Looking back in the past

2016, Photography

I don’t try to make a habit of looking back to what I have done. It is the end of the year and many will come up with their best …. of 2016. Yeah, 2016 was such a productive year. I did so many things. Crazy things, awesome things. Tried so many new things, failed sometimes, learned so many things. Things to keep doing, things not worth repeating. Just check my selection.

I’m goofing here, but you’ll likely recognize these posts. Instead I’m making an effort to look further in my past. I’m taking you back to the years 2011 and 2012. I started my first photo a day project that lasted 72 weeks. I know that some will tell you that taking less photographs might in fact help you get more inspired and motivated in photography. Others will tell you the opposite. I guess they mean it right, but honestly all they want is to read their blog posts. I for god sake don’t even know why I started. I guess, because I can. And I just did so. No expectations, no intentions, but I did go deep. It was to become an emotional roller coaster.

The beginning felt easy, but the second month was difficult. The following months my back started playing games with me. I photographed tons of barbed wires, I photographed many shadows. I mean, I’ve seen shadows. It felt shadowy. I kept photographing though. Seven days a week. I went past 365 days. That felt like a gimmick, it was a part of me. So I continued. I don’t know how many photographs I took. I don’t even care.

It drained everything out of me, but when I ended it after 72 weeks it felt like it needed to be ended. When I look back, it all felt like a big experimentation. Despite the 504 selected daily photographs I don’t think I produced anything really good and consistent. I tried too many cameras. Experimented with forms, color, post processing, but really had no glue what I was doing. Maybe therefore my last photo a day project felt so differently.

I don’t care what others say about a photo a day project, but I don’t regret doing it. Twice, in fact. The first project helped me to start all over again. Learn from the mistakes I made and the failures, many, I produced. From the 504 finally selected photographs I think only three made it really worthwhile to me (these are the once in this blog post). In the end, that and the experience I gained is what I take with me into the next year.

There are so many things I don’t care about anymore. I don’t give a damn about gear, I try to spent a minimum amount of time editing and post processing. I try to care about small things, non photography related. We complain that there are too many photographs posted on online sharing platforms and yet all we care for are camera reviews. Nowadays I only get 1/5 of the traffic on my blog that I got in 2011. Even this year the best read blog posts are camera impressions I posted in the past. That is photography. Only a small group really cares about photography. So think about the reason why you started to photograph. Bring the honesty back into photography.

I have no intention to turn my blog into a traffic cow again. I only use it for sharing my views, my photography. I try to keep things simple and brace myself for what 2017 will bring to us. All the best for the next year. Peace!

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

Advertisements

WEEK COLLECTION 08

2016, Uncategorized

At the end of the years websites and blogs will be filled with 2016 lists. For me 2016 was a mixed bag. I changed job, my son spent months in a rehabilitation hospital, my daughter went to high school. My wife struggled with her health. Her mother tried to beat her cancer. Somewhere in between I tried to keep photographing. Thankfully I feel surrounded by beautiful and warm people.

Politically it was, well meh. The States elected a new POTUS, good luck with that. We’ve seen horrifying scenes in Syria, terror attacks in Europe and the Middle East. 2017 might be even worse with elections throughout Europe, including my homecountry the Netherlands. I hold my breath and can only think of the wise words by human rights activist Iyad el-Baghdadi: “Remember and believe that hate cannot melt hate, only reinforce it. Only love can melt hate. Make it a cornerstone of your belief.”

Blessed Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

Processed with VSCO with acg preset

Processed with VSCO with m3 preset

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

Processed with VSCO with m3 preset

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

One year later

2016, Photography

For my son

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

November 17, 2015

It is November 17, 2015. Now exactly one year ago. My wife is by my son, then 14 years of age. A neurologist walks nervously, phone calling, from a control room to another room, returns to the control room, one more confirmation, and then stops by me. A nurse leaves a nearby MRI room and I briefly see my wife standing by my son. The neurologists freezes for a moment, takes a deep breath, and then tells me with a trembling voice the news that my son has had a stroke. He is emotional and gently put his right hand on my left shoulder.

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

November 20, 2015

It was some two ours earlier in the living room of our house. My son was just about to go to school. It was raining, really hard, and we told him to get his rain cloths and prepare for his daily 17 kilometer bike ride to school. He was mumbling, almost whispering. I could make up that he wasn’t feeling so well. I told him to get up and make himself ready. As a father you don’t take everything a teenager says too seriously. It was time to leave. He stood up and walked towards me. That wasn’t normal. He was hanging slightly to the left, almost uncontrolled. We told him to sit. He couldn’t sit straight though and raise his left arm. I shocked, saw his face drooped, and then.

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

November 23, 2015

He felt of the chair and I could just catch him. He was briefly talking unrecognizably. He was scared, I could see it in his right eye, and wondered what was going on. I was sitting on my knees right of him, asked if he could raise his left arm. My wife sat by him on the other side. I asked if he could smile, it was an uneven smile. We looked to each other and without talking we both understood the seriousness of this situation. We talked to him, asked what he felt, his age. We both had our thoughts and our first assumptions. These assumptions proofed not to be wrong unfortunately. I called the a nearby hospital and carried him to our car. In less then 15 minutes my wife brought him to the hospital. What followed were tests, a CT scan and eventually a MRI for final diagnosis. Our daughter hardly knew what happened. A shock that would unfortunately unfold for her later that day. She went unknowing to school, a deliberate choice at that moment. One I don’t regret, to be honest, but I know it was hard for her coping wi it.

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, iPhone

November 24, 2015

The neurologist, while standing left of me, regains himself. You have to take a decision, a decision with uncertainties. Adults receives trombolysis as soon as possible after a stroke. With children’s the effects are unknown, but the neurologist tells me it is likely the best for him. I can’t consult my wife, she is still by my son. It is life or death, it is about reducing the potential risk of another stroke, but since I already thought he had a stroke I decide to give him the trombolysis. I knew my wife would do the same.

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, iPhone

November 26, 2015

We progressed a year further. My son stayed in a rehabilitation clinic for three months. Learned to walk again, changed school unfortunately, his life got more uncertain, ours too. He gets tired very easily, at the end of the day he sometimes forgets the things said that morning. The doctors never found a cause, but I know that at that time next to the neurologist I, as a father, made an important and rather unwanted milestone decision for him. One I hope it was done for the better.

Thank you

I have to thank so many people who supported us this last year, especially those close to us. Our parents, my relatives, but mostly my daughter who showed such great strength at her young age. And most importantly my wife who is such a driving force.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma