WEEK COLLECTION 37

2018, Photography, Project, Quote

“All the art of living
Lies in a fine mingling
Of letting go and
And holding on.”

Havelock Ellis

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Choices

Photography, thoughts

So often we say that whatever you do in life it is all a choice. But what is the meaning and value of choices when the decisions are made by others? When you’re just a mere part of a greater scheme of things? Or when you’re only option left is not really a choice anyway?

While it was a choice for many Syrians to stand up for democracy against a dictatorship, it wasn’t their choice that over 20 countries used, the protester’s desire for democracy and prosperity, as a theatre of proxy wars.

It can be a choice to vote someone mentally unfit or psychopathic into office, but in the end we’re all left harmed with the consequences.

It is sad and heartbreaking when you think you’re only option left is stepping out of this life. Thinking this week of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. But also my former colleague David who committed suicide three years ago. Mental illness should be taken seriously. It can do harm to those affected, while family and friends ultimately left behind.

It is sad and heartbreaking when you’re being sick and your death sentence is already signed. And the only option remaining was certainly not the choice you wanted to make.

It is sad and heartbreaking that you’re choice is unwanted by others. Thinking of those who decided to leave their motherland, seeking peace, safety, and prosperity, but you’re not wanted by others.

I can’t give any sensible advice, I think. I don’t have a top 5 list with things to do. All I can say is to talk with one another. Respect each other and cherish all things in life, the beauty and ugliness, in all it’s purity. Just beware of the red signs and try to respond accordingly. I guess.

Photograph by Wouter Brandsma

Inspiration

2018, Photography, thoughts

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I’ve thought quite a long time about this blog post. What inspires me? Not only in my photography, but as a person in general? I strongly believe that the way you photograph says a lot about you.

So my inspiration. My inspiration comes from many things, but I’d like to mention a few. It inspires me to see or feel differently. Allows me to get in a flow, or to do some mind traveling.

Music

I wished I was good at making music. Except from playing a couple of chords on a guitar, my musical talents are very limited. I do however love listening to music. And one of my favorite singer/songwriter is Jeff Buckley. Tragically, he died three years after releasing his only studio album in 1994. I still think ‘Grace’ is one of the best albums ever released.

His voice was like a music instrument and could transfer so many emotions. It always hits me.

I was born in ‘73 and grew up listening to Pink Floyd and Abba in particular, thanks to my parents. It was however ‘Ten’ by Pearl Jam that greatly influenced me, more than Nirvana. For me, like many of my generation, it echoed so many of our sentiments in the early Nineties.

And when it comes to bands I’m all in for Radiohead. There are not many bands that keep evolving like Radiohead. Other bands I like are the Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, dEUS, Sigur Rós, Soundgarden, Toad the Wet Sprocket, The Tragically Hip, and Young the Giant.

Reading

Although I had to read a lot of novels for school, I’m not a huge fan of fiction. Although not too long ago I read a wonderful book (Dutch) ‘Meester Mitraillette’ by the Belgian writer Jan Vantoortelboom about the first World War in Flanders.

Instead I love to read travel stories. Redmond O’Hanlon for instance, or Bruce Chatwin who died way too soon. For me, one of the greatest novelists and travel writer is Paul Theroux. I absolutely adore his travel books. Especially ‘The Great Railway Bazaar’, ‘The Old Patagonia Express’, and ‘Riding the Iron Rooster’ were for me great travel books.

When reading these stories I just closed my eyes and the colorfully described scenes allowed me to sense the sights and sounds.

Magazines

Back in the days when I was young I just loved to read magazines. Windsurfing, mountainbiking, photography. My number one magazine was National Geographic. It was the combination of geography, social issues, adventure, traveling, history, and photography, lots of great photography. All the things I love and am generally interested in.

So it was the reportages photographed by the likes of Sam Abell, William Albert Allard, David Alan Harvey, Alex Webb that caught my attention.

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And more

And so I could probably mention many other things that inspired me. The drawings by Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer‘s paintings, ‘Hollandse Luchten’ (Dutch light), William Eggleston and his color photography, among many things.

My wife and children, friendships, great colleagues, the daily commutes, road trips.

What inspires you?

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma