept my soul wandering in that special kind of way. And I’m so looking forward to new rides because it felt like soulbrothers, Wouter. Thankks for the past, the feeling & your art!

    All the best & safe travels, Fritsch.

    1. We need the blank spots Florian to leave room for personal interpretation while it still remains a personal journey. It is great when it connects. Thank you too and the best for 2014.

  2. Thanks for your photos. I always look forward to them, especially since they’re so often quite different than the other photos I’m currently viewing. Good luck in 2014. Ken

  3. Thanks so much for another year of art. Whatever your aim, your work reaches me over and over. I believe all art is self-expression. It may or may not go beyond that. If it wasn’t self-expression, why would it be signed by the artist? It is unique to it creator or the one that captures the image. To me the most exciting thing about creating art is that it’s something new in the world that wasn’t there before. Variation on a theme in copying ‘masters’ is wonderful, but it’s even more exciting to see something fresh, and especially to see a style emerge from any given artist as they continue their journey.
    May this new year’s journey be a fabulous one for you!

  4. Great post, and can be applied to life in general. Being happy with one’s *own* direction is important. Too many people look outside of themselves and are overly concerned with what everyone else is doing instead of looking in the mirror to improve themselves, whether it be photography, or just making themselves a better person.

      1. Well Wouter. It’s been another year of discovery and self discovery. Many blessings, Happy Healthy New Years to you and yours.

  5. Is there a right or wrong in art? Not if you follow your convictions, your passion and remain true to yourself. And you do!

    All the very best to you and your family in 2014, Wouter.

    1. Sometimes you have people who like to point you in a direction. I personaly agree that there is no right or wrong in art, especially from the creator point of view. I think people like to define art so they can understand it andere it follows there convictions. Remaining true to yourself is however the real essence, I think so too.

      I wish you all the best and luck for 2014.

  6. Sorry to hear you’ve been ill. Hope you are fully recovered going into 2014 and it’s a Great year for you.

  7. Happy New Year Wouter. I’ve been doing my own retrospective of your work by looking at older blog posts. Your work is just so…satisfying. Your views on the new APS-C GR digital are interesting. I find myself looking at reducing my kit to the Ricoh GXR with the A12 28, the 50 and the A16 zoom plus my Fuji 100 (it shares the same battery with the GXR) and dumping all the rest of the cameras I have, and adding the GRD.

    I often wonder what your photos would be like if you had been a 4×5 or 8×10 view camera photographer (yes I know this is not where you want to be). I think the content of your photos wouldn’t change much. I hope not.

    Anyway–hope you are feeling better and I look forward to your 2014 images and blog posts–posted at whatever frequency suits you.

    1. All the best for this new year too John.

      I tend to do my own thing with a camera. Your setup will still remain quite large, especially compared to what I use. Yet it seems very workable. Personally I never was a fan of the 50 for the GXR even though it rendered nicely. The 28 was great though. In fact, I think the GXR with the 28 gives a nicer texture than the GRD. Something to think of in my opinion.

      I have no idea what impact it will have on my photography when I go larger. Maybe in the end I will still use it for the same subjects. Film is however no option anymore, realistically. And digital MF? Well, it would make film feel cheap again. No John, I am OK currently with that little GR. And sometimes I use the GRD3 too. Both draw like I want it too.

      I rather worry about subjects, light, and finding moments to photography than worrying about gear.

  8. Very interesting thoughts to ring in the New Year with. I wish you, your family and your art all the very best for 2014

  9. Photographs will come to us when we go experience. Without experience, there’s no photograph. With experience, we can add meanings to them. I found my direction in my hobby this year all thanks to you. Not anything glorifying, but I developed my way to appreciate my own photographs that other non-photographers often don’t.

    1. Your persistance motivates me too Alan. We all need our own directions and approaches, a personal touch. That personal touch is what makes it all distictive and motivating.

  10. Hi Wouter,
    Another set of images that are both unique and expressive. I’m fascinated by the interplay of shapes and voids in the first image.
    Hope you are feeling better and all the best to you and your family and especially Bjorn and Lindsey 🙂

  11. Wouter, your post arrived at a very useful moment for me. I’ve recently been in that mood where I ask myself why I bother to make photographs. Your words and images swept the mood away. Thanks… again.

    1. I admit Jamie, that I was so very close to pulling the plug with this blog and also my photography. I decided to take it easy today and really do the photography for myself instead. It will mean for now that I will reduce my regular blog posting. I like to do some longer writings and keeping my photographs for myself now until I feel the time is right.

      We really should all be doing this for ourselves Jamie. That is ultimately what matters.

  12. I’m a little late here, but let me wish you a very happy new year. I hope that, on whatever basis seems best, you will keep strolling and making images. I, for one, feel my life is richer for being able to follow your images. I hope you are feeling better short term and that 2014 will be a rewarding one for you and your family and that you will find pleasure and satisfaction in all you do, but especially in your photography. Be well.

  13. I guess I could have written a large part of your own text, though I spent 2 months in a hospital before Xmas and I was not sick during it. Shall I be part of your new companions, only the future will tell us. And if recovering totally health allows me to accompany new works, mines and others’ ones. In a way I feel like these two guys watching for the horizon line, trying to avoid dangers.
    Have a great 2004 road!

  14. Wouter,
    you keep on saying that the camera does not matter. Surely you must be right, so long as you don’t find yourself fighting the equipment, it is nothing but a means to an end. When I look at your photographs, it seems obvious that your control of the instrument is behind the magic.
    Yet I remain curious and would love to know your thoughts if you have a moment. Would you say that you could achieve the same result with any camera? The way you handle light to create these atmospheres is astounding. All of your images have such great texture. I would love to know more about your approach to using the camera and how you process your pictures afterwards. Do you add a lot of grain through a software or is it the way your camera files are? Do you mainly focus on getting the exposure that you want, or do you tweak it a lot afterwards to achieve these strong shadows and blown highlights? It must take a lot of time to achieve this look. I’m asking myself, if you used my camera for a few weeks, I know that your style would be the same, but how much of your look would still be there?
    I’m not 100% confident with what I’m asking and I hope I’m not prying on your little secrets. I’d just be really interested to read it if you’d share something. Do not feel obliged to reveal anything. Your work is inspiring and helps me progress anyways, just by seeing it.
    Love it.
    Take good care man.

    1. Your position and timing is the most important thing. The rest follows based on gained knowledge, experience, intuition, and it has to be second nature. Yes, getting the exposure you want to have is very important. I don’t like to tweak images a lot in post processing. Only some dodging and burning. I add grain, but really that much since I already try to raise the ISO to get a more textured images. Another camera might change your photography, but not your vision.

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